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  #21  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 10:57 PM
Drybrain Drybrain is offline
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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...
As soon as I read this, I thought of one place in town where it'd be nice to see a project like that: 1343 (I think) Barrington

It's the one on the far right, with the 1960s-70s blank brick facade. Based on its neighbours and what's visible in the alleyway, it was obviously, at one point, similar to its next-door neighbour, until this unpleasantness was committed. Really uglies up the whole block.
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  #22  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
As soon as I read this, I thought of one place in town where it'd be nice to see a project like that: 1343 (I think) Barrington

It's the one on the far right, with the 1960s-70s blank brick facade. Based on its neighbours and what's visible in the alleyway, it was obviously, at one point, similar to its next-door neighbour, until this unpleasantness was committed. Really uglies up the whole block.
I've always wondered what the hell the person who came up with that was thinking. What a horrendous facade. Just judging from the rest of the building, what was there before was probably miles and miles better.
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  #23  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2012, 11:29 PM
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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...
Good on you Old Mark....!

- Yes this is a cheap horrible design.
- Yes a lot more can be done without breaking the bank.
- Yes developers have been blowing these types of buildings by everyone for the past ten years and passing them off as modern.
- Yes this design is faux modern.
- Yes Spring Garden deserves more.
- Yes we have no real Design Review Committee.
- Halifax doesn't have to do faux heritage, a real architect would look at surrounding buildings of significance, look at past buildings of significance and come up with a modern design that reflects the quality of the past but has a modern forward thinking appearance. A true building of Halifax which this is not.
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  #24  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Drybrain View Post
As soon as I read this, I thought of one place in town where it'd be nice to see a project like that: 1343 (I think) Barrington

It's the one on the far right, with the 1960s-70s blank brick facade. Based on its neighbours and what's visible in the alleyway, it was obviously, at one point, similar to its next-door neighbour, until this unpleasantness was committed. Really uglies up the whole block.
Yes, that is a terrible renovation. It appears to have been done back in the 1960's or sooner based on the design (this is just a guess). Here is the Bing Maps Bird's Eye View - http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=rf6...=b&form=LMLTCC. There appears to be an addition added on back as well.
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  #25  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 12:44 AM
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Ugh, that Bing Map also makes it really apparent what a dismal addition to the street the Salvation Army is as well. A big blank wall fronting Barrington. Thanks, 1960s. There's a lot crying out for redevelopment.
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  #26  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 3:43 AM
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I'd like to see what a restoration to the existing building could look like. It looks fugly right now but it's clad in vinyl I think, right? At least it has a *few* features of note, like the windows. The cheap and cheerful reno to the Atlantic Photo Supply across the road, in advance of it becoming a Roots, has made an ugly frontage become almost attractive.

I worry that if this new building goes up then in 15 years we'll be calling for it to be demolished in favor of something with more character and the Heritage society will dig out pictures of the current site from the 1940s showing 'what we used to have'.
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  #27  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 4:56 AM
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I agree that this proposal is a little bland, but I'm not sure what the criticisms are meant to accomplish. Is the suggestion that this shouldn't be built?

The reality is that this is a private development and this is the design presented. There might be some room for improvement, but nobody's proposing a showcase architectural project along the lines of multimillion dollar New York condos. And it's not really up to the public to demand exactly what should be done on this site.

My take on this is that cities improve gradually over time, and architecture evolves based on what's already been built. As long as nothing major is torn down and nothing terrible is built, it is better to encourage lots of construction to increase density and to create a more vibrant ecosystem of architecture and urban design that is likely to produce better designs in the future. The quality of new proposals in Halifax has already gone up dramatically since 2000 and it is likely to be better still in the next few years. Had we had a "perfect buildings or nothing" attitude in 2000, the downtown would likely just have a lot more parking lots. Criticism does not by itself cause better buildings to materialize.

Something else to keep in mind is that there really hasn't been much demolition along Spring Garden Road. This project will mark the second plain boxy wooden structure (sorry, but standard windows are not really exceptional architectural features) to be knocked down recently, but there are another half a dozen or so projects that have gone up on parking lots or on top of existing buildings. On balance this part of town is dramatically more successful now than it was back before the new construction. I remember when Spring Garden Road had a bunch of fast food places and developments like City Centre Atlantic were mostly vacant. In a few years it will be on a completely different level from all of that.
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  #28  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 5:00 AM
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This is where I hope the design review committee will look at this and have a similar stance...that it could be way better and make them try again (by refusing the permit). This is where I rather enjoy the discretionary process for permits here in Calgary; because ultimately if it's something that requires the Calgary Planning Commission to approve it - architects get scared of dealing with the commission and work hard to make things really good (but that's not always the case).
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  #29  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 5:05 AM
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This is where I hope the design review committee will look at this and have a similar stance...that it could be way better and make them try again (by refusing the permit).
If they do this though they should offer up specific constructive feedback and recommendations of which aspects of the design should be improved. The "I'll know it when I see it" approach is terrible, particularly when you're talking about a committee where everybody has a different idea of what they want and where it may not even be possible to satisfy all of them.

The DRC in Halifax has already set a very bad precedent of making "pot shot" type comments that have been parroted back by the media. I was pretty disappointed when I read their comments on the Bank of Canada proposal.
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  #30  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 4:14 PM
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There are many areas of the city where bland architecture is being accepted, the north end is rife with bad "modern architecture". If this is to change it will likely have to be done in high profile areas like Spring Garden Rd. This is one of the most prime commercial lots in HRM so to expect a bit more is not unreasonable. However, to build something that falls short of the goal of enhancing the Spring Garden Rd. area is shortsighted. There is the largest building boom in a generation underway in Halifax at the moment so there is no need to accept poor building design. IMO

The list is endless for poor design:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...85.09,,0,-22.5

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...86.01,,0,-22.5

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...12,343.69,,0,0

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...12,259.09,,0,0

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...12,348.91,,0,0
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  #31  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 4:23 PM
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  #32  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 4:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cormiermax View Post
Oh come on, you cant compare this to buildings with freaking vinyl siding!
The Winsbys building was a mess and vinyl siding should be banned. The push for better architecture for me comes from seeing buildings like the above list becoming the norm.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...bp=12,225,,0,0


The below link shows the type of building (exterior) we should strive for in the Spring Garden Rd. / downtown area. IMO
The architecture is not that extraordinary but it has a quality appeal. If you look at it closely, it is just brick and precast with many offsets.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/photos/p...ion-slideshow/
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Last edited by Empire; Dec 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM.
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  #33  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 5:44 PM
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The Winsbys building was a mess and vinyl siding should be banned. The push for better architecture for me comes from seeing buildings like the above list becoming the norm.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=halifax...bp=12,225,,0,0


The below link shows the type of building (exterior) we should strive for in the Spring Garden Rd. / downtown area. IMO
The architecture is not that extraordinary but it has a quality appeal. If you look at it closely, it is just brick and precast with many offsets.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/photos/p...ion-slideshow/
I think (hope?) that the bad buildings in that list represent the stuff built in the recent past—emphasis on past. A lot of the new proposals for the north end are a big leap ahead of these, so hopefully that's becoming the norm. And the Winsby's proposal, for all its blandness, is better than that stuff.

As far as that T.O. condo, it's pretty typical of the stuff that's being built in Yorkville in that city—with a fussy, older demographic, the neighbourhood doesn't tend to attract much modern design, instead insisting on stuff that hearkens to the past (while very obviously not being a part of it.) Most of the low-rise condos going up in Toronto are much more contemporary.
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  #34  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 5:51 PM
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The bottom half of that Toronto condo is pretty ugly.
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  #35  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 6:09 PM
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The bottom half of that Toronto condo is pretty ugly.
It does look a bit like Spring Garden Place....they could lose the buff colour brick too.
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  #36  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 6:15 PM
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I always thought the Hazelton was ugly.
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  #37  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 7:38 PM
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I agree that this proposal is a little bland, but I'm not sure what the criticisms are meant to accomplish. Is the suggestion that this shouldn't be built?

The reality is that this is a private development and this is the design presented. There might be some room for improvement, but nobody's proposing a showcase architectural project along the lines of multimillion dollar New York condos. And it's not really up to the public to demand exactly what should be done on this site.
- Yep, it's bland.
- Not meaning to accomplish anything, just express my opinion and hope that future proposals will be better.
- Not up to me to suggest whether it be built or not.
- Don't think anybody's expecting a showcase development, only hoping for a higher general standard of design.
- Nobody's demanding anything, again just expressing opinion and hoping for better.

Quote:
architecture evolves based on what's already been built
- Exactly. Create better designs and it will help improve the standards for future projects.

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  #38  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 10:43 PM
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The bottom half of that Toronto condo is pretty ugly.
I couldn't agree more.

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  #39  
Old Posted Dec 21, 2012, 2:34 AM
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It's a darn site more interesting than what's being proposed here though!
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  #40  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2012, 3:29 PM
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It's a darn site more interesting than what's being proposed here though!
Agreed. Spring Garden Road has a certain "vibe" to it and this rendering doesn't quite fit
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