Category Archives: All Design News

Striking Tower not Approved Initially

Controversial Point Tower to Reach the Sky….?

Striking Tower not Approved Initially
Point Tower at Day and at Night



Alternative Solutions Not allowed
Raised Tower Contravenes Podium Strategy of City Point Tower Guidelines

Controversial Point Tower to Reach the Sky….?



Controversial Tower
44- Storey Tower not Approved

40 Wellesley Street, East, Toronto, Ontario Canada.

This slender point tower will provide another beacon in the downtown area, located at the Yonge Street and Wellesley intersection.

Sculpted carefully between two other high-rise developments, this 44-storey mixed use project will provide an up-lift, and a world-class ambiance in this vibrant international neighbourhood.

Issues of light, privacy, and light were carefully analyzed in the creation of this project, especially in view of the close proximity of the neighbouring developments.

214-Condominium Units, 126-Boutique Hotel units, and 3-Commercial floors will provide a total of 28,150 M2 of GFA. The Floor space index is 21.5.  Underground parking, and underground loading, creates a cleaner visual at street level. A subway and bus loop node is located approximately 30 meters from the development, an ideal location for intensification.

Each use will have a separate entrance, through a landscaped oasis under the up-lifted building. The entire Tower is lifted 9 meters from grade, to provide an animation to the street by exhibiting floating mezzanines enclosed by glass panels set in a landscaped environment. The mezzanine houses a restaurant, tea bar, and the Boutique Hotel check-in. This parkette like urban environment ties in with the  Kane House park, located east of 46 Wellesley Street, East.  

At the mid-point the tower is split by another up-lift. The Hotel and Condominium amenities are located here (e.g. poll, spa, health club, etc.).

The recommendations of a technical winds study were incorporated by the in principle elliptical shape of the floor plate.

Accentuating the pedestrian experience, and not being afraid to place mass to great height will add to the creation of an  ultimately vibrant, exciting, and beautiful world-class City.

All 3-D Modeling was executed in Archicad, transferred to 3-D max.  final rendering were created by Photoshop.  The accuracy achieved by #-D modeling is exact within mm.

The City of Toronto turned down the above noted proposal as it did not meet the design guidelines for point towers.

However, a subsequent owner was successful in front of the Ontario Municipal Board to obtain approval for a 37-storey building. This success was in part based upon an earlier ruling by the Ontario Municipal Board to create a larger set back to the proposed tower on the east side, as a result of the 44-storey Ontario Municipal Board hearing.  The City point tower guidelines were not entrenched in a City By-Law, the Board noted.

Architect: Hendrik Op ‘t Root Architect Ltd. 

Native Philosophy Used


Native Philosophy Used
Proposed Rama Casino Interior


Rama Casino
“Turtle” Design Winning Design

Rama Casino



In the spring of 1992 the NDP Government announced the casino initiative.  Since that time the focus of my company Hendrik Op’ T Root Architect Limited has been on casinos.  I always had a special interest in hotels, resorts and casinos.

 I endeavored to find out, learn, see about casinos, and I have seen, studied in part, about 50 casinos.  In 1992, I made initial contact with casino operators.  Presentations were made to the Mayor on October 21, 1992, of the City of Niagara Falls; on December 7, 1992 to the Committee of the Whole in Niagara Falls.  On November 10, 1992 a presentation was made to the Ontario Government Casino Project’s team.  On November 26, 1992 a presentation was made to the Mayor of the City of Windsor.

During this time I had the pleasure of being trained by gaming experts on many aspects related to casino design.  The Northern star was created as a result.

All this prior to any RFP requests.  Gaming in Ontario was still in its infancy.

Through a contract I became involved with, Bally Manufacturing Corporation (“Bally”), I was not selected to do the design of the Windsor Casino for the RFP (Request For Proposal).  Moshe Safdie was chosen by “Bally”.

The reason was that my company was not known enough.  I did work on part of the RFP as it pertained to the upgrading and renovation of the Windsor Raceway.

Again, I gained experience working with Bally.

“Bally” did short-list for the casino in Windsor.  “Bally” did not win.

My relationship with “Bally” was re-established.

On September 21, 1993, I was asked by Bally to resubmit a list of architects for the RAMA casino and to submit a resume of my firm too.

I visited the RAMA site first on September 20, 1993 and met Mr. Ted Williams, the Administrator of the RAMA Reserve.

Bally invited me to come to Las Vegas and to study their in great details, and various sets of casino drawings were provided.


At the time of the visit I obtained all relevant boundary surveys from Kathryn R. Simcoe (RAMCOR).  Ted mentioned at the time that a game plan was required to inform the community of the casino process by reputable persons.

 Ted stated also that he was formulating his approach.  I understood that an election at RAMA would be held on January 25, 1994.  Norm Stinson was re-elected as Chief with a small margin.

The deadline for submission to the Independent Selection Committee chosen by the Aboriginal People was March 1, 1994.  A couple of weeks before that date I was asked and selected to do the design (February 13, 1994).  Within a couple days I made a presentation to Council and the Chief at the airport in Toronto.  Bally attended as well, including their agent.  The date was February 17, 1994.

I presented the outline “Conceptual Approach to the Design & Overall Approach” to the project.  The “turtle” was a driving image in the design.

RAMA representatives were impressed and I obtained the go-ahead from all to proceed and finish the design in the next 10 days.

On February, 24, 1994 RAMCOR Developments provided me with plans of the “Ojibway Bay Master Plan” (Co-ordinator Joseph C. Snache).  The design was presented again to all on February 26, 1994.  Everybody was ecstatic (“Bally’s”, RAMA Councillors, Chief Norm Stinson, Ted Williams and Mark Douglas).

Early March 1994 I was requested to prepare and to make a presentation to Council of Orillia to explain the project.  The design boards were exhibited, and liked quite a bit.  (The boards did convince the Councillors).  It took months for the Government/Aboriginal people’s representatives to complete the make-up of the Independent Selection Committee.

On July 7, 1994 the panel requested a presentation and site visit on July 14, 1994.  On March 14, 1994 Ted Williams requested all the “duplicate” information boards (11 # in total).  A similar set was prepared for the Aboriginal Gaming Section as the official submission.

(Within a couple of weeks).  Ted needed the boards to take to surrounding reserves in order to gain their support.

On June 7, 1994 Ted noted that there was good public feedback.  Proposal of RAMA would go to the P.A.C. (Planning Advisory Committee) of the City of Orillia and in two weeks to Orillia Council for endorsement of the RAMA casino proposal.  The proposal was on Barrie TV.

On July 13, 1994 extensive meetings were held prior to the actual visit by the Site Selection Committee.  I advised RAMA regarding the site route to take.  “RAMA” called me the project architect.  At the presentation Ted Williams, Norm Stinson, Mark Douglas and Ken Snache attended.  The design boards were exhibited and explained.  Some of the panel members approached me and stated they liked the design.

On July 29, 1995 the architect met with Kathy Simcoe, Jo Snache, Ralph Tulipano, and Mark Douglas re: interim casino in the existing industrial building.  Because of the many infrastructure-related questions, the architect recommended to “Bally” to further investigate the services and document the findings.

The architect would discuss this further with Ted Williams.

On August 8, 1994 a report by P.A.C. (Planning Advisory Council) would go to Council of Orillia.

Around that time Ralph Tulipano came into the picture.  Note that Ted Williams is head of the casino implementation team now.  And Ralph Tulipano is in charge of the RFP and is called project manager.  On August 26, 1994 Ted Williams was advised by the Selection Committee to expect questions by outside experts.  (An Information Package of 17 faxes was received from Ted Williams.

Another problem came up, Council was disbanded by Order-in-Council of the Privy Council (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada).  The Chief and Council were requested to terminate all services.

An election at RAMA was held on September 6, 1994, re-elected were 3 incumbent councilors Ken Snache, Charles M. Snache and Arnold Ingersoll.

Margaret St. Germaine and Shawn Williams (Ted’s brother) were new councillors.

Lorraine McRae became the new chief.  New Council ordered a plebiscite on the issue of the casino.  Bally’s organized to have over 100 natives visit Foxwood Casino in the States.  On September 20, 1994 the architect attended a public meeting on the issue (see minutes).

A very negative pamphlet on casino was received.  On September 27, 1994 another public meeting was held.  Hendrik made a presentation.  All the boards were exhibited and explained.  Questions were posed and answered.  On September 21, 1994 Hendrik sent 150 colour copies of renderings for general distribution in RAMA.  The vote was held on or about September 26, 1994.  Three hundred eligible voters, the vote was 165 yes and 68 no.  (Article Star, September 27, 1994).

On November 3, 1994 a short-list was announced.

On November 23, 1994 Ted mentioned that last Friday the Selection Committee met the community.

On November 23, 1995 Ted also said … “we got her”.  Announcement was made December 5, 1995.  RAMA was successful and a lot of TV coverage, newspaper coverage ensued.  The design was unveiled, used, distributed, and shown.Winning Casino Rama Design

Organically Nestled

Golf Clubhouse Resembles a Heron Bird in Flight

Organically Nestled
Harmonious Fit Into Nature


Organic Golf Course
Multi-Level View

Modern AppearanceOrganic Interior

The Building was conceived in the early nineties. Originally a trailer park, at a small lake called Dunmark Lake. The first visit to the site, I noticed a Heron bird at the edge of the lake.

After a while, it took off in flight. Impressed by the forces expressed by the wings, I decided that the form was a great inspiration to create the golf clubhouse of about  26,000. sf.

With the creative involvement of the Golf Course Designer Thomas Mc Broom, the integration of the course and the building became a reality.

The lower level housed the golf carts and change rooms and walk-out pub.

The lower level placed on the terrain as we found it. The entire lower level was bermed into the course. The upper level was the main level, and housed the banquet rooms, bar, reception, and Golf Pro Sales Centre. A higher level created beautiful vistas to the 18th. Hole.

Although constructed in the early nineties, the building expresses a modern and clean look today. The impression walking around in the building is of naturally guided routes, with surprising vistas to the outside.

The tension created by the roof surfaces, created manipulated vision, and space corridors, turning and twisting everywhere. This is where philosophy and realty meet. The expression of the wings, and the vision corridors meet philosophically.  That is the true art in Architecture. Input into a design of a building must be meaning full!

The more the Architect reaches out to the impossibility to construct, how harder it is to create, and construct the building. A three-dimensional computer model had to be constructed in order to assist the steel manufacturer calculating the lengths and angles of beams of the organically shaped roof. It did add considerably to the total time estimated to design and construct this edifice (about double).

A large banquet hall was designed as a future expansion, but was never build,

Also estate housing was part of the original design, but no approval was originally obtained.

In view that there were no services, a large septic system was constructed under the driving range. Also, surprisingly, a sprinkler system was installed. A pump station at the lake, once triggered by the fire alarm, would automatically pump water into the sprinkler system.

At the opening of the building the sauna heater was activated by mistake. Also a wrong low temperature sprinkler head was installed in the sauna. Just about immediately, the sprinkler head burst, and water flowed from the lake.

The good thing was that we knew the protection system worked well, even if the building was not occupied at night time!

The Clubhouse was designed by Hendrik Op ‘t Root Architect Ltd.

Energy Efficiency

Design Guidelines to create Beautiful Sustainable Zero Energy Buildings and Communities

Green Roof
Towards Zero Energy Buildings


Design Guidelines to create Beautiful Sustainable Zero Energy Buildings and Communities


I. Title: Design Guidelines to create Beautiful Sustainable Zero Energy Buildings and Communities

II. Theme: After researching world-wide standards, built and proposed environments, and systems, I will develop design guidelines integrating all aspects of energy efficiency, and sustainability to achieve Beautiful Zero energy Buildings and Communities.


III. Motivating Question(s): My thesis will serve to provide key design guidelines i.e. a condensed handbook of achieving zero energy building in the next 10-20 years, and to provide good architecture. Good architecture comes from good design and good design is synonymous with beauty. Truly exceptional architecture transcends the physical and captures the spiritual. This harmony of design has a subtle yet definitive impact on the well being of people in their daily lives. By choosing a healthier lifestyle, including the consumption of healthier food, one achieves balance with the new buildings, and its sustainable components. The Living Building challenge, Leed, and other similar standards must alter the built form in harmony to better serve man, and create more sustainable and energy efficient, and less carbon intensive footprints. We can build beautiful zero energy buildings & communities with a sound financial & technical underpinning, creating a future for mankind, by addressing a major component in reducing global warming.

IV. Summary of research: Initial analysis of Zero Energy Buildings indicates that this goal can be achieved by reducing energy needs substantially in the range of 60-75% with passive design and active systems.   Furthermore, by capturing energy from solar, geothermal, biomass and other unique methods, energy can be captured, and sold to a (subsidized) grid. Hence one may achieve the Zero Energy target.

V. Research problématique: Balancing all the components from a practical, technical, and feasibility perspective, including the impact on the objective of good design is the challenge. No doubt conflicts will arise as a result of input factors diametrically opposing each other (e.g. initial cost versus life cycle costing)

The research will focus on the active design and passive design. Passive design focuses on shape, fenestration, insulation factors, enclosure systems, and healthy (re-usable) materials.  Active design will focus on energy created by photovoltaic, liquid, air solar panels, wind generators, and geothermal retrieval. Furthermore also to be considered are reclaimed rejection energy (including from sanitary discharge), energy from biogas & fuel. Lake water (cooling), tidal wave technology, water conservation, and water re-use are also paramount in the technical research. Independent factors of mass energy storing, green walls & roofs, and any other systems complete the research components to be incorporated.

Find, research, and utilize energy modeling tools and other (financial) tool modeling in       order to evaluate existing built zero energy buildings and proposed ones. Separately the definition of beauty should be explored, and set into the context of the design process. Research if other existing criteria exist by which to evaluate beautiful buildings. Integration of all the technical aspects into the design process must result in the handbook of achieving beautiful zero energy buildings


VI. Disciplinary Approach:


  1. Research the impact of the total built environment on the total global energy use.
  2. Research global strategies of reducing the energy use of the built environment in the next 10 to 20 years.
  3. Gather empirical data of built and proposed zero energy buildings integrated in their community. I intend to catalogue all existing and proposed Zero energy Buildings in the world via a new website medium named I will develop a set of standards compiled from other international data, in order to standardize the intake of data of submitted Zero energy buildings. This in order to provide statistical analysis, groupings, similarities, of realized and proposed Zero Energy Buildings
  4. Evaluate Leed, the Living Building challenge, and other equivalent criteria used in the world.
  5. Set the background standard by listing beautiful buildings in the world. An empirical analysis parallel with overall research what beautiful or good architecture is will be conducted, in order to provide the encapsulating perspective of beautiful architecture. Super star architects are not the only ones who can create beauty or good architecture. Define the difference between beauty and a good building.
  6. Set up a system of evaluation of all the components responsible for the considerable reduction of total energy, increase in sustainability, and improved water use.


Process all the researched components, and develop Design Guidelines to create Beautiful Sustainable Zero Energy Buildings and Communities.



















VII. Research significance: The world is at a critical turning point as it burns fossil fuels, which contribute greatly to CO2 emissions, and are in part responsible for the global warming. We need to change the directions of being less dependent on fossil fuels. By creating sustainable zero energy buildings and communities, we are greatly reducing use of fossil fuels. Sustainability integration into the buildings becomes a life style change. Not only is the physical building effected but also the physical human being. Implementation by the construction industry of researched components is paramount. Develop adaptable criteria, building designs or components, standard models, standardization, products, systems and services for utilization by the construction industry. Greening buildings will be profitable in the long run.

My audience is the Authorities and the professional Community who are responsible for the built environment. The general public could be greatly interested in the subject, as it could provide clarity in the complex matter.

VIII. Bibliography: I have been researching the zero energy subjects by reading articles, googling the subject, practicing in part the matter in reality, and attending numerous conferences, and seminars. Only recently is the subject of interest at large, and not too many reference books are available.

  1. Lisa Rochon Globe and Mail -Tall, thin, curvy, gorgeous and heating the winter sky
  2. Architectural Record –Frick Chemistry Laboratory
  3. School District earns “A” for energy Conservation.
  4. International Living Building Institute – Living Building challenge 2.0
  5. Intelligent Energy Europe -Nearly Zero Energy Buildings in Europe
  6. Zero Energy Designs R –Abundant energy in Harmony with Nature
  7. Net Zero Energy Buildings – Sustainability workshop
  8. Zero energy Buildings – Zero Building Database
  9. BCA Academy – Zero Energy Building

10. Natural Resources Canada – Net Zero Energy (NZE) Housing

11.Quad-Lock- Five Steps to a successful Zero Energy House (ZEH)

12.Facilitiesnet- Net Zero energy Buildings Becoming More Common

13.NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) – Zero energy        Buildings (A Critical Look at the Definition) – Governments Retrofit Buildings to Save Money    and Energy

15.PRNewswire –Four Sustainability Trends to Watch in 2012

16.Construction Canada Online – Manitoba Releases Online Green       Building Product List

17.Construction Canada – New Green Building Codes for the United     States and Canada

18.Canadian Journal of Green Building & Design

19.Construct Canada Show

20.Building Strategies & Sustainability Magazine

21.University of Toronto Lecture – Hospital of the Future

22.CMX CIPHEX  Lectures – Roundtable of Renewable Energy

- Water Reuse Strategies

- New Labelling and Certification Program                              for Homes

- Solar Thermal Applications

- Symposium on Smart Controls

- Navigating the Sustainable Building Field                          – Leed Strategies

- Change for the Better – Strategies for                               Green Existing Buildings


IX. Addendum: My experience is building buildings, and integrating energy efficient components.