The good, the bad, the ugly and the cheap: Critique today's condo architecture.

Discussion in 'Buildings, Architecture & Urban Design' started by urbandreamer, May 23, 2012.

  1. urbandreamer

    urbandreamer recession proof

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    Show me a cheap aA box. I want proof!

    Then I'll show you why BTS is cheap!
     
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  2. Red October

    Red October Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    I've seen 5 year olds with more creativity.
     
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  3. urbandreamer

    urbandreamer recession proof

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    I said, I want proof. That means a detailed "essay" with photos explaining why aA is "cheap." In a separate thread please in the appropriate forum. No more OT here from me. Let's start here
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  4. urbandreamer

    urbandreamer recession proof

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    Inspired by the folks in the Beyond the Sea thread (and elsewhere) threads, let's discuss what we're talking about when we say one architect or building massing is "cheap" while the other is so great! We all have different ideas of what makes for a great building, but it's often hard to understand why people think the way they do.

    This means using photographs, details of buildings, history of the architect and buildings by them to explain what you mean. Let's keep the examples local--ie no references to famous "big hair" starchitects etc.

    The desire: A mature, thoughtful, in depth discussion of the differences between good, bad and ugly architecture and why you believe so passionately that one project is better than the other.
     
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  5. Ramako

    Ramako Moderator

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    I think people often refer to a boxy design as being "cheap" not necessarily because it indicates lower quality of materials or attention to details, but because it is often seen as a method of maximizing floor space, and accordingly profits, in lieu of more interesting massings that may offer less overall floor space.
     
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  6. themarc

    themarc Senior Member

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    Actually if they really did design this as to not have balconies facing one another (internally between the towers) they have done a pretty good job...
     
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  7. ProjectEnd

    ProjectEnd Senior Member

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    What's your point? That aA's preliminary massing studies are better than most other firms' completed buildings?
     
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  8. Filip

    Filip Senior Member

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    That's your opinion. Public opinion on the matter is a whole different story. If only I get a nickel every time I hear a random couple commenting on another boring condo box going up downtown, I'd be a rich man.
     
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  9. Red October

    Red October Senior Member

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    Generally when I say a design is cheap, it's because absolutely no creativity or thought was put into it at all, and it seems to just attempt and maximize floor space/money gained from the building (aka 501 Yonge, 90 harbour, Casa 2, etc.). There's a difference between cheap design and cheap execution. For example, imagine Uptown if they actually had gone Deco with it, building it with stone and adding in actual decorative elements like the style it attempts to follow after does. 1 St. Thomas does this while Uptown does not, showing which one is "cheap" and which one is better. The cheap design examples I mentioned, however, could use the best glass in the world, and they still wouldn't be interesting.
     
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  10. Red October

    Red October Senior Member

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    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    Go back to playing with blocks in kindergarten.
     
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  11. ProjectEnd

    ProjectEnd Senior Member

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    A remarkably condescending retort from a member who goes crying to the mods every time he feels he's wronged, no?
     
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  12. urbandreamer

    urbandreamer recession proof

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    Does design go beyond the massing though? Is a building "cheap" when extreme attention to detail is put into the design of a box? Let's talk about the simple box--forget about the perceived max of profit--it is the developer you should blame not the architect. What is the difference between the simple box that is Casa 2 versus Waterways (both launched 2012 both similar massing)? (Although the balcony treatment is closer to the Gooderham, so you can compare it to that project if you wish.) What makes Casa bad and Waterways good from your point of view? Again get beyond the simple kindergarten massing and discuss the actual details--the way the glazing meets the slab, the spandrel & window details, the choice in materials, the way the building meets the street, the overall design cohesion. You are the architect--tell us why one is garbage and the other is superior?

    Think beyond massing--that is up to the developer's vision really--and discuss the "design."
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
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  13. Red October

    Red October Senior Member

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    Ha ha for the record I don't particularly like Waterways.

    I do like Casa 1, the thing I don't like about Casa 2 is the copy/paste design, I think for a condo people will be paying a lot of money for, more thought could have been put into a design than "Okay see that tower? Take that and put it here, now give me your money". It's things like that and how incredibly similar designs like 501 Yonge, Karma, 90 Harbour, etc. are that make me think Clewes is something of a one-trick pony, and the one trick isn't particularly interesting.

    Personally, if I'm spending money on a condo I like to think that at least some thought was put into the overall design of it. If I make a sh*t sculpture, it doesn't matter if the little detail of one part meeting another part at a particular corner is good or not, it's still a shit sculpture.
     
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  14. urbandreamer

    urbandreamer recession proof

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    What is the project's name? Right, Casa II. That implies it is a continuation of a series, correct? Thus a similiar design makes sense. It was Cresford that chose this design, not Clewes. aA & co sweated the details, the proportions, the window dressing as I call it. The building was marketed to Asian investors and it worked--nearly selling out in a day. It is what it is. So who in your opinion designs the best in this city given those limitations? G+C, P+S, ??? I think all architecture firms do the copy/paste thing here, thus it comes down to the finer details. Does it look like a bit of art was put into the design here--notice the pattern on the fritted balconies, the mechanical box up top--or is it the standard G+C treatment of green glass balconies with a cheesy concrete Mech "hat" up top that doesn't relate to the building's massing? (Like wearing a party hat to a funeral.)

    So given the realization that large towers in Toronto are marketed towards investors, and knowing the conservatism that reigns in the construction/building industry in the city, what would you do? Would you sweat the details or just go shopping at a big box shop for solutions?

    (A realistic comparison--when you buy bread, do you buy the cheapest pre-sliced white bread or do you buy something healthier and more artisan?)

    I think you should turn your attention to end user buildings in Toronto. Buildings like 138 St Helen's, Abacus Lofts, Nero, etc. Real Torontonians buy here, so maybe we should be talking more about these "sculptures?"

    One other factor may simply come down to taste. Some folks pay millions for a painting that is merely a white canvas with a single stroke of colour across it. Others think good art stop being produced after 1900. Maybe the aA artist is all about reducing lines to the simplest purest form?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
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  15. Red October

    Red October Senior Member

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    To be honest I don't really like Toronto architecture firms. I don't think many of them are creative at all, and yes many can be very cheap. I'd say if I had to choose out of the Toronto architecture firms I'd pick Rudy Wallman, Hariri Pontarini, and for the most part Diamond and Schmitt. IBI and aA (their creative designs) are hit an miss with me.

    Good point, there are some very good and well designed midrises in the city for sure.

    Also good point here, as I for one think most modern art is ridiculous, and can't see why anybody would buy something like what you just described over a Raphael, Rembrandt or even Monet.
     
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