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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 3:56 AM
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[Halifax] 1488 Birmingham - 5504 Spring Garden | 22 m | 7 fl | Completed

Rendering:


Source: thechronicleherald.ca

Name: 5504 Spring Garden Road
Height: ?m
Floors: 7 floors
Status: Proposed
Location: 5504 Spring Garden Road (at Birmingham Street)
Approval Date: N/A
Developer(s): Westwood Properties
Architect(s): Unknown
Uses: Residential + Ground Floor Commercial
Timeline:

2012.12.18 - Project Unveiled
2013.01.10 - Public Information Meeting
2013.??.?? - Projected Construction Date




$12-million condo-retail project planned
December 18, 2012 - 7:40pm BY REMO ZACCAGNA BUSINESS REPORTER

Quote:
If approved, Westwood would break ground at Spring Garden Road site in 2013

A new mixed-use development is set to sprout on Spring Garden Road in Halifax over the coming year.

Plans are being finalized for a $12-million, seven-storey retail and residential building at 5504 Spring Garden Rd.

Westwood Developments Ltd., headed by Danny Chedrawe, is creating the project.

...
(rzaccagna@herald.ca)

Read More: thechronicleherald.ca
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 4:02 AM
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Looks like a huge improvement for the street. When you factor in the Sister Sites, CCA, and TD building, it will be like night and day on this corner. The buildings will be nicer, there will be better retail spaces, and the population density will be much higher. The Sovereign Building next door will still give the block some character and this new building has some of its own architectural interest.
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 8:10 AM
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Am I miscounting, or are there only 5/6 stories in the rendering?
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  #4  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Oh great, another anonymous cube. Looks cheap and will start to look drab as soon as the materials start to weather.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 1:13 PM
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The architect is DRSA, same as the TD building across the street and the new residence at Dal on LeMarchant Street.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 2:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nifta View Post
Oh great, another anonymous cube. Looks cheap and will start to look drab as soon as the materials start to weather.
Much of it is glass.

Do you at least think it's an improvement over what's currently there? I think this proposal is decent.

And as far as this being a cube: This is to be excepted, since the viewplane under which this site exists means the developer hasn't much room, and will attempt to fill most of the available envelope in order to make this investment worthwhile.

It is an imperfect cube; the first floor and the roof add a bit of dimensional differences.
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 4:06 PM
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Main problem with the TD building, and probably this one too, is how impermeable and boring it is at street level.

I've always liked the older building next door because of all the little storefronts it provides. Same with Cornwallis House next to TD. Hopefully this proposal isn't just another wall of glass.
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nifta View Post
Oh great, another anonymous cube. Looks cheap and will start to look drab as soon as the materials start to weather.
I was REALLY skeptical about this project, since Westwood/Chedrawe have a really poor portfolio (I don't really like the TD building, and I've piped up a lot about how super-awful it'd be if the BMO building, with Rogue's Roost, etc, was to be torn down for another of his planned projects, along with the Victorian storefronts on that block.)

But this is way better than I thought it'd be. As far as cubes go, it's got some interest (really, the Sovereign Building is just a cube too, with detailing). I think I'd prefer if the (wood? brick? whatever's on the top three floors) extended down to the second floor, and the long horizontal windows up top are a bit odd, but I was imagining something much worse. Materials and maybe a design review will make or break it, but the starting point is decent, at least.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 5:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phalanx View Post
Am I miscounting, or are there only 5/6 stories in the rendering?
The rendering seems to want to give the impression that the building won't be (visually) taller than the Sovereign one next door, which is only four stories. I hope we won't end up with sunken floors and other tricks to squeeze as many floors as possible into the vertical space available.
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 5:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nifta View Post
Oh great, another anonymous cube. Looks cheap and will start to look drab as soon as the materials start to weather.
I have to agree. It looks cold. Like a government building.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 5:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nifta View Post
Oh great, another anonymous cube. Looks cheap and will start to look drab as soon as the materials start to weather.
Its an interesting design and good infill, the materials look high quality. I don't understand what your talking about.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 8:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cormiermax View Post
Its an interesting design and good infill, the materials look high quality. I don't understand what your talking about.

It's all about opinions and taste, and in this case I have to agree with Nifta and opine that to me it appears to be an unimaginative design, a cube with a combination of glass and textured surfaces, but no real visual interest.

Sure it will be new, and will look at least as good as what it is replacing. I am just disappointed that for a prominent street such as Spring Garden Rd, a little more effort should have been exerted to give the streetscape some variety.

For my tastes, I think that a general cube shape doesn't have to boring and I'd like to see something more along the lines of this house design:

http://www.topboxdesign.com/new-hous...am-architects/



There are probably a million-and-one reasons to not do something this way (with cost probably topping the list), but it is presented to illustrate that there are ways to fill a cube that can be so much more interesting from a visual standpoint.

Just my opinion, of course.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:03 PM
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Looks like you want faux heritage, which almost always turns out horrible specially in Halifax.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cormiermax View Post
Looks like you want faux heritage, which almost always turns out horrible specially in Halifax.
It almost always turns out terribly everywhere, really (though a look through this architect's portfolio IS pretty impressive. He seems to be the master of this stuff.)

If we want a city full of neo-classical, Victorian, and Georgian buildings, well, we still have a decent stock of that stuff. Let's just not demolish any more of it. As for new structures, we just need to demand excellence from contemporary designs.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
It almost always turns out terribly everywhere, really (though a look through this architect's portfolio IS pretty impressive. He seems to be the master of this stuff.)

If we want a city full of neo-classical, Victorian, and Georgian buildings, well, we still have a decent stock of that stuff. Let's just not demolish any more of it. As for new structures, we just need to demand excellence from contemporary designs.
It is POSSIBLE to recreate historic buildings with some amount of quality, they do it all over Europe where WWII devastated some of the historic districts, and they have done it in Quebec City with some success, but designing something to look old out of the blue with an tight budget will usually just produce a ugly cheap soulless clearly fake looking building. Architects for the most part just can't do it anymore and modern materials wont allow it to be done properly.
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cormiermax View Post
Looks like you want faux heritage, which almost always turns out horrible specially in Halifax.
I find it interesting that a design such as this would be considered faux anything.

Good design is good design regardless of the era. Using design cues of the past should be as valid as anything current with attractiveness being the major goal (subjective, yes). To me, "faux" indicates that it is trying to imitate or be passed off as an original, which it wouldn't be.

The point of my post was that there are many ways to fill a cube without looking like a cube, and the example I gave was just one of them. The submitted design leaves so much to be desired (IMHO) that just about anything else with a little bit of character to the design would surpass it.

How about:
http://www.thestar.com/travel/northa...es-to-new-york



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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I find it interesting that a design such as this would be considered faux anything.

Good design is good design regardless of the era. Using design cues of the past should be as valid as anything current with attractiveness being the major goal (subjective, yes). To me, "faux" indicates that it is trying to imitate or be passed off as an original, which it wouldn't be.

The point of my post was that there are many ways to fill a cube without looking like a cube, and the example I gave was just one of them. The submitted design leaves so much to be desired (IMHO) that just about anything else with a little bit of character to the design would surpass it.

How about:
http://www.thestar.com/travel/northa...es-to-new-york



Trying to recreate a style means its faux, we can't do Georgian or Victorian properly anymore without spending obscene amounts of money. The best thing developers and architects can do is design and build contemporary, elegant simple structures. Some might find them boring, but the time of ultra ornate stone buildings is long dead.

As for your modern example, yes something radical like that would be nice, but you need to factor in cost and return. It would not make sense to build something radical and expensive like that in such a small space in a city the size of Halifax.
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  #18  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cormiermax View Post
Trying to recreate a style means its faux, we can't do Georgian or Victorian properly anymore without spending obscene amounts of money. The best thing developers and architects can do is design and build contemporary, elegant simple structures. Some might find them boring, but the time of ultra ornate stone buildings is long dead.

As for your modern example, yes something radical like that would be nice, but you need to factor in cost and return. It would not make sense to build something radical and expensive like that in such a small space in a city the size of Halifax.
Again, to restate the point of my post, imagination shouldn't cost obscene amounts of money - a skilful architect should be able to add visual interest on a budget.

And also again, this is only my opinion. The rest of the city might think that this proposal is a beautiful design and so be it if they do... I don't expect everybody to agree with my ideas.

FWIW, I did originally say that it won't be any worse than what is there at the moment, but just that Spring Garden Road deserves better than this proposal as one of Halifax's busiest and most influential downtown streets. If we want to take it up to the next level as the centre of fashionable shopping in the city, then we need to excel beyond the status quo.

Or, we could just marinate in our complacency and build glass boxes...
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 9:59 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Again, to restate the point of my post, imagination shouldn't cost obscene amounts of money - a skilful architect should be able to add visual interest on a budget.

And also again, this is only my opinion. The rest of the city might think that this proposal is a beautiful design and so be it if they do... I don't expect everybody to agree with my ideas.

FWIW, I did originally say that it won't be any worse than what is there at the moment, but just that Spring Garden Road deserves better than this proposal as one of Halifax's busiest and most influential downtown streets. If we want to take it up to the next level as the centre of fashionable shopping in the city, then we need to excel beyond the status quo.

Or, we could just marinate in our complacency and build glass boxes...
This isn't a public project, a developer isn't going to throw millions of dollars at a project just to make an iconic design in a place where it isn't worth the investment. I think we're lucky that they're building a decent looking building with decent materials, we could be getting far worse.

I can understand where your coming from though, don't get me wrong. The design could be better, but when you take cost and return into consideration it becomes understandable why this isn't a completely breathtaking design. At some point, we might see some of those as Halifax grows, but for now in similar situations we shouldn't expect much more than this.
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Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 10:18 PM
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Count me in the 'bland design' camp, for what it's worth. As others have pointed out, creative =/= expensive. You can have visual appeal without breaking the bank. This... is just another box. Better than what's there? Sure. Better than what could be there? Not a chance.
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