Today at council, I was successful alongside Councillors Hume and Deans in assuring that staff recommendations were upheld and no insensitive additions and alterations would occur at 19 Kindle Court, part of the study area for the Briarcliffe Heritage Conservation District.
The owner had applied for two additions and a large garage be built in this heritage study area. Staff recommended rejecting the garage and one of the additions, and had recommended a more compatible form for the other addition. At Planning Committee last month rejected staff recommendations, with my dissent, which threatened the integrity of the district.
If the study suggests designation, it will be the first mid-century modern heritage conservation district in Canada and one of the first in the world.
Today was a good day for heritage in Ottawa.
Here’s some background information on the area:
In September 2010, the City received a request to study Briarcliffe for potential designation as a HCD. Staff reviewed the request, conducted some preliminary research and determined that the area did warrant study for an HCD. In the winter of 2011, a group of graduate students at Carleton conducted some research on Briarcliffe and wrote a report about the history and importance of the area. On October 5, 2011, the City held a public meeting at the North Gloucester Public Library to discuss the proposal for an HCD study and in general the feedback was positive. As a result of this, City staff initiated a report to City Council in November 2011 recommending that the Briarcliffe area be designated as a Heritage Conservation District Study Area under Section 40.1 of the Ontario Heritage Act. In December 2011, City Council passed by-law 2011-450 designating the area for a period of one year. The by-law that designates the study area states that any exterior alterations, demolition or new construction to any building requires the approval of City Council. There were no appeals to the by-law. This by-law will expire in December 2012. If after completing the study period, staff recommend designation of the area as a Heritage Conservation District, there will addition public consultation and opportunity for appeals etc. Moreover, if at that point Council does not want to designate the area, they can reject the staff recommendation.
The area is considered significant as a rare, intact example of mid-century modern planning and development. The neighbourhood is small, and is an example of a reaction against the tract housing prevalent in North America after the Second World War. The neighbourhood was developed as a partnership, and included a restrictive covenant that provided guidance on the design of the houses. The covenants included things like: All buildings must be designed by an architect and all houses must use a simple palette of materials (brick, cinder block, cedar cladding). The area is an excellent example of environmentally sensitive design, the landscape is very naturalized and the houses were designed and sited to fit into the natural landscape and not vice versa. The neighbourhood also features houses by a number of significant Ottawa architects including James Strutt, Matthew Stanckiwicz, Paul Schoeler (architect of 19 Kindle) and Brian Barkham.
As far as our research tells us, if Briarcliffe is designated as a HCD, it would be the first mid-century modern HCD not only in Ottawa, but in Ontario and Canada. There is one HCD in Kitchener of post-war Victory Houses, but it is a very different context. Victory Houses are the small veterans houses that were constructed in huge numbers across Canada in the post war period (the Carlington neighbourhood has lots of these houses).