Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmarks

Discussion in 'Buildings, Architecture & Urban Design' started by cdl42, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. cdl42

    cdl42 Guest

    Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmarks

    Maybe I was inspired by Adma or the recent ‘unintentional landmarks’ thread or maybe by the whole Psychogeography concept, but as I was thinking about Hamilton yesterday my mind wandered to the concept of “overly grandiose for its setting’ structures, landmarks, etc…

    One of the things that I love to look for when I travel to smaller cities are things from that past that extrude confidence towards a future that never came for that city. Sometimes things were overbuilt due to a belief in growth in the future for the city, sometimes things were appropriate for the city when they were built but the status of the city declined (not particularly the population, just the influence/status). I’m not talking about abandoned structures, just overbuilt ones. It doesn’t even have to be structures, it could even be things like overly wide streets.

    It is inherently difficult, if not impossible, for Toronto to be overly grandiose. As the centre of an urban region with over 5 million inhabitants and never experienced a real decline, Toronto is known for not being grand enough. Grand buildings like Old City Hall and Union Station are well utilized and fit in to the urban fabric. Even structures like the RC Harris filtration plant, although grandiose, are fully utilised and suitable for a large city.

    So the two factors are:
    1. Overbuilt due to a predicting growth that never came.
    2. Status and influence of the city has declined leaving things that now seem out of place.

    Some examples that I would think of are:
    - Buffalo City Hall. Now completely out of scale for the city it serves.
    - The Pigott Building in Hamilton
    - Leslie Street Spit. Built to create a second harbour to serve an increase in shipping traffic that never came.

    Can you think of any examples from cities and town in Ontario and the surrounding area?
    (Oh, and no Detroit examples please. There’s just too many to list for that city!)
     
    #1

  2. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Montreal has some of these. The Ville Marie, which is a sort of stub highway poking into downtown without really connecting anywhere in the east of the city. The Big O strikes me as one of these aspirational hangovers.

    The other city I can think of is Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia is a 20th century anomaly in that it is a cathedral that is taking decades to build in a decidedly non-religious era. Could it become the first cathedral converted to condos prior to its completion? They also have a huge Palace-looking-thing on Montjuic which looks to be from around 1800 but was actually built in 1929. When you realize the building is from that era, there's something so weird about it, and I find that it moves in my perception from being interesting to being a curiosity. (Although, the building is well used as an art museum, in fact, it's the architecture that seems silly and Grandiose).
     
    #2
  3. GeekyBoyTO

    GeekyBoyTO Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Another Montreal area example comes to mind - Mirabel.

    GB
     
    #3
  4. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Many of North America's rail stations. The old Hamilton CN station, the Buffalo Central Terminal, the Utica station, just as a few examples.
     
    #4
  5. simply Dan

    simply Dan Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Most Montreal Metro stations.
     
    #5
  6. Darkstar416

    Darkstar416 Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    The City of Hamilton and The City of Winnipeg.
     
    #6
  7. cdl42

    cdl42 Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    The north end of Winnipeg's CBD is an excellent example.
     
    #7
  8. elook

    elook Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Skydome comes to mind.

    CBC Broadcast Centre, although it seems more appropriately scaled the longer it's there.
     
    #8
  9. adma

    adma Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Spadina subway, in spite of itself...

    (Of course, there's also a few "obvious" coffee-table examples relative to a thread like this; y'know, North Toronto Station and that like.)

    And then there's also the matter of the original incarnation of York and not a few other 60s "boomer universities"...
     
    #9
  10. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    there's a master planned city in ontario, (i can't recall it's name or exact location, but i saw it in Ron Brown's "Ontario Ghost Towns vol. 2") and its basically a city that got aborted. they built a large and modern town hall, infrastructure, parks, landscaping, but then the expected private development never occurred, and the result is a town of a few hundred people that was designed with tens of thousands of people in mind

    i wish i could remember tha name of it, it was something that even sounded hopeful and optimistic, like Homestead or something. it was just north of hamilton i think
     
    #10
  11. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    ^i think you're talking about townsend.

    trillium townsend gallery

    i think ahsun could tell you more about it.
     
    #11
  12. dan e 1980

    dan e 1980 Guest

    Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    ^ so they built the place hoping the other town send but instead all they got was their own towns end.
     
    #12
  13. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Terminal Tower in Cleveland. Second tallest building in the world when built, and still a "what-the-hell" kind of building when you're in town. Love the building, but way, way, too much for the city it's in.
     
    #13
  14. Re: Overbuilt & Overly Grandoise Structures and Landmark

    Autoroute system in Quebec City. So many highways, never any traffic, and even highways that lead nowhere (literally, they terminate at the side of the hill the Old City lies on. The plan was a tunnel that would take them all the way under, but it never happened). Ill try to dig up some pictures today.
     
    #14
  15. elook

    elook Guest

    #15

Share This Page