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View Full Version : [Halifax] The Roy Halifax | 71 m | 22 fl | Approved



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Dmajackson
Jul 4, 2008, 12:43 AM
I figured its about time to crete a thread for this proposal. Some facts:

HRM Case #: 01172
Location: Barrington @ Sackville @ Granville
Current use: commercial
Proposed use: Office with ground floor retail on Barrington and Granville
Facade: brick, stone and glass
Height: 71m
Viewplane: NO

Looking at the black and whte renderings on the plan sheet it doesn't look to bad. They're putting in brick on Barrington to match the existing buildings i guess. On the water side its glass. They're at least saving the Roy Building facade which is generous of them. So far I'm pro but I'm holding my official decision until color renderings are available.

someone123
Jul 4, 2008, 1:01 AM
I actually like this building a fair bit now. The addition is broken up and set back from Barrington Street and the Granville side of the facade looks like an interesting glass curtain wall.

The only big downside is the implied loss of the two small buildings on Sackville Street. One is quite attractive but the other is covered in red corrugated metal and is of little heritage value.

I'm getting pretty excited about all of these projects. The city will be so much more impressive if they're completed, but the reality is that ground hasn't even been broken for United Gulf yet...

terrynorthend
Jul 4, 2008, 2:04 AM
Interesting..I guess those two tall blocks in the last renderings represent the UG towers. I guess they are optimistic that they can get approval too.. I think they will be in for a rough ride though..

Hey, I hope this building doesn't interfere with my view from Citadel Hill- of the UG towers Lol!!

Jonovision
Jul 4, 2008, 2:14 AM
I'm still unsure about this building. The wavy glass facade looks very interesting, but the other side I'm not too sure on. I'll have to wait to see the coloured renderings as well. The density works with UG and the Centennial building, but I'm still hesitant about that height on Barrington. Although I do like the the tower is set back.

I also don't like how they haven't addressed the roof line at all. All new buildings should have some sort of crown, or at least an extension of the facade to hide all the mechanical crap.

Architype
Jul 4, 2008, 5:19 AM
This sounds like an interesting development. Is this outside the heritage area, or does that not apply here? Are there any renderings?

someone123
Jul 4, 2008, 6:43 AM
There is no officially designated heritage district along Barrington yet. That is no doubt part of the reason why this is now being proposed.

I personally do not think the roofline is that important. The rendering shows a plain box on top, sure, but it will be difficult or impossible to see that from street level anywhere on Barrington given the 200+ foot height compared to 30-40 foot street widths. You'd see the rooftop from the Citadel but it is no worse than any number of other buildings downtown. Overall I think that is a minor issue.

One thing I do wonder is how they'd handle the Sackville/Granville facade. It looks like they are adding one more storefront on Granville along with basically a copy of 1/2 of one existing side of the building. I wonder if it is realistic to attempt to blend in an addition so seamlessly.

Takeo
Jul 4, 2008, 9:40 AM
This design doesn't do much for me. I think they should go back to the drawing board. Putting anything on top of the Roy Building is a difficult design problem given it's shape and proportions... but I'm sure they could do better than this. As for the wave wall... looks more like cake decorating to me than architecture.

Spitfire75
Jul 4, 2008, 2:08 PM
The half glass/half brick (or whatever that might be) tower looks pretty weird.
I think they should use the same material for the whole thing.

keninhalifax
Jul 8, 2008, 4:24 PM
Are we looking to revitalize our downtown or are we looking to turn it into a wasteland of second-rate facades and unruly wind tunnels? The poor Roy Building.

Dmajackson
Jul 9, 2008, 4:13 AM
Public Information Meeting today (July 9th) @7pm @ City Hall.

Jonovision
Jul 9, 2008, 4:16 AM
I'll be there.

Jonovision
Jul 10, 2008, 2:24 AM
I was there tonight. It was interesting. I'll admit that the coloured renders made it look a lot better. But the general consensus in the room(aside for the usual naysayers) was that it's a good project. People want the Roy building preserved and refurbished to the best of its ability. But almost everyone commented on the Barrington Street facade. They all said it should be glass like the Granville side. They all thought (as I do) that the brick tower on top would not contribute to the Roy building, but instead overshadow and mock it. We shall see what happens with this one down the road.

Haliguy
Jul 10, 2008, 2:43 AM
I was there for a while tonight. I thought it was overall very constructive. Each had their own opinion on what should be done with building, but all agreed that something has to be done with the building and nobody seemed to be out right against it.

I agree the upper tower should be glass all the way around. It doesn't look right to have one side glass and the other brick.

spaustin
Jul 10, 2008, 3:16 AM
I was there too and I was surprised that people there were talking compromise to a large extent. Maybe its a trust thing? (forgive the pun) Starfish simply has more credibility in preserving heritage than most of the developers out there. After attending the meeting I find that my feelings on this one are much more mixed then they were. I'm really not thrilled about losing the Roy, but if the neglect is too severe and the economics aren't there then maybe it, sadly, has to go. Right now they're talking bulldozing it absolutely flat and then rebuilding a replica. The facades won't be saved. I would feel a little better if they put some extra bucks into it and preserved the Barrington Street facade. I also think that they should really consider not knocking those two buildings down on the corner of Sackville and Granville. Streatching the Roy's style over where it never was seems silly. Why not keep the facade of those buildings and then incorporate something else above them on that corner? Extending a new Roy over them just feels like they didn't know what else to do.

In the bigger picture, if we can't save the Roy what does that say about the rest of Barrington? The Roy may be a little rough but it's in better condition than some of the others like the Green Lantern Building and the Pacific Building. If we let it go then what does that mean for the rest? A heritage district consisting of rebuilt facades seems pretty hollow and if that's where things end up going I think it would be a real loss for the city.

someone123
Jul 10, 2008, 3:21 AM
As I mentioned earlier I really don't think the upper part will be very visible at street level and right now the Roy Building itself is not visible at all except at street level around Barrington because of other nearby buildings of similar or taller height. One could argue that the Barrington Street facade of the tower is unattractive, and I agree that a full glass facade would look better, but I don't think arguments about it "cheapening" the Roy Building are reasonable because it will be impossible see the two together.

As for wind tunnels, that is something that must be assessed for each individual building. It is definitely not the case that a tall building must generate negative wind effects. In fact, they often make the street more sheltered.

Takeo
Jul 10, 2008, 10:48 AM
According to the article in the Herald this morning, the plan is to completely demolish the Roy building and build an exact replica using as much salvaged material as possible?! Umm... that seems kind of ridiculous to me. What's the point of blowing it up and then rebuilding it? It's not like it's a great piece of architecture to begin with. I'm all for saving these historic buildings... 100%... but blowing it up and building a replica doesn't count... in my books. If you're going to blow it up... why not just start from scratch and build a completely newly designed building?

And the tower on top... visible or not... is dull and awkward. There's nothing interesting about it. It's a uniform red brick box. They tried to add interest to the back by taking their box and putting some wavy glass "icing" on it but doesn't work for me. I'd say go back to the drawing board. Restore the building a design an interesting, modern, contrasting addition.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1066716.html

Rico Rommheim
Jul 10, 2008, 10:50 AM
Halifax has a lot going on these days, is there a compilation thread or something, or could someone post a list of all the tall projects?

Takeo
Jul 10, 2008, 10:55 AM
For reference... here is the architect's rendering from the Herald article. Reminds me of the old Halifax Infirmary or the Lord Nelson Hotel... kind of a "block of cheese" approach:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/photos/xlarge/ew070908starfish1_RGB_07-10-08.jpg

Takeo
Jul 10, 2008, 11:59 AM
Here's an idea for a quick fix for the tower that wouldn't require any major changes to the design... just changes to the cladding. The idea is, keep the central portion of the tower in brick and make the rest all glass... so the glass wraps around to the front. It would look like two intersecting towers, a glass rectangle intersected by a brick square. While you're at it... take the idea of the two intersecting towers a little further by making the central brick tower a little higher. I also made the brick darker to differentiate it from the Roy building below.

Anyway, these are just quick ideas and my Photoshop'd file here was done in like... 10 minutes... VERY rough and just meant to illustrate what I'm trying to say rather than being taken as a fully thought out design proposal. If it were my building... I would get the architect to start over.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm225/TakeoK/roy-2.jpg

sdm
Jul 10, 2008, 2:33 PM
Halifax has a lot going on these days, is there a compilation thread or something, or could someone post a list of all the tall projects?

Its all due to a rush of getting development agreements grandfathered before HRM by Design is past. There should be a compilation thread however as it would be interesting to see the current and future developments grouped together.

sdm
Jul 10, 2008, 2:35 PM
Here's an idea for a quick fix for the tower that wouldn't require any major changes to the design... just changes to the cladding. The idea is, keep the central portion of the tower in brick and make the rest all glass... so the glass wraps around to the front. It would look like two intersecting towers, a glass rectangle intersected by a brick square. While you're at it... take the idea of the two intersecting towers a little further by making the central brick tower a little higher. I also made the brick darker to differentiate it from the Roy building below.

Anyway, these are just quick ideas and my Photoshop'd file here was done in like... 10 minutes... VERY rough and just meant to illustrate what I'm trying to say rather than being taken as a fully thought out design proposal. If it were my building... I would get the architect to start over.

http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm225/TakeoK/roy-2.jpg

I rather see it all glass to be honest.

hfx_chris
Jul 10, 2008, 2:36 PM
Reminds me of the old Halifax Infirmary...
That's it! I knew this reminded me of something else, and the old Infirmary is it.

Takeo
Jul 10, 2008, 3:09 PM
I rather see it all glass to be honest.

Ya. Probably. As I say... I'd go back to the drawing board and start from scratch.

If they keep the current design however... they should rethink the cladding. The big "L" shape of brick gives it a look like it's carved from a block of cheese... giving it that Halifax Infirmary look. The current transitions from brick to glass (middle of a side wall... and right at an outside corner) feel awkward to me. It's like they were afraid to have any glass on the "historic" side of the building. It seemed to be designed with one thing in mind... not offending anyone. Not usually a recipe for good design.

sdm
Jul 10, 2008, 3:31 PM
Ya. Probably. As I say... I'd go back to the drawing board and start from scratch.

If they keep the current design however... they should rethink the cladding. The big "L" shape of brick gives it a look like it's carved from a block of cheese... giving it that Halifax Infirmary look. The current transitions from brick to glass (middle of a side wall... and right at an outside corner) feel awkward to me. It's like they were afraid to have any glass on the "historic" side of the building. It seemed to be designed with one thing in mind... not offending anyone. Not usually a recipe for good design.

But that is our problem in halifax, trying to alter things as to please too many people, and as you say leaves a bad design.

someone123
Jul 10, 2008, 6:13 PM
Here's a nice shot of the Roy Building found on Flickr:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3288/2655641418_382c03c122_b.jpg

By nsca (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nsca/).

Like I said, I think it will be fairly difficult to see this tower from the Barrington side.

Takeo
Jul 10, 2008, 6:17 PM
Like I said, I think it will be fairly difficult to see this tower from the Barrington side.

So is your point that it's ok to have a boring design if you can't see it? I'm sure you will see it from some perspectives.

sdm
Jul 10, 2008, 8:16 PM
So is your point that it's ok to have a boring design if you can't see it? I'm sure you will see it from some perspectives.

I think he's just stating the setback, but i believe he agrees that is should be a glass curtain wall on the barrington street side as well (not to put words in someone123 mouth however)

Keith P.
Jul 10, 2008, 10:12 PM
This proposal illustrates the problem with the Barrington St heritage designation quite well. There are a lot of unremarkable and/or uneconomic old buildings on that street that are difficult to do anything with but can't easily be changed just because they are old. It makes no sense to replicate the Roy Building over again -- it is very ordinary architecture to start with. If you want to build a replica of a historic building facade at least pick something good. Otherwise knock it down and build something truly new.

someone123
Jul 10, 2008, 11:43 PM
I think he's just stating the setback, but i believe he agrees that is should be a glass curtain wall on the barrington street side as well (not to put words in someone123 mouth however)

Yep. I would prefer for it to be glass curtain wall all around. However, I think it's important to get a real idea of what this building would look like if completed and some of the comments I've read suggest that people are not necessarily getting that from the renderings and elevations.

In general it is true that if something is not visible there is no point in worrying about aesthetics over basic functionality. Sewer systems are not designed to be beautiful, for example. This building will be part of only certain views and should be designed with those in mind. Other viewpoints from which the top part will not be visible shouldn't enter into the equation.

The Roy Building is not the greatest architecture but I think there's value in preserving it simply as a piece of the city's past, and the fact that somebody is proposing this kind of development proves that it is feasible.

It could be torn down and replaced but the fact is that if you're looking for superior brickwork or stonework that's just not on the table at this point given this project's budget.

Takeo
Jul 11, 2008, 11:42 AM
Yep. I would prefer for it to be glass curtain wall all around. However, I think it's important to get a real idea of what this building would look like if completed

Agreed. The renderings that have been released are done with a virtual camera positioned arbitrarily inside a computer. And I'm guessing the virtual camera is using an extreme wide angle "lens". It would be better to see some renderings in-context... from more human viewpoints.

In general it is true that if something is not visible there is no point in worrying about aesthetics over basic functionality.

In general... yes... but we're talking about a building here... not a sewer pipes. I'd like to see a design that's a little more thoughtful. There's a new rendering in the Herald today showing the wavy curtain wall. This part of the tower will be clearly visible from the street as there is no setback in the back. It's not a pretty view. I'm not a fan of their wavy window idea. Personally.

The Roy Building is not the greatest architecture but I think there's value in preserving it simply as a piece of the city's past, and the fact that somebody is proposing this kind of development proves that it is feasible.

But they're not preserving it. The plan is to completely demolish it and build a REPLICA! That's just bizarre.

sdm
Jul 11, 2008, 3:19 PM
But they're not preserving it. The plan is to completely demolish it and build a REPLICA! That's just bizarre.

They keeping the facade, just the interior is being demolished. Without do that they couldn't put a tower on top.

Takeo
Jul 11, 2008, 4:00 PM
They keeping the facade, just the interior is being demolished. Without do that they couldn't put a tower on top.

I'll have to take a second look at the Herald article. The article made it sound like the were taking the whole building down and rebuilding it using as much salvaged original material as possible. But of course... that can't be. That would make no sense. So ya... it's probably a case of demolishing everything but the outer walls and restoring the facade.

someone123
Jul 11, 2008, 4:12 PM
Part of the facade will be constructed. Currently the Roy Building doesn't go to the corner of Sackville Street, so two small buildings will have to come down for that.

I don't think the Roy Building interior is a big loss, especially if replacing it means that the building can be fully used again.

The Herald rendering looks very cartoonish. A high quality glass curtain wall would look better than what's pictured I think.

hfx_chris
Jul 11, 2008, 5:03 PM
The articles I've read so far basically say they're demolishing the entire thing, and re-using some of the materials to re-build the facade from scratch..

sdm
Jul 11, 2008, 6:01 PM
The articles I've read so far basically say they're demolishing the entire thing, and re-using some of the materials to re-build the facade from scratch..

I don't believe accuracy of the Herald these days as today they stated the project at 1860 Upper water street was voted down by council? Didn't even know it had gone to council.

Jonovision
Jul 11, 2008, 6:01 PM
At the meeting the other night they said they had to demolish the entire building and then reconstruct it. They would use as much salvaged material as possible and possibly reclaimed brick as well. Some people thought it would turn out looking like the brick work on the WTC, hopefully this is not the case.

someone123
Jul 11, 2008, 6:04 PM
That sounds like a very bad idea. While it's theoretically possible that they could reconstruct it accurately, it seems very unlikely. If they're not simply restoring the facade you have to wonder what the point is.

Something else to consider is that this is a key site and if something goes wrong it would basically be a disaster. There's an area of several blocks nearby that's already about 60% parking lot, and the George Street lot on Barrington has now been there for nearly 20 years.

Jonovision
Jul 11, 2008, 6:06 PM
The rendering from the paper today.

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/photos/xlarge/Starfish_Metro_07-11-08_KR8MDFD.jpg

phrenic
Jul 11, 2008, 6:20 PM
The waves make it look like a much larger project in Chicago, Aqua (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=450045).

terrynorthend
Jul 11, 2008, 6:34 PM
Whoa! Aqua gives me vertigo...

I kinda like the back side of Roy in that render..I think they should keep that theme all the way around to the front..

Spitfire75
Jul 11, 2008, 8:01 PM
I bet that would like amazing at night time.

Keith P.
Jul 11, 2008, 10:00 PM
Whoa! Aqua gives me vertigo...

I kinda like the back side of Roy in that render..I think they should keep that theme all the way around to the front..

For me it just doesn't work. Looks like a tea light shade sitting on a brick wall.

HaliStreaks
Jul 11, 2008, 10:37 PM
I think this is one of those "you either love it or you hate it" types, frankly for me I love it. That wavy glass curtain wall would look AMAZING at night :cool:

hfx_chris
Jul 11, 2008, 11:39 PM
They need to get rid of the brick on the west side side, and straighten out those curves in the glass. Then it would have my seal of approval.
That curve thing doesn't look good to me at all

gm_scott
Jul 12, 2008, 5:52 PM
I hate Aqua, so this doesn't look that great...

sdm
Jul 15, 2008, 1:58 PM
Found this in todays Herald

Middle ground


Re: "Is this the new Roy Building?" (July 10), which included a report of my comments at the recent public information session.

While I did say "the only way I could support the project would be if the (lower part of the new Roy) building was an exact replica of the (old) Roy Building," it was in the context of indicating this would be a necessary condition to allow the 17-storey project to proceed. In the story, it appeared I was against the project and wanted only a replica of the old building.

For years, downtown Halifax has been at the centre of a conflict between heritage conservation and new development. As a heritage advocate, and a businessman, I have always attempted to find the middle ground of this debate. The city must proceed with new development and at the same time must protect its heritage. This is what makes our city so special. As I said at the meeting, the compromise is to allow development to proceed, but to require any heritage buildings which suffer as a consequence to be exactly rebuilt, with as much of the original material as possible, as part of the new development. We have some successful examples of this policy in our downtown already: the Delta Barringrton hotel on Granville Street and Founders Square. The Armour Group proposal on Upper Water Street will also follow this model.

The story made me appear to be a knee-jerk heritage supporter who only wants the old buildings to stay. That is far from true.


Alan Parish, Halifax

terrynorthend
Jul 15, 2008, 6:36 PM
Whoa! Hold the phone..Parish is a supporter of the Upper Water Street development..and putting a tower atop the Roy?? We do INDEED live in a crazy city!

sdm
Jul 15, 2008, 7:29 PM
Whoa! Hold the phone..Parish is a supporter of the Upper Water Street development..and putting a tower atop the Roy?? We do INDEED live in a crazy city!

Hahahah

Thats why i had to post it. I remember him getting up and stating he was for the upper water street proposal the night of the public information session.

Haliguy
Jul 15, 2008, 7:37 PM
I wish he was still president of the HT. He seems to have a lot more common sense than Phil Pacey.

spaustin
Sep 11, 2008, 9:13 PM
This one was on the CTV news this evening. Apparently a demolition permit has been issued. Clearly we need to get the Barrington Street heritage district in place. Regardless of whether you love the proposal or hate it, some additional protection seems to be a must. Kind of hurts the whole public hearing process if the building's fate is already set.

sdm
Sep 11, 2008, 11:28 PM
This one was on the CTV news this evening. Apparently a demolition permit has been issued. Clearly we need to get the Barrington Street heritage district in place. Regardless of whether you love the proposal or hate it, some additional protection seems to be a must. Kind of hurts the whole public hearing process if the building's fate is already set.

Considering it isn;t a registered heritage building there is no public input required or a part of the process. People will get a chance to voice their opinions on the development agreement application however....

spaustin
Sep 12, 2008, 4:54 PM
Considering it isn;t a registered heritage building there is no public input required or a part of the process. People will get a chance to voice their opinions on the development agreement application however....

Exactly which is why we should get a heritage conservation district enacted so that property owners can't just knock over significant buildings on streetscapes like this on a whim.

worldlyhaligonian
Sep 12, 2008, 5:09 PM
Meh, I'm not for demo of this property or even significant redevelopment by any means... this being said, your rhetoric is a bit scary. It is private property and the public should be more concerned with larger issues related to heritage preservation.

If the Heritage Trust actually focused on preserving heritage and getting districts like this inacted, then I would be a supporter. The reality is that all they do is try to fight development while buildings crumble and areas that have clear character are not protected as such before developers have already put out their money. :koko: These HT people obviously have alot of free time on their hands for a reason.

spaustin
Sep 12, 2008, 9:19 PM
Meh, I'm not for demo of this property or even significant redevelopment by any means... this being said, your rhetoric is a bit scary. It is private property and the public should be more concerned with larger issues related to heritage preservation.

If the Heritage Trust actually focused on preserving heritage and getting districts like this inacted, then I would be a supporter. The reality is that all they do is try to fight development while buildings crumble and areas that have clear character are not protected as such before developers have already put out their money. :koko: These HT people obviously have alot of free time on their hands for a reason.

My comment had nothing to do with the heritage trust. My issue is that it shouldn't be so easy to just demolish an old building in significant locations like this. We need a conservation district for these types of places where there is still a streetscape. Even in a conservation district though, demolition shouldn't be impossible. If a building is truly gone then it's truly gone, but it just shouldn't be easy to do. It should be an option of last resort or near last resort. Getting this demolition permit was easy. That's my problem. Private property is important, but the world doesn't end at your property line. No one has an absolute right to do whatever they want with their property. The use of property is limited to accomodate the interest of the society. We're not Americans and private property rights aren't enshrined in our constitution. In this case, I think a little more limiting is quite justified and in the interest of the city as a whole.

Keith P.
Sep 12, 2008, 11:24 PM
My comment had nothing to do with the heritage trust. My issue is that it shouldn't be so easy to just demolish an old building in significant locations like this. We need a conservation district for these types of places where there is still a streetscape.

I don't know what a "conservation district" is, but we already have heritage properties legislation and this one didn't qualify. Just because a building is old doesn't mean it should be saved from progress. Why WASN'T this one a designated heritage property? If the old ramshackle canteen on the Wanderers Grounds qualifies as one (which I understand it recently did) then why didn't this?

someone123
Sep 12, 2008, 11:58 PM
Well, the current heritage legislation is pointless and dysfunctional. As far as I know the owners have to nominate or agree to the designation when it is applied. All the designation does is add the one year delay for demolition permits and it comes with zero financial benefits. In other words, there is zero real incentive to register a property from the point of view of an owner.

The other problem is that the scoring process is too focused on the history surrounding a building and is not focused enough on maintaining character buildings and streetscapes. The rationale behind the Wanderers' Grounds canteen was that people from the military used to go there or something. Things like that can be commemorated with plaques, in museums, or not at all. It's common to hear the Paceys get up and go on about some captain who used to live in such and such dilapidated little house but ultimately what matters from the point of view of saving buildings is the public realm and the architecture that the public sees on a daily basis. The Roy Building matters far more than little wooden houses on side streets.

Empire
Sep 15, 2008, 12:18 AM
I don't know what a "conservation district" is, but we already have heritage properties legislation and this one didn't qualify. Just because a building is old doesn't mean it should be saved from progress. Why WASN'T this one a designated heritage property?

The issue is that the Heritage property act can be overturned by a development agreement and council. Look no further than Waterside Centre to see four registered Heritage buildings on the brink of demolition.

sdm
Sep 15, 2008, 12:29 AM
The issue is that the Heritage property act can be overturned by a development agreement and council. Look no further than Waterside Centre to see four registered Heritage buildings on the brink of demolition.
\
You must be a member of Heritage trust Empire

worldlyhaligonian
Sep 15, 2008, 2:50 AM
The issue is that the Heritage property act can be overturned by a development agreement and council. Look no further than Waterside Centre to see four registered Heritage buildings on the brink of demolition.

Once again, I am not an advocate for this project. I'm content with International Place being a new building in the area. However, I think you mis-understand the plans of the developer. It seems as though those who are against this project are misrepresenting the language of the developer. The word demolition scares people, but what they aren't wrapping their head around (besides the opposition to the tower portion) is that demolition is required to the interior of the building and the exterior will have to be removed for a portion of the development. Unless they have a signficant problem, it is my understanding that they will be keeping the majority of the facade.

Jonovision
Sep 15, 2008, 6:49 PM
My understanding was that they were not able to maintain any of the facade and would have to dismantle it and rebuild it.

sdm
Sep 15, 2008, 7:18 PM
My understanding was that they were not able to maintain any of the facade and would have to dismantle it and rebuild it.

For the Roy Building, really?

spaustin
Sep 15, 2008, 7:53 PM
My understanding was that they were not able to maintain any of the facade and would have to dismantle it and rebuild it.

Yep they're going to tear it down and rebuild it. I'm skeptical of how it'll end up looking. I suspect it'll end up looking like faux heritage. On the Granville side they're going to extend the rebuilt Roy Building facade right to the corner of Granville and Sackville where those two short older buildings now stand. That suggests to me that this is definitely more of a demolish and replicate operation. They'll have to use modern brick for at least that one section since the Roy Building doesn't extend that far right now... unless they're going to buy old brick to build it, but I just don't think that's very likely. I suspect that this will be a replica with new brick and much of the old will be gone.

Keith P.
Sep 15, 2008, 7:54 PM
Yep they're going to tear it down and rebuild it.

Well, since it is falling off in chunks onto the sidewalk (hence the arcade along Granville St) that seems a prudent move.

worldlyhaligonian
Sep 15, 2008, 8:03 PM
The language is not clear, but it would make sense for them to incorporate existing materials. I would hope that its not just going to be new brick to recreate the facade.

If they actually do this, it will totally come out as faux-heritage... these developers don't match the quality of the original developments due to the cost required.

Keith P.
Sep 15, 2008, 11:39 PM
The language is not clear, but it would make sense for them to incorporate existing materials. I would hope that its not just going to be new brick to recreate the facade.

If they actually do this, it will totally come out as faux-heritage... these developers don't match the quality of the original developments due to the cost required.

Most new structures in Halifax constructed over the last decade or two are exactly that, because faux-heritage is all that was deemed acceptable for approval under our cockamamie development process. I strongly believe that in the Roy Building you have an unremarkably-designed structure whose facade has weathered and is failing. In most cases it would make sense to either tear it down entirely and start fresh or just keep the bones and design a brand-new facade. But we are saddled with this idiotic need to keep everything just because it is old regardless of merit, so what you get is faux-heritage by design. Don't blame the developers. They're just giving us what we say we want.

Jonovision
Sep 16, 2008, 4:29 AM
At the meeting my understanding was that they would take the existing building down and rebuild it with as much of the original brick as they could and for the rest they would use salvaged brick. Which would give it one leg up above the faux heritage crap with have, but not much better.

I'm torn on this one though. We have so few large older buildings downtown that it makes me inclined to want to preserve what we do have, but Keith P. has a good point. I just wish i could sort it out for myself.

sdm
Sep 16, 2008, 10:44 AM
At the meeting my understanding was that they would take the existing building down and rebuild it with as much of the original brick as they could and for the rest they would use salvaged brick. Which would give it one leg up above the faux heritage crap with have, but not much better.

I'm torn on this one though. We have so few large older buildings downtown that it makes me inclined to want to preserve what we do have, but Keith P. has a good point. I just wish i could sort it out for myself.

I believe it would next to impossible to save the original brick unless they left the facade standing while they constructed the new building. If they remove the facade there is no chance the original brick will be used. Mind you most the original brick is falling so new project or not it could be argued most of the original brick will be replaced regardless.

This project will be interesting to say the least. I always envisioned the Roy building be converted to Loft style appartments not office. Many of the plans for Barrington involved increasing the residential density above the ground floor in order to help support the retail merchants.

spryscraper
Sep 16, 2008, 2:39 PM
I strongly believe that in the Roy Building you have an unremarkably-designed structure whose facade has weathered and is failing. In most cases it would make sense to either tear it down entirely and start fresh or just keep the bones and design a brand-new facade. But we are saddled with this idiotic need to keep everything just because it is old regardless of merit, so what you get is faux-heritage by design.

In my opinion, saving the facade would be a definite plus. Sure it's not the most unique building in the world, but it is one of the few remaining buildings of its size and style in Halifax, the only other one that I can think of is the Green Lantern building right down the street. I know not every single old building is worth preserving, but put your standards too high and all we'll have left are Province House, City Hall, AGNS, and those two weird little Neo-classical buildings in the financial district.

someone123
Sep 16, 2008, 7:45 PM
The Roy Building has two important characteristics that make it worth preserving. The first is that it's unique in the city in terms of its combination of style, scale, and period, and the second is that it really helps to establish the overall feel of Barrington Street. Basically if it goes the street will be totally different and if it becomes a parking lot then it will be a huge disaster for Barrington. This project makes me fairly nervous as a result.

I've always found it a bit unfortunate that Halifax doesn't have more mid-sized early 20th century commercial buildings, but that is the period when the city wasn't doing very well. Basically Halifax was a mid-sized or "major" city up until the 1880s or 1890s and then stalled until 1930 or so. In the 1940s and 50s it was one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, which explains why we got things like Scotia Square and the bank towers, highways, etc.

worldlyhaligonian
Sep 17, 2008, 4:32 AM
Hmm... until I know more fact, I'm undecided.

This project and Waterside Centre don't really do it for me like some of the other proposals. Is it ignorant to believe that these proposals could be merely restorations and allow the other, more fresh and modern, approved buildings fill our downtown office/residential needs?

Dmajackson
Mar 20, 2009, 1:21 AM
Some pictures of the site taken by me today;

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3625/3369462044_d1bff675a9_b.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3443/3368637829_c9d147ee20_b.jpg

miesh111
Apr 1, 2009, 12:33 PM
This project was approved last night, according to the herald:

Four projects approved
HRM council gives go-ahead to developments at Morris Street, City Centre Atlantic, Roy Building and Discovery Centre
By JEFFREY SIMPSON and DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporters
Wed. Apr 1 - 5:36 AM
Four downtown Halifax developments have been given approval while council continues to ponder the HRM by Design strategy.

Councillors agreed Tuesday evening with a staff recommendation to grandfather four projects that follow the rules of the city’s existing Municipal Planning Strategy.

Louis Lawen of Dexel Developments Ltd. spoke during the afternoon sitting of committee of the whole about wanting to proceed with two downtown projects — an $18-million addition to City Centre Atlantic over Pete’s Frootique on Dresden Row, and a $16-million, 10-storey commercial-residential structure on the site of the old Victoria Suites apartment building at Morris and Hollis streets.

Reducing the height of his buildings would make them less economically viable, he said.

"None of these projects are affecting any view planes," he said.

Council agreed that all four projects must be completed within three years after they are started.

"Our intention is to go full speed ahead," Louis Resnick, who is working on the Roy Building on Barrington Street, told committee of the whole.

Frank Medjuck defended his $30-million development of the Discovery Centre on Barrington Street, pointing out that council was letting the downtown stagnate while the Bayers Lake shopping area on the outskirts of the city is sprawling out of control.

Councillors also agreed that HRM by Design should include the site of the proposed new World Trade and Convention Centre, a couple of city blocks including the former Halifax Herald Ltd. property and the Midtown Tavern site.

The first reading of HRM by Design will take place during next Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

Council also agreed in principle that two heritage conservation districts — Barrington Street South and Historic Properties and Granville Mall — become part of HRM by Design.

Council has scheduled three days, May 5-7, for public hearings on HRM by Design.

( jsimpson@herald.ca)

( djeffrey@herald.ca)

eastcoastal
Apr 2, 2009, 12:55 AM
The project itself was not approved. Council's decision only dealt with the way the project will be assessed. The current MPS will be used, and the current development agreement process will be followed.

I'm surprised it was even discussed at council. I would have assumed it would have been a complete legal no-go to suggest that developers would have had to follow rules that weren't even in place when the applications were submitted to the municipality (the rules don't even exist today - HRMbyDesign has to go through public hearing and then a decision of Council first)

planarchy
Jul 30, 2009, 10:45 AM
Here are two renderings taken from the architect's website [DSRA | Envision (http://dsraenvision.ca/)] showing views from both side. I don't know if these were the same ones released months ago - I don't remember them being this polished.

http://a.imagehost.org/0989/DSRA_Envision_1.jpg http://a.imagehost.org/0056/DSRA_Envision_2.jpg

Doggard
Jul 30, 2009, 11:29 AM
Yeah, I believe these are a little different from the older ones. I really like this proposal, it's sort of a compromise between old and new. It would be nice if the new was a little newer looking though, and the old a little older.

sdm
Jul 30, 2009, 12:17 PM
Here are two renderings taken from the architect's website [DSRA | Envision (http://dsraenvision.ca/)] showing views from both side. I don't know if these were the same ones released months ago - I don't remember them being this polished.

http://a.imagehost.org/0989/DSRA_Envision_1.jpg http://a.imagehost.org/0056/DSRA_Envision_2.jpg

I rather see all glass, but its scale is out of wack in my opinion. Less tower and total glass would be better.

The upgrades to the roy building facade and street level are impressive.

sdm
Jul 30, 2009, 12:18 PM
.

phrenic
Jul 30, 2009, 12:42 PM
It should be all glass. The front of the tower looks like some kind of 1970s hospital.

Jonovision
Jul 30, 2009, 3:14 PM
Those renderings do make it look a bit better. Especially the bottom half of the Granville Facade. That looks awesome! I'm with you SDM I think the scale of the project is bad. It is too tall for that base.

On another note. I found this on their website. http://inlinethumb54.webshots.com/44853/2039547240096709958S600x600Q85.jpg

It has no label. I don't know if its just a generic rendering or not. But I would love to see this project in the city.

Dmajackson
Jul 30, 2009, 3:21 PM
I like the rendering for the most part but the front does look a bit hospital-like. A change of brick there would go along way for it to match Barrington Street.

Doggard
Jul 30, 2009, 3:21 PM
is that maritime centre in the background?

planarchy
Jul 30, 2009, 3:39 PM
is that maritime centre in the background?

Yeah, I think it is. It looks like this is for the renovation of the Bank of Montreal/Old Planet Pool building on the corner of Queen and SGR - although you can't see anything resembling the old building from this angle. Nice to see Doyle Street closed off to car traffic.

Would certainly be a nice addition to that corner - along with City Centre Atlantic addition and the New Library complex (if it ever arrives) - this would sure be one of the best - or the best - looking intersections in Atlantic Canada. Another addition/renovation to the old Royal Bank/now Starbucks building would finish it off nicely.

Takeo
Jul 30, 2009, 3:56 PM
Regarding the Roy Building renderings... I have to agree... the Barrington side is pretty ugly and uninspired. As a designer, I'd go for stark contrast rather than trying to compliment. It looks like the Halifax Infirmary reborn.

I noticed they completely changed the glass on the back too. The "wave" used to be in smooth horizontal bands. Now it's in sharp vertical bands. The new pattern is maybe a little more interesting.

Nice to see the restoration at the Granville street level too with it's 'limestone' plinth. Although how much do you want to bet they're going to create it using that fake moulded 'stone' stuff that's so popular now.

Speaking of which... off topic... but people of Halifax... please stop cladding your historic wooden Victorian homes with fake stone. Ugh :-(

Takeo
Jul 30, 2009, 4:02 PM
I just read the blurb on that website. The front is apparently brick "for building code reasons". Maybe a darker brick (much darker) would look a little more modern though.

The back is apparently an "undulating aluminum curtain wall". Hmmm. Aluminum eh? I assume there's glass in there too of course. Hard to say how this would look based on a tiny computer rendering.

eastcoastal
Jul 30, 2009, 4:19 PM
I just read the blurb on that website. The front is apparently brick "for building code reasons". Maybe a darker brick (much darker) would look a little more modern though.

The back is apparently an "undulating aluminum curtain wall". Hmmm. Aluminum eh? I assume there's glass in there too of course. Hard to say how this would look based on a tiny computer rendering.

Um... this is hideous.

The front is too similar to the base, and I feel like it's too tall overall. Yikes. Did I just say too tall? I'm not a ole, I swear!

sdm
Jul 30, 2009, 4:53 PM
Those renderings do make it look a bit better. Especially the bottom half of the Granville Facade. That looks awesome! I'm with you SDM I think the scale of the project is bad. It is too tall for that base.

On another note. I found this on their website. http://inlinethumb54.webshots.com/44853/2039547240096709958S600x600Q85.jpg

It has no label. I don't know if its just a generic rendering or not. But I would love to see this project in the city.

Based on the details of the rendering i would say that is a proposal for the BMO building on Spring Garden.

Jonovision
Jul 30, 2009, 5:09 PM
Based on the details of the rendering i would say that is a proposal for the BMO building on Spring Garden.

That's right it does look like that. I like it, but I still want them to save the front of the BMO building.

Takeo
Jul 30, 2009, 8:38 PM
Um... this is hideous.

The front is too similar to the base, and I feel like it's too tall overall. Yikes. Did I just say too tall? I'm not a ole, I swear!

Ya. Looks unbalanced.

Takeo
Jul 30, 2009, 8:42 PM
That's right it does look like that. I like it, but I still want them to save the front of the BMO building.

Based on the other two buildings we can see (Aliant, 2 story red stucco... and maybe a church steeple)... I don't see how it could be the BMO site. Also, what street would create that pedestrian mall be that runs beside the building?

Dmajackson
Jul 30, 2009, 9:04 PM
Based on the other two buildings we can see (Aliant, 2 story red stucco... and maybe a church steeple)... I don't see how it could be the BMO site. Also, what street would create that pedestrian mall be that runs beside the building?

Doyle Street could be the pedestrian mall and the church steeple could be St. Mary's down closer to Barrington.

I just hope they fix up SGR so if this does ever happen it'll look at lot better.

Keith P.
Jul 30, 2009, 9:38 PM
Based on the other two buildings we can see (Aliant, 2 story red stucco... and maybe a church steeple)... I don't see how it could be the BMO site. Also, what street would create that pedestrian mall be that runs beside the building?

No, that's what Danny Chedrawe is proposing for the BMO on the corner of SGR and Queen. That perspective is looking at it from Queen St, across from the Port of Wines. In fact that is the Port of Wines in the far left side of the rendering. They have made Doyle St into a pedestrian mall of sorts (hence the bollards) and you are looking at the back and side of the BMO building. Right now you would see the juice stand that is on the plaza roughly where those 2 people in the rendering are standing.

Doggard
Jul 30, 2009, 9:46 PM
Ah, I see it now, thanks guys.

Takeo
Jul 30, 2009, 11:39 PM
Doyle Street could be the pedestrian mall and the church steeple could be St. Mary's down closer to Barrington.

Ahh yes... the view could be from behind the BOM building! Now I get it! Yes... that makes total sense. And I KNEW I recognized that little red building.

As for the mall... it would be really nice... but one thing I've always noticed (the few times I drive downtown) is that it can be very difficult to turn right on Spring Garden off Brunswick sometimes (pedestrian traffic). I always turn right on Doyle and go from there. But whatever.

spaustin
Jul 31, 2009, 1:48 AM
They have been tweaking it. Before the glass back was curved and ran along the building horizontally. Now the pattern is more vertical. I actually kind of liked the older wavy version myself.

Edit: Didn't catch that we had spilled onto a second page and were moving onto a second new rendering. Looks like the new project could be interesting and there is certainly room to redesign Doyle Street... but if they're not going to save and respect the stone front of the BMO there is no way I can support it. The BMO is a beautiful building, is irreplacable and should be retained. Modern could work alongside it. After all, the Second Cup bit/Rogues Roost is already tacked on and BMO has made some tasteless changes to it (doors and signs). So I really hope that around the corner from that round tower lies the old stone front. To lose the whole thing would be a huge loss to the city.
http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/5531/bmospringgarden.jpg (http://img380.imageshack.us/i/bmospringgarden.jpg/)
Photo by me in winter from a few years back

Jonovision
Jul 31, 2009, 3:40 AM
Sorry to hijack the thread. I'll post the rendering again in the rumours thread and we can continue there.

macgregor
Aug 6, 2009, 12:48 AM
From signs in the windows it looks like Attica might be moving in here. I think that would be great. It's encouraging that Attica is successfully building up their business in a downtown setting.

someone123
Aug 6, 2009, 1:04 AM
Attica was mentioned in The Coast this week. Apparently they will be using some of the Roy Building storefronts to show furniture while the building is in limbo, which hopefully won't be too much longer..

Those renderings of the addition are a bit strange. If memory serves me correctly, it has six floors on the Barrington and seven on the Granville side. I think the design of the addition could be better, but I don't think the scale is a big problem and in fact the upper part won't even be very visible from street level. It will be visible from a distance, but from that vantage point the rest of the Roy Building would not be.

Jonovision
Aug 6, 2009, 3:03 AM
I was down on Barrington today and Attica has already created displays in about half the windows. It's looks much better than it did with all that paper thats for sure.

Barrington south
Aug 6, 2009, 5:45 PM
but if they're not going to save and respect the stone front of the BMO there is no way I can support it. The BMO is a beautiful building, is irreplacable and should be retained. Modern could work alongside it. After all, the Second Cup bit/Rogues Roost is already tacked on and BMO has made some tasteless changes to it (doors and signs). So I really hope that around the corner from that round tower lies the old stone front. To lose the whole thing would be a huge loss to the city.
http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/5531/bmospringgarden.jpg (http://img380.imageshack.us/i/bmospringgarden.jpg/)
Photo by me in winter from a few years back

defiantly, this building is an asset...I like it very much, and it adds a noble presence to SGR. I would support a tasteful and appropriate addition to it however.

Empire
Aug 6, 2009, 6:11 PM
Edit: Didn't catch that we had spilled onto a second page and were moving onto a second new rendering. Looks like the new project could be interesting and there is certainly room to redesign Doyle Street... but if they're not going to save and respect the stone front of the BMO there is no way I can support it. The BMO is a beautiful building, is irreplacable and should be retained. Modern could work alongside it. After all, the Second Cup bit/Rogues Roost is already tacked on and BMO has made some tasteless changes to it (doors and signs). So I really hope that around the corner from that round tower lies the old stone front. To lose the whole thing would be a huge loss to the city.
http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/5531/bmospringgarden.jpg (http://img380.imageshack.us/i/bmospringgarden.jpg/)
Photo by me in winter from a few years back

The design calls for complete demolition of this building and a cheap knockoff rebuilt like O'Carrol's and the Roy Building. This is much worse because the building is so much a part of Halifax and you will not get that level of sandstone and detail again, not to mention the replacement would be cheap concrete panels called sandstone like material. The plan calls for 8-9 floors so the existing structure could not accommodate the extra floors so the only plan is to demolish it. This is what happens when HRM doesn't care about quality heritage buildings.