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  #61  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 5:59 AM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
Although I think using the word "monstrosity" is engaging in hyperbole, I would personally agree with those views. I think the site needs something much taller and that it's a bit silly that the birthplace of Canada's largest bank has the second-smallest Halifax footprint of the major 5 (Scotiabank, the other bank that solely came out of NS -- since CIBC came through the merger of two NS and Ontario banks -- has an even smaller one).

But the design for this is just not doing it for me. The windows aren't my favorite, but it's really the awkward shape in its efforts to work around the BOC building.

If Halifax were 2-3 times its current size, maybe I wouldn't care: then maybe there's be enough presence to try something this different and new, and see if it worked out. But Halifax's financial core, such as it is, is very small. It consists of, essentially, 5 very visible towers. The TD tower expansion is exactly what's needed and I'm all for that. And I'm all for making what we can out of the RBC tower. But we really need to get it right, and not be left with something everyone regrets for decades.

I'd rather they make something brighter, taller than any of the adjacent towers, and more consistent with the RBC style of gold and blue. If they really want to build something "on top" if the BOC, better they attach it somehow then have an awkward-looking shadowy overhang that I'm not really sure is going to work.
Again, I don't disagree with the idea of having impressive buildings for the origins of some of the country's biggest banks. But the reality is that not only do we dislike new and different in Halifax, we also don't like tall. We have the height limits in HRMxD and that is that.

So, if we're not going to see some legitimate skyscrapers literally scraping the clouds, then we may as well do something new or interesting with the height spacing we do have. I actually think that once this development is done, having it take up basically two blocks will make it a pretty impressive building.

I'm no fan of the accordion either-- it makes the design too busy. But I actually think the cantilever design with the overhang as the most intriguing part of the design. It really is unique. We have one other cantilever design in the city-- the new library-- and that is much different design and context. I like the daring mix of architectural styles and the ambitiousness of incorporating solar paneling, but that needs work. I think it'll provide a very nice contrast with the more modernist designs surrounding it. Do we really need just another tower of glass and steel?

In fact, I'd rather have something that has enough of a "wow" factor that it makes half the city disclaim it a "monstrosity" and the other half think it's a daring piece of interesting design-- like this proposal-- than another glass building, with nothing new to offer.

After all, here's a famous angry letter, then written and signed by local artists in opposition to a little proposed development you may have heard of:

Quote:
“We protest with all our strength the useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is without doubt the dishonour of Paris. Everyone feels it, everyone says it, everyone is profoundly saddened by it.”
Link: http://listverse.com/2010/10/21/10-n...-people-hated/

"useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower". After it was built, it became a hit, and tens of thousands flock to its platforms every year.

Now, I'm not saying this proposal the Eiffel Tower. Rather, just to have some perspective about the typical Halifax anti-everything squad, at least when it comes to proposals that stand out.
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  #62  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 7:32 PM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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I dunno, I can't say I'd really be excited to see this get built. Hopefully the current RBC building does get replaced but I'm really struggling to like this design. I have no problem with "new and daring" per se, but I'm also not a fan of new and daring just for its own sake. I don't really like this proposal, and I really don't like the overhang. I don't hate this enough to speak out against it at a public hearing, but I definitely don't like it enough to speak in favour either. There are basically an equal number of things I like and strongly dislike about it.
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  #63  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 7:32 PM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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Originally Posted by RyeJay View Post
Hahaha, I wish! Although...Frank Gehry might want something over 60 storeys.
Aren't most of his most famous designs ~10 storeys or less?
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  #64  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 7:52 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
Aren't most of his most famous designs ~10 storeys or less?
Really?! Well there's hope for Halifax yet

Yes, from what I've browsed, most of his work doesn't exist in the form of highrises. You are correct.
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  #65  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 9:07 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
Aren't most of his most famous designs ~10 storeys or less?
True, but lately he's been building/proposing some truly awe-some sky scrapers.

The Spruce Street building in NYC: 76 storeys (2011).

Mirvish towers Toronto: 80+ storey proposal
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  #66  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 9:09 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by RyeJay View Post
Really?! Well there's hope for Halifax yet

Yes, from what I've browsed, most of his work doesn't exist in the form of highrises. You are correct.
Gehry is probably the world's most famous living architecture for sure.

But I wonder, how many of these would get approved to be built in Halifax?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...by_Frank_Gehry
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  #67  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 9:24 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
I dunno, I can't say I'd really be excited to see this get built. Hopefully the current RBC building does get replaced but I'm really struggling to like this design. I have no problem with "new and daring" per se, but I'm also not a fan of new and daring just for its own sake. I don't really like this proposal, and I really don't like the overhang. I don't hate this enough to speak out against it at a public hearing, but I definitely don't like it enough to speak in favour either. There are basically an equal number of things I like and strongly dislike about it.
Hali, is your issue with the overhang the fact that it's "avoiding" the Commerce Bank building? Or you're just not into the cantilever in this particular design?

My reason for liking the cantilever is that style of avoidance-- it creates an unusual kind of visual effect, almost deconstructive, as if the new building is twisted around the old. Perhaps it would look even better, if the new building were wholly metal and glass and it twisted up around the old building, creating the same visual effect.

I wouldn't be adverse to turfing the cantilever (even though I like it-- think it's unique for Halifax and creates an unusual) if it ended up looking something like this, with the Commerce Bank incorporated into design, with the glass tower+ solar paneling stretching up from the ground level:

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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 10:06 PM
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I definitely think there is a cognitive bias against new stuff that just about everybody shares. It makes sense therefore to always push a little with new designs -- there can't be any architectural progress without a little discomfort, even if people end up liking the buildings in retrospect.

With this one I'm hoping we'll see a couple rounds of improvements and maybe some variations on this design. I like that it's not just a glass box, and to be honest I don't think it can really be that bad unless heritage buildings are torn down or unless there's something structurally/functionally wrong (e.g. it falls over). The accordion is hopefully not a life or death structural element.
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  #69  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 11:01 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Hali, is your issue with the overhang the fact that it's "avoiding" the Commerce Bank building? Or you're just not into the cantilever in this particular design?

My reason for liking the cantilever is that style of avoidance-- it creates an unusual kind of visual effect, almost deconstructive, as if the new building is twisted around the old. Perhaps it would look even better, if the new building were wholly metal and glass and it twisted up around the old building, creating the same visual effect.

I wouldn't be adverse to turfing the cantilever (even though I like it-- think it's unique for Halifax and creates an unusual) if it ended up looking something like this, with the Commerce Bank incorporated into design, with the glass tower+ solar paneling stretching up from the ground level:



If I may also respond this post of yours, which is addressed to Hali....

The George Street tower avoids the Commerce Bank too rigidly, because the box form is too similar to the CB. The new proposal further competes with the CB by being the same colour, virtually. This tetris design overpowers the heritage building we are trying to protect.

If the framework is to remain the same, then yes, as you've mentioned in your post, metal and glass would be an improvement in terms of colour contrast.
Instead of "avoiding" the bank, maybe the proposal could subtly (or not so subtly) 'curve' around it? The new tower could in some variation be the CB's physical echo. The proposal should be taking inspiration from this heritage bank if they are to harmonise. Right now there's too much confusion.

There seems to be a sense on this forum that not committing the CB to facadism is a good thing. If it results in the proposal remaining the same -- does this change anyone's opinion?

If something akin to the Bow Tower in Calgary were much, much smaller....how would that look in this space as it encapsulates the Commerce Bank? Regardless of my contemplation, I somehow doubt the developer would want to sacrifice that much space in order to dance around heritage property.... even though I think it could look alright.

Something radical: Design a building that's modelled after the wave on the waterfront.
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  #70  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2013, 11:25 PM
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Something radical: Design a building that's modelled after the wave on the waterfront.
It could be a 20 storey tall wave with no rails and a ladder up to the top for all the unsupervised kiddies.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 2:13 AM
Hali87 Hali87 is offline
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Originally Posted by RyeJay View Post
The George Street tower avoids the Commerce Bank too rigidly, because the box form is too similar to the CB. The new proposal further competes with the CB by being the same colour, virtually. This tetris design overpowers the heritage building we are trying to protect.
Yeah the cantilever is probably my least favourite part of the design, and mostly because of the awkward way it interacts with the Bank of Commerce. Also not a fan of the poor incorporation of the other buildings' facades.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 4:20 AM
Nilan8888 Nilan8888 is offline
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Again, I don't disagree with the idea of having impressive buildings for the origins of some of the country's biggest banks. But the reality is that not only do we dislike new and different in Halifax, we also don't like tall. We have the height limits in HRMxD and that is that.

So, if we're not going to see some legitimate skyscrapers literally scraping the clouds, then we may as well do something new or interesting with the height spacing we do have. I actually think that once this development is done, having it take up basically two blocks will make it a pretty impressive building.

I'm no fan of the accordion either-- it makes the design too busy. But I actually think the cantilever design with the overhang as the most intriguing part of the design. It really is unique. We have one other cantilever design in the city-- the new library-- and that is much different design and context. I like the daring mix of architectural styles and the ambitiousness of incorporating solar paneling, but that needs work. I think it'll provide a very nice contrast with the more modernist designs surrounding it. Do we really need just another tower of glass and steel?

My thinking is that, looking at the current design, what is the first, gut reaction. For this it seems to have been negative. Or rather, negative concerning the south tower. I think the North Tower is totally fine, of course.

It's not that cantilever design is bad -- it works great on the library -- it's that here it looks just obvious and awkward. It conveys the message "we totally would have built something more symmetrical, but this other building was in the way".

I'm certainly open to design improvements. But if so many people's first gut reaction to this is negative, dollars to doughnuts that's what most people's reaction is going to be. And most are not going to say "wow, what a bold, daring design", they're more like to say, "wow, that looks really different... and rediculous."

It'll stick out in people's memory, but for the wrong reasons.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 10:22 AM
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It could be a 20 storey tall wave with no rails and a ladder up to the top for all the unsupervised kiddies.
But think of the children!

My only issue with the cantilever is its like we get one tower... instead of 2. Otherwise, if it wasn't Halifax, I'd really like it because it creates this unique split personality of "one building".
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 1:15 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
My thinking is that, looking at the current design, what is the first, gut reaction. For this it seems to have been negative. Or rather, negative concerning the south tower. I think the North Tower is totally fine, of course.

It's not that cantilever design is bad -- it works great on the library -- it's that here it looks just obvious and awkward. It conveys the message "we totally would have built something more symmetrical, but this other building was in the way".

I'm certainly open to design improvements. But if so many people's first gut reaction to this is negative, dollars to doughnuts that's what most people's reaction is going to be. And most are not going to say "wow, what a bold, daring design", they're more like to say, "wow, that looks really different... and rediculous."

It'll stick out in people's memory, but for the wrong reasons.

Yes! Perfect. What I've bolded in your post, I think, is a great observation of how the south tower treats its heritage neighbour. I completely agree.

And in my opinion, the north tower looks great!
But for the George Street tower: with every angle, every colour, every structural decision made for this building, it must be made in order to ultimately showcase the tiny bank -- and if the developer is creative and ambitious, some interesting ideas should be brought forth. I'm hoping for this.

If not: then merge the BOC into the south tower's structure, and we'll end up with something more similar to how the heritage façades appear at the base of the north tower.

I too am seeking that "wow!" factor. I just don't want it to become a "wtf?..." factor -- an embarrassment not just for the new architecture we're building, but for how we preserve and develop around our older stock of distinguished buildings.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 2:17 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Yeah the cantilever is probably my least favourite part of the design, and mostly because of the awkward way it interacts with the Bank of Commerce. Also not a fan of the poor incorporation of the other buildings' facades.

So you like my wave idea.

If I could be serious for a moment, what would the proposal have to do in order for you to pivot your opinion to one of support? Does the cantilever have to get much closer to the old bank, in terms of proximity, or should the developer just get rid of the overhang completely -- let the BOC be as it no longer has a cliff hanging over it -- and build a south tower of a mass that is comparable to what the old TD Centre had?
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 7:24 PM
Nilan8888 Nilan8888 is offline
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Yes! Perfect. What I've bolded in your post, I think, is a great observation of how the south tower treats its heritage neighbour. I completely agree.

And in my opinion, the north tower looks great!
But for the George Street tower: with every angle, every colour, every structural decision made for this building, it must be made in order to ultimately showcase the tiny bank -- and if the developer is creative and ambitious, some interesting ideas should be brought forth. I'm hoping for this.
Thank you, RyeJay.

Hopefully the will be a couple more drafts of the design to address the south tower. Actually, it's too bad there's no talk about re-developing the empty lot on Barrington just across the road from the TD center.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 8:16 PM
RyeJay RyeJay is offline
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Thank you, RyeJay.

Hopefully the will be a couple more drafts of the design to address the south tower. Actually, it's too bad there's no talk about re-developing the empty lot on Barrington just across the road from the TD center.

Across the street from the TD Centre is...government owned, I believe?
And when it finally does get redeveloped the maximum allowable height is 28 metres. I would hope the adjacent string of heritage buildings would be included in any redevelopment effort.

We may get a larger version of Espace.
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  #78  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 9:44 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Across the street from the TD Centre is...government owned, I believe?
And when it finally does get redeveloped the maximum allowable height is 28 metres. I would hope the adjacent string of heritage buildings would be included in any redevelopment effort.

We may get a larger version of Espace.
Sigh. What level of government? Province, I'm guessing?

Seriously, how many ugly, crappy, dilapidated, abandoned lots are still owned by various levels of government downtown? And how did we not rage before at bureaucrats/politicians to get off their sorry lazy butts to sell these plots for the benefit of downtown and, most importantly, citizens?

And most importantly, why isn't that parcel of land on the block *today*? Seriously. Why? Am I missing something? Is it just a matter of the relevant government official getting around to doing the paper work?

Last edited by counterfactual; Jan 1, 2014 at 10:16 PM.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 9:48 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by Nilan8888 View Post
My thinking is that, looking at the current design, what is the first, gut reaction. For this it seems to have been negative. Or rather, negative concerning the south tower. I think the North Tower is totally fine, of course.

It's not that cantilever design is bad -- it works great on the library -- it's that here it looks just obvious and awkward. It conveys the message "we totally would have built something more symmetrical, but this other building was in the way".

I'm certainly open to design improvements. But if so many people's first gut reaction to this is negative, dollars to doughnuts that's what most people's reaction is going to be. And most are not going to say "wow, what a bold, daring design", they're more like to say, "wow, that looks really different... and rediculous."

It'll stick out in people's memory, but for the wrong reasons.
But here is the challenge. I'm not sure if you've been, but the inside of the Commerce Bank building is beautiful. And, structurally, I don't think you can incorporate it very easily into the foundation of a tower without gutting it and making this just another boring example of facadism.

The benefits of the current design, is that you preserve the building in total, but you also get the benefits of an unique design. Perhaps if the cantilever overhang interacts a little differently with the building. More thoughts on this in my post below.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2014, 10:10 PM
counterfactual counterfactual is offline
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Originally Posted by RyeJay View Post
If I may also respond this post of yours, which is addressed to Hali....

The George Street tower avoids the Commerce Bank too rigidly, because the box form is too similar to the CB. The new proposal further competes with the CB by being the same colour, virtually. This tetris design overpowers the heritage building we are trying to protect.

If the framework is to remain the same, then yes, as you've mentioned in your post, metal and glass would be an improvement in terms of colour contrast.
Instead of "avoiding" the bank, maybe the proposal could subtly (or not so subtly) 'curve' around it? The new tower could in some variation be the CB's physical echo. The proposal should be taking inspiration from this heritage bank if they are to harmonise. Right now there's too much confusion.

There seems to be a sense on this forum that not committing the CB to facadism is a good thing. If it results in the proposal remaining the same -- does this change anyone's opinion?

If something akin to the Bow Tower in Calgary were much, much smaller....how would that look in this space as it encapsulates the Commerce Bank? Regardless of my contemplation, I somehow doubt the developer would want to sacrifice that much space in order to dance around heritage property.... even though I think it could look alright.

Something radical: Design a building that's modelled after the wave on the waterfront.
Thanks for the post, Rye.

I like the Bow Tower, though at times, it reminds me a bit of Toronto City Hall, which I'm not much of a fan of.

I've been trying to find some kind of design or building wherein you have a cantilever design that incorporates some kind of heritage, where the interaction is less avoidance and more integrated.

As I said above, I suspect, structurally, it's just very difficult to incorporate a heritage building in the base of a tower/larger structure without gutting it and turning it into simple facadism. I want to retain the Commerce Bank in full.

I also haven't found a cantilever design that has a more deconstructive design-- ie, it twists a bit in the overhang, rather than the "tetris" look of this building. Again, not much out there.

Here is the best I could find, which is a "suspended" design (not cantilever) building in Adelaide, Australia:



What do you guys think of this? A more uniform design. It's not bad, but not a fan of the pillars. Prefer cantilever.

Last edited by counterfactual; Jan 1, 2014 at 10:36 PM.
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