This photo by UrbanToronto Forum member urbandreamer shows the city at its most cluttered. With a collision of many different materials, forms and uses and lacking any unifying element to create a sense of continuity, the picture captures the city at its most unprocessed. The question then is, should this be changed? Is there an excitement and energy to the haphazard look to this part of Toronto or is it simply a visual mess to be sharpened by better urban design?

Downtown Toronto

On the topic of sharp and new, in the centre of the photo is the SickKids Research and Learning Tower. Designed by Diamond + Schmitt in conjunction with HDR, the 21-storey tower fills in yet another parking lot to continue the remarkable expansion of the Bay Street canyon. Wrapped in a fritted white glass curtain wall, the disciplined and controlled nature of the design is punctuated by an undulating and playful glass wall that runs down the centre of the tower’s Bay Street frontage. Also seen in the renderings for One Bloor East, and taken much further by the Aqua Tower in Chicago, do you think the organic and water-like exterior to these buildings is an interesting design expression or a fad that will quickly pass?