Will Today's Condos be Around 150 Years From Now?

Discussion in 'Buildings, Architecture & Urban Design' started by hawc, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. hawc

    hawc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,695
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Regent Park
    First off, let me say, like most of you on this site, I'm a big fan of condos. I live in one and I'm very excited about all the new developments going up in the city.

    However, reading through the Toronto Then & Now thread on this forum, I started thinking, I wonder if the condos we love will stand the test of time - both from a purely physical standpoint (are they engineered to stand for 150 years) and from an aesthetic perspective (will they be considered important historical building worth preserving 150 years from now?)

    I pick 150 years out of the air, it could be 100 years it could be 200 years or more. But when you look at the 150 year old buildings currently standing in Toronto that are historically significant and worth saving - will condos be among these in another 150 years?

    Are condos even meant to be permanent? Or is it unfair to expect condos to be a historically significant building like other buildings we love?

    Anyway, love to hear some opinions.
     
    #1

  2. Mississauga Slim

    Mississauga Slim Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    ^^I think this is for the Buildings, Architecture, and Urban Design forum.
     
    #2
  3. Mississauga Slim

    Mississauga Slim Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    And my view on this is that, from an engineering standpoint, they will definitely last that long if well maintained. From the historical significance perspective they will be of no consequence whatever. In this town 50 years is the critical mark. From the time anything is built until its 50th anniversary, the decision as to whether it stays or whether it goes is based on purely utilitarian considerations like "can we get better value per square foot if we just tear it down and rebuild?" After that period has passed, there may be some room for preservation arguments based on aesthetics or historical significance.

    So, I think the condos will stay for a long time. Although their historical/cultural value will be mostly nil, they are just too big and profitable to take down. No more practical use for the land they occupy is likely to emerge.
     
    #3
  4. neubilder

    neubilder Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    1,039
    Likes Received:
    0
    That sounds like Toronto alright
     
    #4
  5. maestro

    maestro Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    3,060
    Likes Received:
    3
    The ownership structure makes redevelopment a long, expensive ordeal. It's certainly not profitability. There are condo buildings that are in horrendous condition .. as bad or worse than any TCHC building ... with no cash to do these necessary repairs without special assessments. You often find family sized units in these building selling for around 100 grand and one bedrooms for 60 grand. Rules have changed to make these situation unlikely with the newer buildings though.
     
    #5
  6. TrickyRicky

    TrickyRicky Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,818
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the shells of many buildings will exist but the facade and interiors will not survive that time-frame.

    In a more generational time scale I think there are real questions about how well these buildings and the ownership organizations that make the decisions will adapt and survive. History suggests that most of these buildings will depreciate in value and quality over time and that they will be of limited use for adaptive resuse.

    I think these questions of the occupation and management are of far more importance than question of the physical state of repair or durability of the structure itself.
     
    #6
  7. BobBob

    BobBob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    0
    The management needs to be agile enough to be able to react, over time, to challenges as they arise, to adapt the building to new situations, etc. Nothing inherently problematic with that, I think: cities like Paris are filled with private apartment buildings 150+ years old which are also some of the most desirable properties in the best locations.
     
    #7
  8. Mapleson

    Mapleson Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North York
    The big question is if global populations will peak in the next 50 years or not. If we peak, then many of the oldest high-density buildings probably will be torn down and smaller mixed-used buildings replace them. If we don't peak, then we might happen to go the other way and build bigger.

    100-200 years in the future is enough time for a techological breakthrough or fundamental shift. Who would have believed 50 years ago that Detroit would become a city in decline?

    After 50 years, the cost of maintenance goes way up with retrofits like new piping, new wiring, and changes to the Building Code. Our Condos are designed to last, they are meant to earn money in a rich person's lifetime.
     
    #8
  9. hawc

    hawc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,695
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Regent Park
    I'd wagering that 50 years from now the suburbs will be the new 'Detroit' in that we'll see people flooding back into the cities as gas becomes more and more expensive. I think if you want to see what Toronto will be 50 years from now just look at what London, Tokyo, NYC are like now (from a desinfication perspective not cultural.)
     
    #9
  10. Urban Shocker

    Urban Shocker Doyenne

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    8,465
    Likes Received:
    0
    Beautiful and well designed buildings are always worth keeping, but whether the best of our new condos will be preserved for future generations to marvel at is another matter. It would be nice to think that Casa and Spire will be around in 2150 but who can tell? After all, of Sir Christopher Wren's 51 London churches, built after the Great Fire of 1666, only 12 survive substantially unchanged. The Victorians, for instance, demolished over a dozen, and German bombs destroyed 7 in The Blitz ...
     
    #10
  11. hawc

    hawc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,695
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Regent Park
    I'm curious how you would even demolish a 50+ story building?! I mean you probably couldn't use explosive demolition if it were in the city core? And it would take forever to chip away at all that reinforced concrete? Has a huge high-rise 50+ stories ever been torn down in a downtown core?
     
    #11
  12. Mississauga Slim

    Mississauga Slim Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's the thing. That, plus the complex ownership structure that maestro alluded to. These things aren't going anywhere for a long time!
     
    #12
  13. adma

    adma Superstar

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Messages:
    14,635
    Likes Received:
    3
    *ahem* 9/11 *ahem*

    And right next door to all of that, 47 storeys
     
    #13
  14. junctionist

    junctionist Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    6,771
    Likes Received:
    6
    Really? Many condos have architectural merits. Even if they don't, recladding will present new opportunities for design. Most condos now also feature some artwork which will definitely be of cultural value. Some also have landscaping and gardens by the country's most talented professionals like Claude Cormier and Janet Rosenberg.

    I agree that they will be around for a long time with proper maintenance. The many residents owning their units will make it difficult to demolish them. We may also see a diversification of uses, with a mix of offices and residences, for instance.
     
    #14
  15. Mapleson

    Mapleson Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North York
    Controlled implosion would be the most likely way. Take out the internal support columns and then the external ones and from top to bottom as the debris will implode instead of explode. Dust and pressure still a big issues, but it's generally more cost effective than using grabber jaws.

    [video=youtube;khD2gZkkSu0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khD2gZkkSu0[/video]

    I see many of the newer condos have unique designs, but the ones from the 60s and 70s tend to be rectangular boxes (less downtown and more subburbs). Residents can be bought out or even rolled over into the new complex. Otherwise, management can let the building deteriorate and then have the building condemned.
     
    #15

Share This Page