Jan 18, 2008, 10:20 PM
the jackson square rooftop is the result of a ‘compromise’ between parties who, on one side, wanted a shopping mall and on the other side, wanted an open civic space. the love child of this union is an unfriendly concrete jungle.
it stands on the site of hamilton’s former market square once housing city hall, the farmer’s market, eaton’s and numerous small businesses and hotels. the original plan called for the razing of the entire neighbourhood and the creation of a civic plaza with all the usual amenities. in fairly short order, this ‘civic’ plan lost favour to one of a more private nature – lloyd d. jackson square shopping mall.
as far as the rooftop is concerned, there were many opposed to it from the beginning. being elevated from the street, it was felt that it would be an unsafe place to congregate and therefore, be a failure…and it has been.
shall we begin? here’s a brief tour.
1. routes to the roof
4. copps coliseum with stelco tower in the distance
6. standard life building
8. stelco tower and thomson building
9. a shelter occasionally used by a theatre company during the summer months
10. rear of the library
11. concrete brutality
13. ellen fairclough building housing provincial offices and convention facilities
18. a small cluster of life
19. a view into the gore and its relative bustle
20. the lister block and king william st. – the areas adjacent to this super block are in an advanced state of decay
21. king and james st. entrance to jackson square mall with rooftop plaza above
Jan 18, 2008, 11:02 PM
Oh the face of modernity!. I think one day this space could become appreciated again. Completely reworking the entrance way stairs, integrating a lot of residential into some of the buildings, and revising the landscaping could help it along quite a lot. Also, securing major major retailers including big box would help as well. It would really take someone with master skills to pull it off...like Koolhaas for example.
Jan 19, 2008, 12:10 AM
I agree that if big box stores do locate anywhere downtown:fingerscrossed: ....then i hope it would be in jackson swuare to fill that up and let the little guys take the valuable space around Jackson square.
The rooftop.....also known as the smoking section during bulldogs games:shrug:
Jan 19, 2008, 12:37 AM
Thanks for the pictures.
I personally would love to see the rooftop closed off and replaced with skylights to brighten up Jackson Square inside, so dark inside at times. It would be great well at the same time Jackson Square got renovated and created fake streetscapes with retail, perhaps name each of the hallways as a street like, Ti Cats Street, Bulldogs Street, etc. During the spring and summer the skylights would open.
Jan 19, 2008, 12:42 AM
Here's Guelph, from Flar's photos.....
Something like that big box would fit in perfectly well at the same time still keeping that urban design for Jackson Square.
Jan 19, 2008, 1:25 AM
^that's how i used to imagine a renovated jackson square...now i don't imagine it all. the only thing i can imagine is making it go away.
incidentally, i don't think 'old quebec street' has been a success. not sure of the specific reasons but it's certainly not a surprise to me.
Jan 19, 2008, 3:28 AM
Old Quebec Street is about as dead as the plaza in these photos (The Old Quebec photos were taken on a Saturday at noon during Christmas shopping season)
Jackson Sq. roof is not inviting in the least, I've been up there a few times and each time I kept looking over my shoulder because it was eerily deserted and I thought someone would sneak up on me. Mostly it's used for cigarette breaks by office workers.
Jan 19, 2008, 3:46 AM
I think Steeltown is onto something here.
I'm not suggesting we try to recreate an old street like that place in Guelph, BUT why not cut out the ceiling in Jackson Square's shopping corridors wherever possible, go up another 10 or 15 feet and build a glass ceiling? It would open up the feel of Jackson Sq instead of having those dark, low-ceiling corridors. sounds simple to me.
Jan 19, 2008, 4:26 AM
Yes, installing skylights will be a big improvement, well at least a start.
The whole fake streetscape design inside Jackson Square could work really well with big box format stores.
Some of the stairs going up to the rooftop is blocked off too, like the stairs beside McDonald's. Seems kinda stupid to have stairs if it takes you nowhere.
Jan 19, 2008, 3:51 PM
lets keep in mind also, Guelph is a tiny little city. Jackson Sq is jammed during the day and has 10's of thousands of office workers above it.
The 'street' theme might work in Jackson. Granted, the only problem with this idea is what happens to the rooftop now that it has corridors sticking up another 15 feet throughout.
What we need is to see a diagram looking straight down at the rooftop with the mall corridors highlighted so we can see how they would impact the rooftop and where they are.
Jan 19, 2008, 4:02 PM
ya, i'm not sure how much of the mall is directly under the plaza. i think a lot of it is under stelco, thomson, etc. might be wrong, though.
i like the skylight idea. i would also close the plaza completely. it serves no purpose other than as a smoking area, as was already pointed out.
here's an image i should have included earlier:
my dream of razing the mall and recreating the former street pattern, rebuilding the market, etc., is just that, a dream. redesigning the king-james entrance and having more access to stores from the street would help. a little more realistic anyway.
Jan 19, 2008, 4:28 PM
^^ My dream has always been to demo the mall portions of JS, keeping retail under the office towers, then rebuild the "park" at street-level, making it an actual Pubic Square.
They could put in an icerink/fountain, people wouldn't be afraid to walk through it as it would be at street-level, etc.
But yes, alllll dreams! hahaha
Jan 19, 2008, 4:46 PM
ya, looking at the aerial image it seems that the east/west corridor closest to King St would be below towers. the one in the middle of the mall (along the theatres, rexall etc...) looks like it could have skylights put in, possibly all the way from James to Bay. As well as the food court/market/liason college area back by the library. Would enhance that entire central area quite nicely.
Jan 19, 2008, 6:20 PM
Call me an optimist--I've always thought that the Plaza level had some potential--there certainly have to be ways that it could be made more inviting--my guess is that the vast majority of people go about their lives without even realizing--or remembering--that it's there at all. Don't forget--in it's earlier incarnations, Jackson Square had some life on it's upper level retail sections--and this breathed some life into the Plaza level. When I was a lad and my folks would take us downtown--my dad, brother and I would always go for a walk up there--and back then, on a Saturday in the nice weather--it was always reasonably well patronized. There was live music every Saturday in the summers--and some during the week at one time. Are the fountains up there ever still used (I doubt it, but I have to ask anyway...)
Add some residential to the block as we've discussed before, and the possibilities for the Plaza level abound. I say save it--but rework it.
Jan 19, 2008, 6:24 PM
By the way--I'm impressed with the interior of Old Quebec Street. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the carcass of the old Eaton Centre Guelph?
Jan 19, 2008, 6:46 PM
Old Quebec Street is the old Eaton Centre. It looks impressive from a distance. I was really excited to check it out when I was in Guelph so I saved it for last because I though it was an actual enclosed street. I was disappointed though, the interior is quite generic and much of the stone isn't even real. It seems exactly like any other mall inside. It's also connected to a very nice arena, similar to Jackson Sq. The upstairs is mostly doctor's offices and such. I wish they made it seem more like a street inside. As I mentioned, It was quite deserted when I was there. For the pics I waited for a few people to come into view because I like to show "natural" settings in the pics.
Jan 19, 2008, 7:52 PM
flar, sounds like the 'natural' setting for those pics would have been with no people. lol.
fastcars, yes the fountains are used in the summer, and they actually do a great job up there with gardens, landscaping etc.... it's certainly busier in summertime than the above pics from winter would show.
hopefully Liason College will do something with the patio space next to their new location.
If an Indigo with a cafe were to locate on a couple floors of the old BofM pavilion they could do a nice patio overlooking King/James...it could be elevated with great views over the Gore and up James St....
so much potential...so little vision by the owners.
Jan 19, 2008, 8:09 PM
So little vision by the owners--we are brothers in arms on that one RTH.
I'm glad to hear the upkeep is up to par--it was always an attractive place in the summer--I think it just needs a couple of extra things to bring it more to the forefront as a viable public space downtown. In Toronto they had to bulldoze a block of Yonge Street to "create" a public square--we have one, it just happens to be a out-of-sight. With some embellishment/life it could be a great space. Think patios, cafes, live music, a potential spot for an outdoor ice rink, Shakespeare in the park-type productions, public art--look at what the sculptures and the renovation of the AGH did for Commonwealth Square which was so dead before that it made the Jackson Square rooftop look like a Turkish bazaar.
The arena in Guelph takes up the space where the actual Eaton's store was built. The rest of what was the mall obviously got a refresh and became "Old Quebec Street"--in it's Eaton Centre incarnation it was a typical bi-level mall--obviously they just boxed in the second level to create the street-like appearance. Alas, the 1980s Milanese-galleria type skylights seem to have endured.
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