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  #141  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 3:56 AM
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I'm happy to hear the accordion section is gone and that this project is essentially approved.
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  #142  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 12:10 PM
HalifaxRetales HalifaxRetales is offline
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I'm happy to hear the accordion section is gone and that this project is essentially approved.
agreed
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  #143  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 12:43 PM
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This was approved by DRC by vote this evening.

The accordion part is gone, as part of passing.
I've read some reports from individuals on facebook claiming the pedway is also a no-go? What about the cantilever over the BOC?
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  #144  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 4:03 PM
scooby074 scooby074 is offline
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Bye Bye Accordion!

Glad this one got approved.
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  #145  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 4:19 PM
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A bit peeved that the DRC would be so cavalier about the heritage elements (not even taking staff's recommendation to leave Champlain facade at six storeys) but ditching the accordion should definitely remove some of the Borg-spaceship quality of it. Looking forward to new, accordion-less rendering.
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  #146  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 5:00 PM
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Bye Bye Accordion!
Bye bye LEED Certification? (or at least for what they were aiming...)
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  #147  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 5:08 PM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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Bye bye LEED Certification? (or at least for what they were aiming...)
On-site renewable energy is worth 1-7 points towards your LEED score. I have no idea what those solar panels were worth to this particular project, so who knows if it will affect the level of LEED they acchieve. To get LEED Platinum you need 80 to 110 points.

From a practical standpoint (and not just a LEEd points/public image standpoint) good riddance! Solar panels don't make a heck of a lot of sense in a dense downtown core with shading from nearby buildings. If the designers were being rational and actually looking to generate renewable energy (rather than greenwashing) the money spent on those panels and modifying the building to accomodate them would go much further by buying into a dedicated solar or wind project where energy collection can be optimized.
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  #148  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 5:19 PM
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A bit peeved that the DRC would be so cavalier about the heritage elements (not even taking staff's recommendation to leave Champlain facade at six storeys) but ditching the accordion should definitely remove some of the Borg-spaceship quality of it. Looking forward to new, accordion-less rendering.
Don't you fret. The cantilever is cubical... and this frame is built over existing technology, assimilating what it touches (bringing the downtown closer to perfection).

My initial thoughts were that I'd prefer façadism over the cantilever option. I would have rathered the entire site envelope be used. I could be sold on the cantilever if the exterior isn't so close to being the same colour as the BOC.

Excited for a new rendering!! This development will be great!
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  #149  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 6:03 PM
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From a practical standpoint (and not just a LEEd points/public image standpoint) good riddance! Solar panels don't make a heck of a lot of sense in a dense downtown core with shading from nearby buildings.
Shade from Province House? From which buildings? I think the viewplane may have provided an advantage to this developer, at least for this context. I think clear summer days would have fed this south-facing solar accordion glass well.

That being said am I ever glad it's gone too!
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  #150  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2014, 6:50 PM
eastcoastal eastcoastal is offline
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Shade from Province House? From which buildings? I think the viewplane may have provided an advantage to this developer, at least for this context. I think clear summer days would have fed this south-facing solar accordion glass well.

That being said am I ever glad it's gone too!
It would be a poor indication if LEED depended on the accordion. Any worthwhile project should have some buffer points built in (10% or so) to allow for difficulties during the certification stage - the CaGBC doesn't always award all the points requested.

Glad that accordion's gone. Could stand to see a greater visible difference between the backdrop and preserved CIBC building. Though, in real life, the difference may be marked enough with just the massing.
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  #151  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 1:36 AM
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I really find it difficult to muster enthusiasm for this one. I really don't like the overhang over the Commerce Bank Building. I think it's the kind of thing that looks okay in a render, but in the real world will end up looking silly. It would be better to just grant the developer the potential developmental rights that would normally be available over top of the old bank building as a bonus to be used elsewhere on the site. I thought the Design Review Committee's decision to overturn staff's recommendation to retain the top two floors of the Champlain Building was a mistake. Yes the Champlain Building was originally 4 stories, but part of its heritage is how the building has evolved over time. It got both wider and taller. By that logic, it would be fine to take the top few floors off the Morses Tea or the Dennis Building. The treatment of the Hayes Building is pretty bad. It becomes an empty and lonely facade surrounded by glass. It looks silly as just a wall surrounded by glass. Might as well just tear it down. The entrance at George and Hollis is also uninspiring. They have that kind of walled off open space just across the street at the base of the Bank of Montreal and it's never ever used. I don't see it being any different here.

On the plus side, taking out the accordian glass makes the whole thing look a lot better and the design review committee shot down the pedway, which would have blocked views down the Granville Mall and taken life off the street. The atrium and using the back addition of the Commerce Bank Building as an arcade entrance to the plaza sounds really neat. On the whole though, I think we could have done so much better with this project. Something more like Founders Square's approach to heritage would have been a better fit.
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  #152  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 2:29 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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I really find it difficult to muster enthusiasm for this one. I really don't like the overhang over the Commerce Bank Building. I think it's the kind of thing that looks okay in a render, but in the real world will end up looking silly. It would be better to just grant the developer the potential developmental rights that would normally be available over top of the old bank building as a bonus to be used elsewhere on the site. I thought the Design Review Committee's decision to overturn staff's recommendation to retain the top two floors of the Champlain Building was a mistake. Yes the Champlain Building was originally 4 stories, but part of its heritage is how the building has evolved over time. It got both wider and taller. By that logic, it would be fine to take the top few floors off the Morses Tea or the Dennis Building. The treatment of the Hayes Building is pretty bad. It becomes an empty and lonely facade surrounded by glass. It looks silly as just a wall surrounded by glass. Might as well just tear it down. The entrance at George and Hollis is also uninspiring. They have that kind of walled off open space just across the street at the base of the Bank of Montreal and it's never ever used. I don't see it being any different here.

On the plus side, taking out the accordian glass makes the whole thing look a lot better and the design review committee shot down the pedway, which would have blocked views down the Granville Mall and taken life off the street. The atrium and using the back addition of the Commerce Bank Building as an arcade entrance to the plaza sounds really neat. On the whole though, I think we could have done so much better with this project. Something more like Founders Square's approach to heritage would have been a better fit.
We don't need another Founders Square. Yes, it did a nice job of heritage preservation, but architecturally, it's boring. And there's nothing there, to entice anyone in. If you're not a tenant, does anybody regularly spend time inside Founders Square? Yeah, I thought not.

This proposal, on the other hand, is unique, distinctive, and also original, by even more general architectural design standards. In terms of Halifax architectural design originality, this is like shooting the moon. We're boring as hell, let's be honest. And, it incorporates significant public space.

I don't mind that the accordion is gone. It was probably a little too busy.

Apparently, the new rendering submitted to DRC was more toned down, with a cleaner glass finish on the towers.

It's time for Halifax to start accepting new ideas. New buildings. New designs. New Canadians. New ways to sustaining industry. New ways of growing the population. New ways to economic growth. New ways of urban planning.

The old ways of doing things are killing this province. We need new. We need to get to yes.

See what I did there?
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  #153  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 3:52 AM
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Are there updated pictures to look at anywhere for this?
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  #154  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 4:09 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Are there updated pictures to look at anywhere for this?
Yes. They are posted on the halifax.ca website. I like the halifax.ca website; it is kept up to date and has plenty of information.

Here are new renderings:
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...eportfeb12.pdf
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...esentation.pdf
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  #155  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 4:33 AM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post
It's time for Halifax to start accepting new ideas. New buildings. New designs. New Canadians. New ways to sustaining industry. New ways of growing the population. New ways to economic growth. New ways of urban planning.

The old ways of doing things are killing this province. We need new. We need to get to yes.
Sure, but none of that has to do with architectural quality. This kind of facadism is (slowly) falling out of favour in larger cities' architectural and development circles, as more complex approaches to integrating old and new structures evolve.

In any case, decrying "the heritage lobby" has become a favoured mantra for Haligonians fancying themselves progressive and in favour of new, modern things, but the most progressive cities out there are well past all that--they're actively safeguarding their heritage far better and more aggressively than Halifax does. So, its complicated.
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  #156  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 5:18 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Sure, but none of that has to do with architectural quality. This kind of facadism is (slowly) falling out of favour in larger cities' architectural and development circles, as more complex approaches to integrating old and new structures evolve.

In any case, decrying "the heritage lobby" has become a favoured mantra for Haligonians fancying themselves progressive and in favour of new, modern things, but the most progressive cities out there are well past all that--they're actively safeguarding their heritage far better and more aggressively than Halifax does. So, its complicated.
I agree wholeheartedly that there must be a balance. But the way people talk these days, we get basically get a year's worth of activity downtown (2013) and people make out like the sky is falling on heritage all over the city.

So let's look at recent history. For essentially two decades, likely more, there hadn't been a significant development downtown. No cranes for more than twenty years. The Heritage "Lobby" or STVers, had the run of the place, with the help of sprawl agents (housing developers who were happy to develop cheaply outside the core), clueless / hapless / useless mayors and councils, and Provincial Governments more concerned about funneling tax dollars and corporate handouts to badly managed 19th century resource industries elsewhere in the province.

And what did twenty years of such "heritage preservation" give us? A bunch of dilapidated and rotting buildings downtown. The disgraceful Dennis. The burnt out Barrington NFB. Plenty more empty heritage shop fronts all over downtown, an economically and developmentally depressed core, sprawling suburbs... and great view planes. Basically, an urban nightmare that we are only now, finally, waking up from.

I don't, by the way, think it's necessarily "progressive" to point any of that out. I just think it's common sense.

So here we are, after twenty years of slumber, and we have some development. I don't think that means we need to bulldoze heritage buildings left and right. But I do think it means that sometimes, we particularly ambitious proposals, there is going to be a clash between unique new proposals on the one side, and heritage preservation on the other. And inevitably, sometimes, unlike in the past, heritage has to lose, or at least a certain conception of heritage preservation.

The best balance, or the best conception, is a debate I'm willing to have. But you must admit, DryBrain, that the Heritage Committees' rejection of EVERY heritage aspect of this proposal was ludicrous. As I pointed out upthread they even rejected the ENTIRE preservation and restoration of the Merrill Lynch building, because the cantilever "made it looks small".

So, my thought, is that until the "heritage lobby" comes back down to earth, remove their tinfoils hats, realize it's no longer 1995, and start an earnest conversation about how we can all work together toward more balanced development, then they're going to be wholly marginalized, with no one to blame but themselves.

Last edited by counterfactual; Feb 15, 2014 at 5:34 AM.
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  #157  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 6:38 AM
ILoveHalifax ILoveHalifax is online now
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Yes. They are posted on the halifax.ca website. I like the halifax.ca website; it is kept up to date and has plenty of information.

Here are new renderings:
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...eportfeb12.pdf
http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...esentation.pdf
Thank you Fenwick.
I must say I am disappointed that the accordion is gone. That was a strong base that was supporting the upper levels. Now, to me it looks top heavy and as if the upper levels could fall over. Not that it is going to fall but it just looks like it could. It needed the heavier looking base.
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  #158  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 2:44 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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One thing that I am glad to see are the setbacks above all the heritage buildings, in accordance with HRM_by_Design. I don't think this was apparent in the colour renderings from a few months ago but are clearly shown in the Lydon Lynch drawings in this document - http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...esentation.pdf. I believe that the heritage buildings will visually stand out from the two tall buildings.

The cantilevered section will certainly be a jaw-dropping feature of the design. It would certainly make me stop to look at the cantilevered building.
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  #159  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2014, 5:32 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
Sure, but none of that has to do with architectural quality. This kind of facadism is (slowly) falling out of favour in larger cities' architectural and development circles, as more complex approaches to integrating old and new structures evolve.

In any case, decrying "the heritage lobby" has become a favoured mantra for Haligonians fancying themselves progressive and in favour of new, modern things, but the most progressive cities out there are well past all that--they're actively safeguarding their heritage far better and more aggressively than Halifax does. So, its complicated.
PS: why don't you run to chair up the heritage committee? You'd do a better job than Pacey, Miller, Cameron, and the rest.
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  #160  
Old Posted Feb 16, 2014, 5:02 AM
pblaauw pblaauw is offline
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I'm not sure if I love or hate this proposal.

I love the individual buildings, but hate that they're all part of one proposal, instead of being built one after the other. Buildings that are part of a single proposal should fit with the other buildings.

And the overhang above the Merrill Lynch building distracts completely from the ML itself, which should never happen to a building like that, because I love it. Can you imagine if someone build something next to/over the Dominion Public Building, that completely distracted from THAT? Because that's my favourite building in the whole city.

And I wish Founders Square had something more public in it, because I love that too. It reminds me of the National Art Gallery, or something out of a Bond movie. (MI5 or whatever it's called.)
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