Former Kaufman Estate on the block

News Jan 23, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Realtor photos of an estate home that’s currently up for sale in Kitchener’s old Westmount neighbourhood appear very Brady Bunch upon first glance.

The listing for 165 Claremont Ave. boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three fireplaces and an oversized, heated, three-car garage. But its uniqueness is best illustrated by an open-riser staircase, wood ceilings, terrazzo floor tiles, towering windows with angled panes, floral wallpaper and an array of contrasting, gaudy colours — orange shag area rug included.

Despite a gleaming, kept appearance, prospective buyers — those who can afford to browse in the $2.75-million price range — might see it as a bit of a fixer-upper when it comes to interior decor.

Just don’t tell that to Marg Rowell, president of the North Waterloo Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

“It’s wonderful,” said Rowell. “It’s fabulous example of mid-century, modern architecture.

“The inside of the house is far more fantastic than the outside,” she said, noting that some of the original appliances appear to be intact.

“Actually, if I had the money, I’d buy it.”

According to historical data, the two-acre property is comprised of several lots assembled by well-known industrialist A.R. Kaufman in the 1940s. The address is currently listed under W.H. Kaufman on the canada411.ca directory.

Completed in 1959, the 6,000-square-foot home was designed by renowned architect Eberhard Zeidler, who was hired to create what would become Westmount’s largest house — a contrast to several surrounding Tudor-style homes.

“At the time, no one knew Eb Zeidler was going to be Eb Zeidler,” said University of Waterloo architecture professor, Rick Haldenby.

Zeidler went on to create dozens of well-known, large-scale projects all over the world, including Toronto’s Eaton Centre, Ontario Place and more recently, Trump Tower. His list of approximately 4,000 projects also includes the McMaster University Medical Centre, transformation of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood in Toronto, the Canadian embassy in Seoul, Korea, and other projects throughout China, England and the U.S.

Haldenby, former director of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, got his first job with Zeidler’s firm in Toronto back in 1970.  But the Claremont Ave. home wasn’t included in Zeidler’s autobiography and Haldenby said he wasn’t aware of the connection until people started calling him about it recently.

The real estate listing has created a stir among ACO members, some of whom fear the home could be demolished to make way for redevelopment.

The home represents one of Zeidler’s early designs “and a startling innovation for Westmount,” reads a post on the ACO’s Facebook page.

Despite other large, single-family homes in the neighbourhood, 165 Claremont Ave. stands out in an aerial photo, with a 184-foot frontage and circular driveway. The property includes a large backyard with a wooded area at the back.

“The other homes aren’t this big,” Rowell said. “This is a standout.”

According to Haldenby, however, it doesn’t stand out as being “aggressively” mid-century modern.

“The typical signs were flat roofs and abstract geometry and such,” he said.  “This house looks very domestic. It looks like many other houses that appeared in the time, but it does have some features that make it stand apart.

“One of course is the stairwell with the glass wrapped around it that has these triangular and diamond-shaped panels, which are completely unique. They actually refer back to much earlier experiments in modern architecture.”

Kitchener’s co-ordinator of cultural heritage planning, Leon Bensason, said the property is on the city’s radar.

“For us, the first critical step is having that discussion with the owner and identifying why the property might be of cultural heritage value and taking it from there,” he said.

While a building’s physical assets are always a part of such analysis, associative values also come into play.

“I probably know as much as you do in terms of it being up for sale and obviously it being linked with the Kaufman family and the prominent architect Eb Ziegler,” Bensason said. “What I can tell you is we’d be looking to the Ontario Heritage Act and the measures that are afforded to municipalities to acknowledge heritage significance and protect the property under the act.”

Those measures primarily include listing properties on the municipal heritage register and designating properties under the act to ensure conservation.

A phone message left for the homeowner was not returned. The home’s listing agent, Troy Dale Schmidt, declined to speak with the Post, as did members of the Westmount Neighbourhood Association, save to say the home and property are of “great historical, esthetic, and architectural importance” to the neighbourhood.

“We hope that the future owner of this beautiful home equally values its rich heritage and significance," reads an emailed statement.

Given the price tag, Rowell questions whether redevelopment of two or more single-detached homes on the property would be financially feasible. A highrise would never be permitted due to tight zoning restrictions in the Westmount neighbourhood, she said.

But given such a spacious property, any proposal is possible.

Last year, the city refused an upscale townhouse proposal in the Hidden Valley neighbourhood, partly because planning staff views the city’s dwindling inventory of estate lots as an economic development attractor for talented professionals who want to live in the community.

Regardless, somebody’s going to have to put a lot of money into the building, Haldenby said.

“Hopefully they buy it because they admire the architectural quality of the building,” he said.

“Here’s one of the most important architects in Canada who designed a house in Kitchener. It would be a shame to have it disappear or transformed completely away from what it actually was, and is.”

Photos of the home can be viewed online at bit.ly/2jI9AJy.

Former Kaufman Estate on the block

Historic home designed by renowned architect Eb Zeidler

News Jan 23, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Realtor photos of an estate home that’s currently up for sale in Kitchener’s old Westmount neighbourhood appear very Brady Bunch upon first glance.

The listing for 165 Claremont Ave. boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three fireplaces and an oversized, heated, three-car garage. But its uniqueness is best illustrated by an open-riser staircase, wood ceilings, terrazzo floor tiles, towering windows with angled panes, floral wallpaper and an array of contrasting, gaudy colours — orange shag area rug included.

Despite a gleaming, kept appearance, prospective buyers — those who can afford to browse in the $2.75-million price range — might see it as a bit of a fixer-upper when it comes to interior decor.

Just don’t tell that to Marg Rowell, president of the North Waterloo Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

“It’s wonderful,” said Rowell. “It’s fabulous example of mid-century, modern architecture.

“The inside of the house is far more fantastic than the outside,” she said, noting that some of the original appliances appear to be intact.

“Actually, if I had the money, I’d buy it.”

According to historical data, the two-acre property is comprised of several lots assembled by well-known industrialist A.R. Kaufman in the 1940s. The address is currently listed under W.H. Kaufman on the canada411.ca directory.

Completed in 1959, the 6,000-square-foot home was designed by renowned architect Eberhard Zeidler, who was hired to create what would become Westmount’s largest house — a contrast to several surrounding Tudor-style homes.

“At the time, no one knew Eb Zeidler was going to be Eb Zeidler,” said University of Waterloo architecture professor, Rick Haldenby.

Zeidler went on to create dozens of well-known, large-scale projects all over the world, including Toronto’s Eaton Centre, Ontario Place and more recently, Trump Tower. His list of approximately 4,000 projects also includes the McMaster University Medical Centre, transformation of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood in Toronto, the Canadian embassy in Seoul, Korea, and other projects throughout China, England and the U.S.

Haldenby, former director of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, got his first job with Zeidler’s firm in Toronto back in 1970.  But the Claremont Ave. home wasn’t included in Zeidler’s autobiography and Haldenby said he wasn’t aware of the connection until people started calling him about it recently.

The real estate listing has created a stir among ACO members, some of whom fear the home could be demolished to make way for redevelopment.

The home represents one of Zeidler’s early designs “and a startling innovation for Westmount,” reads a post on the ACO’s Facebook page.

Despite other large, single-family homes in the neighbourhood, 165 Claremont Ave. stands out in an aerial photo, with a 184-foot frontage and circular driveway. The property includes a large backyard with a wooded area at the back.

“The other homes aren’t this big,” Rowell said. “This is a standout.”

According to Haldenby, however, it doesn’t stand out as being “aggressively” mid-century modern.

“The typical signs were flat roofs and abstract geometry and such,” he said.  “This house looks very domestic. It looks like many other houses that appeared in the time, but it does have some features that make it stand apart.

“One of course is the stairwell with the glass wrapped around it that has these triangular and diamond-shaped panels, which are completely unique. They actually refer back to much earlier experiments in modern architecture.”

Kitchener’s co-ordinator of cultural heritage planning, Leon Bensason, said the property is on the city’s radar.

“For us, the first critical step is having that discussion with the owner and identifying why the property might be of cultural heritage value and taking it from there,” he said.

While a building’s physical assets are always a part of such analysis, associative values also come into play.

“I probably know as much as you do in terms of it being up for sale and obviously it being linked with the Kaufman family and the prominent architect Eb Ziegler,” Bensason said. “What I can tell you is we’d be looking to the Ontario Heritage Act and the measures that are afforded to municipalities to acknowledge heritage significance and protect the property under the act.”

Those measures primarily include listing properties on the municipal heritage register and designating properties under the act to ensure conservation.

A phone message left for the homeowner was not returned. The home’s listing agent, Troy Dale Schmidt, declined to speak with the Post, as did members of the Westmount Neighbourhood Association, save to say the home and property are of “great historical, esthetic, and architectural importance” to the neighbourhood.

“We hope that the future owner of this beautiful home equally values its rich heritage and significance," reads an emailed statement.

Given the price tag, Rowell questions whether redevelopment of two or more single-detached homes on the property would be financially feasible. A highrise would never be permitted due to tight zoning restrictions in the Westmount neighbourhood, she said.

But given such a spacious property, any proposal is possible.

Last year, the city refused an upscale townhouse proposal in the Hidden Valley neighbourhood, partly because planning staff views the city’s dwindling inventory of estate lots as an economic development attractor for talented professionals who want to live in the community.

Regardless, somebody’s going to have to put a lot of money into the building, Haldenby said.

“Hopefully they buy it because they admire the architectural quality of the building,” he said.

“Here’s one of the most important architects in Canada who designed a house in Kitchener. It would be a shame to have it disappear or transformed completely away from what it actually was, and is.”

Photos of the home can be viewed online at bit.ly/2jI9AJy.

Former Kaufman Estate on the block

Historic home designed by renowned architect Eb Zeidler

News Jan 23, 2017 by Bill Jackson Kitchener Post

Realtor photos of an estate home that’s currently up for sale in Kitchener’s old Westmount neighbourhood appear very Brady Bunch upon first glance.

The listing for 165 Claremont Ave. boasts six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three fireplaces and an oversized, heated, three-car garage. But its uniqueness is best illustrated by an open-riser staircase, wood ceilings, terrazzo floor tiles, towering windows with angled panes, floral wallpaper and an array of contrasting, gaudy colours — orange shag area rug included.

Despite a gleaming, kept appearance, prospective buyers — those who can afford to browse in the $2.75-million price range — might see it as a bit of a fixer-upper when it comes to interior decor.

Just don’t tell that to Marg Rowell, president of the North Waterloo Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

“It’s wonderful,” said Rowell. “It’s fabulous example of mid-century, modern architecture.

“The inside of the house is far more fantastic than the outside,” she said, noting that some of the original appliances appear to be intact.

“Actually, if I had the money, I’d buy it.”

According to historical data, the two-acre property is comprised of several lots assembled by well-known industrialist A.R. Kaufman in the 1940s. The address is currently listed under W.H. Kaufman on the canada411.ca directory.

Completed in 1959, the 6,000-square-foot home was designed by renowned architect Eberhard Zeidler, who was hired to create what would become Westmount’s largest house — a contrast to several surrounding Tudor-style homes.

“At the time, no one knew Eb Zeidler was going to be Eb Zeidler,” said University of Waterloo architecture professor, Rick Haldenby.

Zeidler went on to create dozens of well-known, large-scale projects all over the world, including Toronto’s Eaton Centre, Ontario Place and more recently, Trump Tower. His list of approximately 4,000 projects also includes the McMaster University Medical Centre, transformation of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood in Toronto, the Canadian embassy in Seoul, Korea, and other projects throughout China, England and the U.S.

Haldenby, former director of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, got his first job with Zeidler’s firm in Toronto back in 1970.  But the Claremont Ave. home wasn’t included in Zeidler’s autobiography and Haldenby said he wasn’t aware of the connection until people started calling him about it recently.

The real estate listing has created a stir among ACO members, some of whom fear the home could be demolished to make way for redevelopment.

The home represents one of Zeidler’s early designs “and a startling innovation for Westmount,” reads a post on the ACO’s Facebook page.

Despite other large, single-family homes in the neighbourhood, 165 Claremont Ave. stands out in an aerial photo, with a 184-foot frontage and circular driveway. The property includes a large backyard with a wooded area at the back.

“The other homes aren’t this big,” Rowell said. “This is a standout.”

According to Haldenby, however, it doesn’t stand out as being “aggressively” mid-century modern.

“The typical signs were flat roofs and abstract geometry and such,” he said.  “This house looks very domestic. It looks like many other houses that appeared in the time, but it does have some features that make it stand apart.

“One of course is the stairwell with the glass wrapped around it that has these triangular and diamond-shaped panels, which are completely unique. They actually refer back to much earlier experiments in modern architecture.”

Kitchener’s co-ordinator of cultural heritage planning, Leon Bensason, said the property is on the city’s radar.

“For us, the first critical step is having that discussion with the owner and identifying why the property might be of cultural heritage value and taking it from there,” he said.

While a building’s physical assets are always a part of such analysis, associative values also come into play.

“I probably know as much as you do in terms of it being up for sale and obviously it being linked with the Kaufman family and the prominent architect Eb Ziegler,” Bensason said. “What I can tell you is we’d be looking to the Ontario Heritage Act and the measures that are afforded to municipalities to acknowledge heritage significance and protect the property under the act.”

Those measures primarily include listing properties on the municipal heritage register and designating properties under the act to ensure conservation.

A phone message left for the homeowner was not returned. The home’s listing agent, Troy Dale Schmidt, declined to speak with the Post, as did members of the Westmount Neighbourhood Association, save to say the home and property are of “great historical, esthetic, and architectural importance” to the neighbourhood.

“We hope that the future owner of this beautiful home equally values its rich heritage and significance," reads an emailed statement.

Given the price tag, Rowell questions whether redevelopment of two or more single-detached homes on the property would be financially feasible. A highrise would never be permitted due to tight zoning restrictions in the Westmount neighbourhood, she said.

But given such a spacious property, any proposal is possible.

Last year, the city refused an upscale townhouse proposal in the Hidden Valley neighbourhood, partly because planning staff views the city’s dwindling inventory of estate lots as an economic development attractor for talented professionals who want to live in the community.

Regardless, somebody’s going to have to put a lot of money into the building, Haldenby said.

“Hopefully they buy it because they admire the architectural quality of the building,” he said.

“Here’s one of the most important architects in Canada who designed a house in Kitchener. It would be a shame to have it disappear or transformed completely away from what it actually was, and is.”

Photos of the home can be viewed online at bit.ly/2jI9AJy.