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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 10:31 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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[Halifax] 22nd Commerce Square | 85 & 85 M | 24 & 20 fl | On Hold

Since no one has started a thread for this one yet, I will start one.

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Originally Posted by Duff View Post
Yup, here are the pictures. Merrill Lynch building intact.

(all pictures from - http://bit.ly/1b9xDI3)











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Originally Posted by mcmcclassic View Post
That has got to be one of the worst looking proposals I've seen in awhile. Way too many things going on - and the Merrill Lynch building looks super out of place.
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
That's great that they've saved and worked around Merril Lynch (anything else would be unacceptable, especially considering how amazing the interior of the building is).

But the facade treatment of all the other (designated heritage) buildings is crap. No setback or anything. No way that should be allowed for the Champlain Building--take away the profile and you take away half the aesthetic value. An old wall stapled to a glass front--the most ridiculous facadism possible, and a direct contrast to the decent Sackville proposal. (This is basically what I'm afraid will happen to the Dennis Building. Take a brick wall and stick it in front of a sheer wall of glass and say you've "preserved" the building.)

Otherwise, the massing and everything else sucks. It's a super fugly design. Better than the proposal from years ago, but still way over-busy and weird looking, and not in a good way.
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Originally Posted by halifaxboyns View Post
It's way too busy...the different treatments really isn't that great. Some consistency and simplicity can go a long way!
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Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax View Post
I really like it. I like the contrasts and yet it is tied together by various materials. I also like how the 2 towers are joined, looks like a hole in the building, reminds me of Miami. There is so much to the design to make it very different than any other building in town.
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
I thought Brutalism went out of style in the 1970s?

Don't like it much.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 10:45 PM
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CTV story with video:

Major development project proposed for downtown Halifax

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If approved, it will be 500,000 square feet and will span an entire city block, bordered by Granville, George, Hollis and Duke streets.
Quote:
The new development would include a 96-suite boutique hotel, retail and office space, 88 condominiums and underground parking for 300 vehicles.
Read more: http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/major-dev...#ixzz2fqwYqboD
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 11:16 PM
beyeas beyeas is offline
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Just, wow. I went from feeling excited when I saw this thread to just sitting here with my jaw dropped at the sheer awkward version of brutalism. Even Skye had more redeeming features than this, and I am pretty this is the first proposed development in the city core that I have truly hated. Damn.
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 11:21 PM
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All I have to say is.... WOW...
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2013, 11:24 PM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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In my opinion, this proposal has a lot of potential. I think that it just needs to be tweaked.

After all, the TD tower expansion project by the same owner/developer looked bad in the initial design renderings (just remember its slanted glass roof and bland all-glass exterior). However, now most people seem to like the new TD tower design.

Regarding the 22nd Commerce Square proposal, I think the north facing tower looks very good. But the cantilevered southern tower with the slanted glass panes section is too much. Maybe they can remove the slanted glass detail, make the cantilevered section stand out less (for example, have an impressive column in one corner and do something with the sharp interior, underlying corner).

The cantilevered southern tower is in the foreground below:



However, even the cantilevered southern tower looks good from this view (in my opinion). I think the cantilevered section just looks too awkward.

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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 12:38 AM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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I'm torn on this proposal's current format.

On one hand, I find it beautiful. The colour and texture of the historical facades is present in the new towers:


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Originally Posted by Duff View Post

On the other hand, this is when the seizure starts:


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Originally Posted by Duff View Post



Regardless, this is still another investment in the city's core. Good for Halifax.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 1:37 AM
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Not a huge fan of the current design, but I could see it getting better with some tweaking. I don't like the accordion-like facade above George Street, for example.

The rendering is a little weird. The Champlain Building (Bluenose) is 6 storeys tall, not 4 storeys. I'd like to be able to assume that the full facade would of course be preserved but I am not so sure about that -- the Roy Building redevelopment actually calls for the brick lower portion on Barrington to be cut down by 1 floor for some reason.

Another little worry I have with this is that too many modernist buildings are being torn town. The Royal Bank building is far from perfect but once it's gone it's gone. The Bank of Canada building is going to be torn down too. I wish we'd see a little less redevelopment of large existing buildings and more infill on empty lots downtown.
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 1:39 AM
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There were some mention a few years ago about redevelopment of the whole area including RBC , BMO and TD which had some gorgeous renderings... IMO .

Anyone remember ? Anyone have some images of that ?

Not sure how I feel about these .... on the one hand they are very unique but as others have pointed out it is very busy. Could end up really cool or just god awful.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 2:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
Not a huge fan of the current design, but I could see it getting better with some tweaking. I don't like the accordion-like facade above George Street, for example.

The rendering is a little weird. The Champlain Building (Bluenose) is 6 storeys tall, not 4 storeys. I'd like to be able to assume that the full facade would of course be preserved but I am not so sure about that -- the Roy Building redevelopment actually calls for the brick lower portion on Barrington to be cut down by 1 floor for some reason.
Didn't even notice that, but you're right. Champlain is depicted as four storeys from all perspectives, and there's so much attention to detail in the renderings that I doubt it's a mistake.

Facadism is getting out of hand. A heritage designation essentially means the building has been deemed worth keeping around for one reason or another, and yet a lot of people basically treat a facade job as a "preservation" or even "restoration." When what it is, of course, is demolishing the building and appending its street-facing element to an entirely different building. And in this case, even cutting down the height of it, which is just insulting. Sometimes the it works, but it's just become the go-to technique, rather than re-use. (If they want to create a really interesting development, including the old buildings fully would add some variety in the built character, inside and out).

I'd probably feel differently if the new building were a masterpiece in its own right or something, but it's only kind of promisingly awkward, as others have discussed. So, no, can't really get too behind it right now. And the city isn't desperate for development the way it may have been even a few years ago, so... yeah. Definitely a lot of potential, but too disjointed right now, and a bit too much heritage being sacrificed.

Last edited by Drybrain; Sep 25, 2013 at 2:28 AM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 2:35 AM
IanWatson IanWatson is offline
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Gah, that accordion bit is heinous. I quite like everything above it though!

The overhang, while interesting from a technical perspective, really does a big disservice to the Merrill Lynch building and to heritage in general. Rather than showing heritage off as something that can be tastefully integrated into a living city, this overhang design treats it like it's some sort of gross inconvenience that needs to be awkwardly avoided.

This would be a very prominent development, so hopefully we see some significant tweaks before it gets built. I do have faith in Lydon Lynch.
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 2:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by resetcbu1 View Post
There were some mention a few years ago about redevelopment of the whole area including RBC , BMO and TD which had some gorgeous renderings... IMO .

Anyone remember ? Anyone have some images of that ?

Not sure how I feel about these .... on the one hand they are very unique but as others have pointed out it is very busy. Could end up really cool or just god awful.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/81832891@N04/9926614496

here is the picture!

[IMG][/IMG]

The TD Building is now a different proposal also. So this may not be the final design. It has merit, let's see what eventually happens.

Last edited by teddifax; Sep 25, 2013 at 3:08 AM.
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 2:56 AM
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I won't be surprised to see negativity, even a lot of it, about this proposal in other more conservative and traditionalist quarters, but I'm a little surprised by all the negativity here.

I think the design is certainly unusual, maybe even a little bizarre.

But then, it is also pretty creative and unique.

Indeed, some of the most famous and intriguing architecture in the world is not traditional, but is instead a little weird and different.

This building, as it stands, could easily see it on this List-- "New York's Top 10 Best New Buildings of the Decade":

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/1...the_decade.php

The slanted facade is a little much, and I think the accordion component should be toned down, but really, I think the design, with some tweaking, could be a real eye catcher.

It could be something that people literally travel to the downtown core to see, residents and tourists included.

Seriously, look at some of those award winning designs in NY and tell me again why there is so much facepalming here?

Can't we be a little different for a change?
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  #13  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 2:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanWatson View Post
Gah, that accordion bit is heinous. I quite like everything above it though!

The overhang, while interesting from a technical perspective, really does a big disservice to the Merrill Lynch building and to heritage in general. Rather than showing heritage off as something that can be tastefully integrated into a living city, this overhang design treats it like it's some sort of gross inconvenience that needs to be awkwardly avoided.

This would be a very prominent development, so hopefully we see some significant tweaks before it gets built. I do have faith in Lydon Lynch.
Disagree. I think the design actually allows for a really striking design-- with some impressive technical ingenuity as you say-- while also fully preserving the Merrill Lynch, just with some needed restoration. I like.

Last edited by counterfactual; Sep 25, 2013 at 3:14 AM.
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  #14  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 3:13 AM
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
Not a huge fan of the current design, but I could see it getting better with some tweaking. I don't like the accordion-like facade above George Street, for example.

The rendering is a little weird. The Champlain Building (Bluenose) is 6 storeys tall, not 4 storeys. I'd like to be able to assume that the full facade would of course be preserved but I am not so sure about that -- the Roy Building redevelopment actually calls for the brick lower portion on Barrington to be cut down by 1 floor for some reason.

Another little worry I have with this is that too many modernist buildings are being torn town. The Royal Bank building is far from perfect but once it's gone it's gone. The Bank of Canada building is going to be torn down too. I wish we'd see a little less redevelopment of large existing buildings and more infill on empty lots downtown.
I get the concern about the need for more infill, but that seems to be happening notwithstanding some of these other proposals.

Moreover, let's be honest-- there is a TONNE of vacant office space in these many modernist (ie mid 20th Century) buildings downtown, sitting there empty collecting dust. This is because the buildings are too old, and are not Class A office space. And there is even more vacant office space in older heritage buildings, which are low density, run down, and just not a place for new businesses to move. I think in a financial district like this, facadism *has* to be the way forward.

A good reason why many businesses are moving to suburban business parks, is that besides being cheaper rent, you actually have new buildings.

IBM/Blackberry, whoever, couldn't even choose to move downtown, because there simply isn't the new Class A office space to use. They have to go to Bedford instead.

I think this development will bring prestige and interest back to this area, and bring more businesses back downtown.

It's sort of like that you said about other residential parts of the peninsula... it's natural, over time, for low density housing to be replaced by more dense infill. I think it's natural over time for modernist buildings to be replaced by newer office spots. *shrug*
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  #15  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 3:15 AM
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Another thing I just noticed, it looks like this development will have a pedway with the new TD Building.
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  #16  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 3:31 AM
fenwick16 fenwick16 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
Not a huge fan of the current design, but I could see it getting better with some tweaking. I don't like the accordion-like facade above George Street, for example.

The rendering is a little weird. The Champlain Building (Bluenose) is 6 storeys tall, not 4 storeys. I'd like to be able to assume that the full facade would of course be preserved but I am not so sure about that -- the Roy Building redevelopment actually calls for the brick lower portion on Barrington to be cut down by 1 floor for some reason.
I agree that I would like to see the building design tweaked. I would also like to see more of the heritage buildings preserved.

Regarding the Champlain Building, I don't know anything about its history but it appears as though they have recreated the original 4 storey facade.

I checked the NS Archives and found the picture below and marked where this building is located. The small building directly adjacent to it (to the south, along Hollis) also still exists.
(source: http://gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/Rogers/album.asp?ID=62 )


Here is a Google Street View of how it currently appears - https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=5162+d...weHBTPxZIczDtg . The arches above the lower windows have been covered over and two storeys were added.

Last edited by fenwick16; Oct 1, 2013 at 2:00 AM.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 4:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by counterfactual View Post

This building, as it stands, could easily see it on this List-- "New York's Top 10 Best New Buildings of the Decade":

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2009/1...the_decade.php

It could be something that people literally travel to the downtown core to see, residents and tourists included.

Seriously, look at some of those award winning designs in NY and tell me again why there is so much facepalming here?

Can't we be a little different for a change?
I think the big difference with those buildings and this is that while operating with a lot of the same general design vocabulary, the Ny ones are, for lack of a better word, elegant. The derive a lot of their beauty through symmetry and relatively simple massing. The Lydon Lynch proposal (and I'm surprised, because they're normally so good) is too mish-mashy.

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And there is even more vacant office space in older heritage buildings, which are low density, run down, and just not a place for new businesses to move. I think in a financial district like this, facadism *has* to be the way forward.
There are lots of places where older buildings are being incoporated into larger developments as sort of boutique elements--seems like it would fit with this project with all its hotel/residential components.

I posted this before, but check this project in Toronto out. A full restoration of a run-down structure as boutique office space and business incubator. (Before and after photos here.) If they can find a way to use low-rise, run-down structure in the middle of Toronto's financial district, surely we can do better in Halifax with the relatively small (and not growing) but still strong heritage stock here. Indeed, the preservation of the Merrill Lynch building suggests that. Given how stunning it is inside, I can imagine it serving as a kind of gala/event space for all the fancy folks who'll be using the office/hotel/residential tower. I'm sure that those brick buildings on this site, especially, have some original features inside.

But thanks to whoever posted that old design. I know some people like it, but...yikes!
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  #18  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 6:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
I think the big difference with those buildings and this is that while operating with a lot of the same general design vocabulary, the Ny ones are, for lack of a better word, elegant. The derive a lot of their beauty through symmetry and relatively simple massing. The Lydon Lynch proposal (and I'm surprised, because they're normally so good) is too mish-mashy.
I agree, there is more symmetry with the NY ones, but nothing that cannot be be fixed in this proposal. Certainly, some aspects need to be toned down, things are a big mishy-mashy. But the unusual shape (wrapping, from above, the old bank) and incorporation of heritage facade all work for me.

I think you could have more symmetry, if the accordion part and some of the unbalanced angles on the windows and facade further up where toned town (or made more symmetrical).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
There are lots of places where older buildings are being incoporated into larger developments as sort of boutique elements--seems like it would fit with this project with all its hotel/residential components.

I posted this before, but check this project in Toronto out. A full restoration of a run-down structure as boutique office space and business incubator. (Before and after photos here.) If they can find a way to use low-rise, run-down structure in the middle of Toronto's financial district, surely we can do better in Halifax with the relatively small (and not growing) but still strong heritage stock here. Indeed, the preservation of the Merrill Lynch building suggests that. Given how stunning it is inside, I can imagine it serving as a kind of gala/event space for all the fancy folks who'll be using the office/hotel/residential tower. I'm sure that those brick buildings on this site, especially, have some original features inside.
I love this stuff, but I don't think some like that is possible in Halifax right now, as the economics just don't work.

In Toronto, you have the sky high property value and the intense levels of density, such that you can have a shorter restored heritage building and easily find high end tenants like "trendy" restaurants, specialty shops, or small but high yield business/finance outfits.

Those restaurants and specialty shops survive because surrounding the 7 storey restored heritage building on three sides are 28+ storey skyscrapers, and comparable levels of density a short walk or subway ride away.

In Halifax you don't have those kinds of options in clients, you don't have the density, and you don't have the property values.

I think eventually we will, but to get there, we need developments like this, to bring more high end businesses back downtown, bring prestige back to doing business in the core. Part of that, is working in an office that is the "talk of the town".
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  #19  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 6:12 AM
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That "accordion" bit has got to go, smooth that out and I think you've really got a very unique oppourtunity there with that cantilevered bit.. it reminds me of a stumpier version of Beetham Tower in Manchester.

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Old Posted Sep 25, 2013, 10:52 AM
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I think the accordian part adds an appearance of weight that anchors the rest of the building so it doesn't look like it will fall over.

Last edited by ILoveHalifax; Sep 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM.
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