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Saturday , 20 December 2014

Monthly Archives: July 2012

San Francisco Infill building consists of stacked prefab apartments: smart, and livable

Smart Space, an infill building of prefabricated apartment units in San Francisco. Is this the future of building in dense urban environments? The micro-housing trend has not yet caught on in Toronto, as it has in New York City and other places, including San Francisco. Micro-housing is being touted as the solution to several modern problems, including high property costs and the scarcity of affordable housing in major cities, as well as wasteful use of resources and energy. A San Francisco-area builder called Zeta, responding to the problems facing builders today—increasing costs of energy, inefficient building methods and the unavailability of capital—focuses on net zero energy housing, including urban infill ... Read More »

Quadafi’s Toronto condo and other celebrity woes

Every single home in exclusive Cornwall Terrace in London has been registered as a corporation in the Isle of Man so that owners can avoid “stamp duty” or land transfer tax. The British government says it lost hundreds of millions of pounds each year. Now it has closed the loophole. The lack of money is the root of all evil. Mark Twain   Mark Twain knew whereof he spoke. He lost a fortune in bad investments (ironically, his greatest losses were in new technologies for the printing industry) and he had to go on a world speaking tour late in his life, a time when he was in a depressed ... Read More »

For shift workers, blackout blinds could help you get a better day’s sleep

Blackout cordless shades from Blindsgalore have honeycomb construction to provide superior insulation and sound absorption, and was the winner of the Best Technical Innovation Award (2010, Window Covering Manufacturers Association).   A recent analysis of previous studies that involved more than 2 million people has found a link between shift work and greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Shift workers had a 24 per cent higher risk of suffering a “coronary event” than non-shift workers. Night shift workers were most at risk, with a 41 per cent higher risk of a heart attack. Why this is so isn’t fully understood, but one possibility given is that shift work disrupts ... Read More »

Architecture stands out in some condo developments

Tridel’s 101 Erskine condominiums, designed by CS&P Architects, is firmly connected to the street by ten townhouses, which “mediate the scale” of the building. Two different colours for the upper and lower sections, plus cantilevered balconies, add to the dramatic impact of the building, as well as giving context.  How important is the outside appearance of a condominium (or any other) building? We have all heard plenty of stories of condo developers cutting corners here and there on construction costs, with the resulting falling glass or crumbling balconies. But aside from actual nuts and bolts issues of these kinds, what about aesthetic appeal? Do you care what your building looks ... Read More »

How much should you tip the water taxi driver? The B&B housekeeper?

Water taxis in Venice are so expensive some say the drivers should tip the passengers. In Ontario, tip according to the circumstances. A man and a woman check into a nice bed and breakfast for a one-night getaway (this is not a joke). When they’re ready to leave the next morning, they notice an envelope on the little table next to the door of their room. It says, “Thank you for your generous gratuity.” They don’t know what to do. Like most people who enjoy the cozy, home-spun comforts of the typical B&B, our couple have always followed the rule that you don’t tip the owners of a business, only ... Read More »

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