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adma

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From G&M death notices...

ADRIAN JOHN DICASTRI After a year-long battle with bladder cancer in which he displayed incredible strength and courage, Adrian died at home on January 29, 2008 at the age of fifty-five, surrounded by his loving family. Adrian was born on September 5, 1952 in Victoria, BC. His childhood and adolescence there are forever preserved in countless stories of mischief and mayhem that have caused an obscene amount of laughter over the years. Having decided to take his show on the road, Adrian went to Europe for six months when he was 19 years old, an experience that had a profound effect on him. Despite this, any dreams he may have had of perpetual globetrotting were happily scuttled when he came back from Europe and met the love of his life, Susan McDonald. Adrian and Susan moved to Ontario, where Adrian studied Architecture at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, he eagerly looked forward to a blissful period of freedom and adventure with his wife. Fate, of course, had other plans and the couple soon learned that Susan was pregnant with their first child, Nicholas. Their second, Julia, was born two years later. Adrian was a fantastic father and husband, and his family was very close and full of love. They were also extremely loud, but this was only a problem for the people sitting next to us at Chinese restaurants. Notable family moments included trips to Mexico; amazing summers spent up at Cape Chin, on Georgian Bay; and the construction of the family cottage designed by Adrian, at Cameron Point, also on Georgian Bay. Although he grew to love landlocked Toronto (as long as the temperature remained above 10C), Adrian maintained a strong connection to the sea. One of his greatest pleasures in life was swimming in the ocean. He was also known and loved for his low-key nature, always choosing the inconspicuous route despite his considerable achievements, charm, and wit. Adrian was an award-winning architect, and was passionate about cities and design. He loved working with people and, noticing this, they forgave him the occasional expletive or three. His career as an architect is probably best summed up by saying he had a lot of fun. Adrian is survived by his wife, Susan McDonald, his children, Julia and Nicholas, his brothers Dennis, Julian, Simon, and Matthew, and his sister, Stephanie, as well as his many close friends whose love he treasured. We love you and miss you dad, and will always cherish your memory. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Adrian DiCastri Scholarship c/o the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto, 230 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R2. A Memorial Celebration will be held on Tuesday, February 5th from 2*3 p.m. in the Great Hall, Hart House (UofT) at 7 Hart House Circle. Followed by a reception from 3*5 p.m. at the same location.
 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080202.OBDICASTRI02/BDAStory/BDA/deaths

Saturday February 2, 2008

Toronto modernist's projects married pragmatism, poetic sensibility
Award-winning university collaboration conjures an architecture both sustainable and beautiful
SANDRA MARTIN

smartin@globeandmail.com

February 2, 2008

An architect who was ahead of the curve in thinking how sustainable design can be integrated in elegant architectural solutions, Adrian DiCastri brought his love of music and culture along with his analytical skills to the art and practice of his profession.

"What a lot of people didn't realize about Adrian was his poetic sensibility," said his friend Dereck Revington, another architect who described Mr. DiCastri's major buildings as "full of colour and light and a subtle dancing rhythm."

Pragmatism had to be satisfied first, but what characterized Mr. DiCastri's work was a luminous and lyrical modernism, Mr. Revington said. "His definition of sustainability was much more complex than simply creating ecologically friendly buildings. He spoke continuously about the importance of cultural, environmental and aesthetic sustainability."

Adrian John DiCastri was born in Victoria, the second of five sons and one daughter of architect John DiCastri (obituary Sept. 22, 2005) and his wife Florence Margaret (Greenwood), who was always called Paddy. The family lived first in the Rockland area of Victoria - in a house his father had designed - and then in a rambling former seniors' residence close to the ocean in Oak Bay that the senior Mr. DiCastri renovated to accommodate his large and rambunctious family.

As a boy, Adrian was the only child who showed any ability at sketching and drawing, according to his younger brother Julian. He also swam "like a porpoise" and loved being in the water, a passion he would later sustain in "landlocked Toronto" by designing and building a family cottage on Georgian Bay.

He attended St. Patrick's Elementary School and then Oak Bay junior and senior high schools, graduating in 1969. He worked in his father's architectural office for a couple of years and then, at 19, went travelling in Europe for six months.

After returning, he resumed his friendship with Susan McDonald, who had been a year or so behind him in high school, and entered the University of Victoria, where he studied English literature in a general arts program. A ferocious reader, he was torn in those early years between teaching and architecture. He left after two years and went travelling again, this time to Mexico and Central America. By the time he returned, he had affirmed his decision on a career in architecture. He won a place in the University of Waterloo's co-op degree program in January, 1976.

After completing nearly three years of his degree, he and Ms. McDonald (by then his wife) moved to Toronto, where he enrolled in the architecture program at the University of Toronto. Larry Richards, former dean of the faculty of architecture, remembers him as "an outstanding, leading student" who was also a very nice guy. Mr. DiCastri graduated with a bachelor of architecture degree in 1982. Son Nicholas was born in 1983 and daughter Julia in 1985.

As a young architect, Mr. DiCastri worked at Diamond and Schmitt architects in Toronto. "He was an extraordinarily focused and smart guy who was a really great critic on projects in development," said Don Schmitt, a principal in the firm. "He was a real modernist, and rigorous in his focus on rational solutions and elegant but spare design." Mr. Schmitt also remembered him as being relaxed and possessing a dry sense of humour, qualities that "are very important in the culture of an office."

Architect John van Nostrand hired Mr. DiCastri in 1984. "He was interested in working in a smaller firm where he could have more direct influence," Mr. van Nostrand said. The two eventually became partners, working on some major social housing projects until government support for that market dried up in the early 1990s. They also did a number of university projects, including the revitalization of St. George Street on the University of Toronto campus.

"He was a brilliant designer and he got brilliant buildings done, but he did it in a very pragmatic way," said Mr. van Nostrand. "He had real stamina for sticking with long projects and making sure that they were finished off as well as they were started. And he was a good leader. People who worked for him respected him and wanted to make good buildings for him."

In the mid 1990s, their firm went after the contract for the Computer Science and Engineering Building at York University. Mr. DiCastri, fascinated by the idea of creating sustainable buildings, was superb at forging connections and put together a collaboration that included Vancouver architect Peter Busby, a noted green designer.

"That building is really a reflection of Peter Busby and his West Coast thinking and Adrian DiCastri and his practical, plain thinking and his understanding of the complexity of York University and where it could go," said architect Peter Clewes.

The building, which has operable windows, uses "passive strategies" to maximize natural light and ventilation and decrease the need for air-conditioning. It won several awards, including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Governor-General's Medal in Architecture. Mr. Clewes said it demonstrates that "it is not only the spaces within buildings that are important, but the spaces they create outside of themselves." A complex and seminal building in Mr. DiCastri's career, it speaks to how he was beginning to think about collaboration with others and about the practicalities of creating buildings that are both sustainable and yet beautiful to live and work in. "That was a turning point for him."

Mr. Clewes and Mr. DiCastri, who had known each other since the 1980s, often commiserated about the capriciousness of a career in architecture - which is known as a fine vocation and a horrible profession, especially during economic downturns. They were both partners in architectural firms that were struggling to sustain themselves when Mr. DiCastri called Mr. Clewes in 1998 and proposed they merge practices. He cited the computer sciences building at York as an example of the kinds of things they could do together.

"It came out of the blue," Mr. Clewes said this week - but the more he thought about it, the more he realized that "for the first time in about eight or nine years, [I felt] I could stick my head up above water and look around and say, 'This could mean something more than simply surviving.' "

The following year, Van Nostrand DiCastri and Wallman Clewes Bergman merged to form Architects Alliance. Mr. DiCastri's strength as a strategic thinker and team builder came into play on one of the firm's significant projects, the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research at the U of T, which they did in collaboration with Stefan Behnisch Architekten in Germany. The completed building - elegant, intriguingly situated, ecologically green, technologically but subtly complicated - has won popular accolades and several design prizes, including the International Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Design Excellence Award from the Ontario Association of Architects.

It was poignant that Mr. DiCastri, at the point when his professional and family lives were happily and productively established, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006. The next 15 months were a relentless struggle with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as he fought against what proved to be an unconquerable illness. A week ago, he received a specially designed box containing individually written letters, poems and messages of esteem and affection from his colleagues at Architects Alliance. He was still well enough to read and share them with his family.

ADRIAN DiCASTRI

Adrian John DiCastri was born in Victoria on Sept. 5, 1952. He died at home in Toronto on Jan. 29, 2008, of metastasized bladder cancer. He was 55. He is survived by wife Susan McDonald, children Nicholas and Julia, five siblings and extended family. There will be a celebration of his life Tuesday in the Great Hall, Hart House, University of Toronto.
 
Jeffery Stinson RIP

And now, another one gone...

Saturday February 2, 2008

JEFFERY ALEXANDER STINSON FEBRUARY 7, 1933 JANUARY 29, 2008 Jeff died at his Toronto home on Leonard Place last Tuesday evening. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him, especially his wife Carol, children Nicholas, Mathew, Daniel, Joseph and Rebecca; stepchildren Larry, David, Brenda, Jeanine; his many grandchildren and brother Peter. Jeff was born in Australia and graduated from the University of New South Wales. He practiced and taught architecture successfully all his adult life - it was his passion. Jeff will be remembered by his many friends, colleagues, and students in Canada, Australia, England, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and China as an energetic, talented, innovative, creative, feisty, deliciously witty and ferociously loyal friend, father, teacher and husband. A celebration of Jeff's life will be held in The Great Hall at Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle on Febr uary 14th, 2008 at 12:30 P.M. In lieu of flowers please plant a tree in Jeff's memory. A special thank you to the wonder ful staff at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, always there when we needed them. Condolences and memories may be for warded through www.humphreymiles.com.
 
This is really too bad. In an interesting note, when I went to tell my father about this he told me that he actually knows Susan MacDonald (The Victoria University Registrar and DiCastri's wife) quite well and had met Adrian at their various faculty parties. He said DiCastri was an interesting fellow - kind, intelligent and architecturally well versed. He will be missed.
 
And now, another one gone...

Saturday February 2, 2008

JEFFERY ALEXANDER STINSON FEBRUARY 7, 1933 JANUARY 29, 2008 Jeff died at his Toronto home on Leonard Place last Tuesday evening. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him, especially his wife Carol, children Nicholas, Mathew, Daniel, Joseph and Rebecca; stepchildren Larry, David, Brenda, Jeanine; his many grandchildren and brother Peter. Jeff was born in Australia and graduated from the University of New South Wales. He practiced and taught architecture successfully all his adult life - it was his passion. Jeff will be remembered by his many friends, colleagues, and students in Canada, Australia, England, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and China as an energetic, talented, innovative, creative, feisty, deliciously witty and ferociously loyal friend, father, teacher and husband. A celebration of Jeff's life will be held in The Great Hall at Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle on Febr uary 14th, 2008 at 12:30 P.M. In lieu of flowers please plant a tree in Jeff's memory. A special thank you to the wonder ful staff at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, always there when we needed them. Condolences and memories may be for warded through www.humphreymiles.com.

I found this obit online but nothing about what he designed. Any info?
 
Among other things, that house on Leonard Place in Kensington where he died.

http://www.ald.utoronto.ca/news_events/2008/02/2343

al&d loses two colleagues
Posted: 02/02/2008
Message from George Baird, Dean:

I regret to announce the deaths of Jeffery Stinson and Adrian DiCastri, both on Tuesday, January 29.

Adrian DiCastri was a distinguished alumnus of al&d, having graduated from the school in 1983. Upon graduation, he quickly joined the firm of John van Nostrand, soon becoming a partner in that practice. Adrian was later instrumental in forging the merger of van Nostrand DiCastri Hanson and Wallman Clewes Bergman, creating the firm we know today as Architects Alliance. An impassioned professional, Adrian was a militant modernist who also pressed hard to advance the crucial contemporary issue of environmental sustainability in architecture. His hand is unmistakable in such major projects on the University of Toronto campus as the Woodsworth College Residence and the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, this latter project designed by Architects Alliance in a particularly fruitful collaboration with Behnisch Architekten of Stuttgart, Germany.

A Memorial Celebration of Adrian’s life and career will be held on Tuesday, February 5 at 2.00pm in the Great Hall of Hart House at 7 Hart House Circle on the University of Toronto campus. Adrian’s family and professional colleagues have generously indicated that donations in his memory can be made to the Adrian DiCastri Scholarship at the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

Jeffery Stinson was emeritus professor of architecture at al&d, having taught at the school for over 30 years. Together with his professional partners, Carmen Corneil, Terry Montgomery and David Sisam, he was responsible for the design of many notable buildings, of which perhaps the most distinctive is the original School of Architecture building at Carleton University in Ottawa. Jeff pioneered many of today’s key issues in architecture, including environmental sustainability, housing intensification and self-help housing in the developing world. Through his long academic career, he always distinguished himself by his deep collegiality among his peers, however intense the discussion was amongst them. It was a special pleasure for me as Dean to be able to facilitate the support of the Jeffrey Cook Charitable Foundation for his research for housing in the Philippine city of Cebu, the last research project he undertook, and one of the many pleasures of his retirement. His engaging personality will long be remembered by those of us at al&d who worked with him over the years.
A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held on Thursday, February 14 at 12.30pm in the Great Hall of Hart House at 7 Hart House Circle on the University of Toronto campus.

Please join me in extending condolences to the family and colleagues of these two distinguished members of the al&d family.

Those wishing to make a contribution to the Adrian DiCastri scholarship fund may contact al&d’s Senior Development Officer, Jacqueline Raaflaub, at 416-978-1473 or jacqueline.raaflaub@utoronto.ca.
 
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080301.ROCHON01/TPStory/Entertainment/columnists

CITYSPACE: APPRECIATION: JEFF STINSON AND ADRIAN DICASTRI

Hard architecture and urban grit will be missed

LISA ROCHON

lrochon@globeandmail.com

March 1, 2008

The first laneway house in Toronto. The first sculptural gateway to a Toronto ravine. The work of Jeff Stinson and Adrian DiCastri, two architects who defined architecture in very different ways, stands as a testament to their imagination, their urban grit and their tenacity. Both men recently died of cancer, surrounded by their respective families, on the very same day. Yet their architecture - their belief in the making of a triumphant city - lives on.

A writer leaves behind books. A musician the sound of a recording. An architect gives us permanent placemakers: Signposts. Cultural guides. Buildings to frame human experience. But, whereas a painting by an artist typically hangs behind walls in a contained space, there's an extra responsibility that accompanies the profession of architecture. Stinson (an Australian-born professor who taught with remarkable energy) and DiCastri (an Italian-Canadian whose large commissions often provoked his wry sense of humour) understood the heaviness of setting down acts of permanence. Still, they operated with lightness and grace.

5 Leonard Place, the laneway house which Stinson built with his sons in 1989, sits within the tight urban grid between Kensington Market and Toronto Western Hospital. A curved white concrete wall defines a discrete plot of privacy at the front of the house, an area graced with a fish pond and enough room for Stinson to enjoy a beer. The building itself is a rugged construction with cement block walls topped by a vaulted metal roof. There are beguiling flourishes - metal grates cut into the floors to allow air to flow, stairs arranged like a jigsaw sculpture that lead to the third floor, a banister made of metal cables that Stinson liked to play like an instrument when he passed by.

In front of the efficient wood stove, there's a table with a large disc of glass for its top impossibly supported by a large coil of chicken wire. It has sat there, explains Stinson's wife, Carol Branning, for about 20 years.

Somehow, before the City of Toronto rushed headlong into amalgamation, the idea of inserting a house in an otherwise vacant back lane of the downtown seemed quite reasonable. That was before the bureaucracy of the new city started down the road of inflexibility, resisting the back-lane or laneway house in favour of 'stable' residential neighbourhoods and throwing up the excuse of the difficulty of providing municipal services to the hidden lots. (Meanwhile, Vancouver is now encouraging back-lane housing as part of its plan for an eco city.) Ever optimistic, believing it was the right thing to do, Stinson arranged to have a seven-metre trench dug from the laneway site to the edge of the street, making it easy for the city to come along and hook up his water supply.

Stinson, who died at the age of 75, believed that by exposing structural, mechanical, even historical systems, there was much that architecture could teach. In fact, beginning in the late 1960s, Stinson and his first design partner, Carmen Corneil, laboured in the name of an animated, sensitively designed harbourfront with hopes of the conversion of industrial buildings into markets and arcades, the whole stitched together by a walkway at the edge of the water. He was interested in preserving the industrial archaeology of Toronto's harbourfront and allowing its reinvention through incremental change, not wildfire strategies of slash and burn.

The studio grew to include David Sisam and Terry Montgomery, before Stinson decided to commit to full-time teaching at the University of Toronto's School of Architecture. "His faith was in citizen intelligence and power," wrote Corneil in his tribute letter penned from Norway for Stinson's memorial. In those early days, Corneil and Stinson designed Carleton University's School of Architecture, a cement block building that provides many layers to "the section" to heighten its horizontal experience.

"When I got there, I hated that building and when I left I loved that building," says Terence van Elslander, who studied at Carleton before collaborating much later with Stinson on a study of laneway housing commissioned by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. "I think that was his best building. It was a tough building. Very didactic. It taught you everything about architecture. The idea was there's nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide."

Architecture has often been called an old man's profession. DiCastri was, by any measure, not old when he died. He was only 55. Before that, for ten years, he had worked with his partner, John van Nostrand, on urban design projects and social housing, and found ways to simply survive the recession of the early 1990s. The team contributed importantly to the revitalization of St. George Street, laying down a template of delightful sidewalk landscape that has rarely been reiterated in the cash-strapped city.

In the last several years, DiCastri had come fully into his own as a thinking man's architect. The Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR, 2005) at the University of Toronto was his masterwork, a building not only fuelled by the fundamentals of sustainable design, but a pleasure to look at and experience by day and by night.

"When we went after that project it was at a point when the University of Toronto wanted to hire star architects," says Peter Clewes, a partner with DiCastri at Architects Alliance and one of his best friends. "We thought that to get on the radar with those people we're going to have to align with some big names." A joint venture was formed with the German gurus of green building, Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner, whose firm was designing the Genzyme Centre (2004), an intensely sustainable building with an unforgiving glass exterior set down in Cambridge, Mass. In contrast, DiCastri's involvement combined with that of Clewes injected the sustainable thrust of the CCBR building with a beguiling, civic presence.

Yes, it is true that Architects Alliance likely won the commission because it hooked up with a well-known European firm. But, the Toronto firm - specifically DiCastri - is largely responsible for turning a technically demanding program into something interpreted as lightness. The CCBR sits boldly on College Street with a dynamic front elevation comprised of a double skin of glass - researchers can operate their own windows - rising up from a generous civic plaza. Driving by the other night, the inter-disciplinary centre seemed alive with energy, a series of bulbous lights leading the eye from the street to a lush bamboo garden inside the front hall of the centre, and more greenery punctuating the upper research floors.An architect's job requires imagination and high levels of pragmatism. But, it also requires stamina and determination. DiCastri required plenty of both in order to complete the design of Toronto's first ravine gateway and resist a city councillor's attempts to have it dismantled after its construction. In a city uncomfortable with bold civic gestures, the piece by DiCastri surprises for its singular, unflinching presence within the mess of urban infrastructure that can be found north of Highway 401 at the corner of Leslie Street and Sheppard Avenue. The idea was to simply announce with conviction that there was a vast, enchanting place to walk in nature underneath the whirling madness of the highways.

What DiCastri delivered is a wide band of dark red Cor-Ten steel that runs several metres above the sidewalk then folds itself powerfully back like the prow of a ship, the folded plane pointing down toward the Don River Trail. There's nothing kitsch or delicate about DiCastri's move. It was accused by a now retired, simple minded councillor of being a rusty rail. DiCastri's ravine marker is hard sculpture. And that is the pleasure of it.

Perhaps the hard freeze of this winter makes it particularly difficult to bear the simultaneous loss of DiCastri and Stinson. Both men died because of the curse of cancer, their wives and children at their sides. Both died on Jan. 29, 2008. They were architects who gave with passion and determination. And that is why they will be remembered.
 

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