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Future of the York Memorial Collegiate building

AlbertC

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York Memorial Collegiate Institute fire deemed accidental but cause still unknown

Ontario Fire Marshal's office could not say whether building is structurally sound or provide cost of damage

CBC News · Posted: Aug 29, 2019 4:57 PM ET

The OFM also hasn't said whether the building is structurally sound or whether it needs to be torn down.

The school, whose cornerstone was laid in Toronto's Eglinton Avenue W. and Keele Street area on May 6, 1929, had just marked its 90th anniversary when flames broke out.

 

AlbertC

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York Memorial students start new year in new school

Nearly 900 students are attending Scarlett Heights in Etobicoke

News Sep 03, 2019 by Megan DeLaire - Toronto.com

It isn't clear right now whether the original York Memorial building will be demolished or rebuilt. Board staff will have a better idea later in September, when a reconstruction report is due to be released.

 

jje1000

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The ruins have remained standing so far- which leans towards it being stable enough to deal with- I hope they can make a decision before the winter sets in on what to do.

I think there's three options available here- The first would be the retention of the outer walls, the second would be the reconstruction of the facade using salvaged facade details, and the third would be the total reconstruction of the school with a new design.

Definitely hope it's one of the two first options- but we'll probably see an entirely new building regardless of what outward appearance it assumes, as the interiors are a complete loss.
 

Johnny Au

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The ruins have remained standing so far- which leans towards it being stable enough to deal with- I hope they can make a decision before the winter sets in on what to do.

I think there's three options available here- The first would be the retention of the outer walls, the second would be the reconstruction of the facade using salvaged facade details, and the third would be the total reconstruction of the school with a new design.

Definitely hope it's one of the two first options- but we'll probably see an entirely new building regardless of what outward appearance it assumes, as the interiors are a complete loss.
The reconstructed York Memo, regardless of the options, should be designed to minimize noise from the station below.
 

Northern Light

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Update:

Report to the Finance, Budget and Enrollment Ctte of the TDSB says the auditorium and front section of the building (the most historical parts) are a total loss.

Other areas may be salvageable but estimates are on-going as to whether salvage or reconstruction would be cheaper.

There will be an effort to preserve remaining heritage features and reconstruct at least some; but no final determination has been made as to what a replacement for the school will look like and no
cost estimates yet.

 

W. K. Lis

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If they think of doing a rebuild, maybe they should look at the North Toronto Collegiate Institute (NTCI) Redevelopment as a guide. See link.

The redevelopment includes a 4 storey, 14,500m2 secondary school building, 2 residential buildings with a total of 450 units, a playfield, and a tree-lined public pedestrian walkway as a new through block access.

The 4 storey secondary school building has significant heritage components of the original NTCI. The components were retained and integrated into the design of the courtyard, conceptually embedding the original historic Gothic Collegiate School, originally built in 1912 and demolished for this redevelopment, in the center of the new school and reinforcing its symbolic presence as the heart of the new building. The building is designed to accommodate 1206 students and includes science, art, music and drama classrooms, a 600 seat theatre, a library, and a triple gymnasium. The design for the school was conceived around a major courtyard space which provides daylight, views, orientation, and accessible outdoor social program space. On the ground floor level, the dramatic 3 storey multi-use commons/theatre lobby and continuous glazed hallway overlook the outdoor regulation sports field with bleacher seating along the walkway.

The 24 and 27 storey residential buildings, the Republic Condominiums, are constructed as part of the overall school complex, but with clearly identified and separate entrances, designated parking, and loading and amenity areas. The residential buildings were developed as primarily glass-clad, slender, elegant structures which defer in their massing to the more solid masonry-clad base building of the secondary school. Knock-out panels between units are provided to accommodate future flexibility for larger suites.

Land use efficiency was achieved by minimizing the building footprint and maximizing community open space. An extensive green roof over the school and a full size track and field increase the green space, promoting storm water management and habitat.





 

Northern Light

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I'd say that's about as meaningful and sensitive as One Bedford - i.e. what not to follow.

AoD
That treatment, to me, feels like the history has been de-contextualized.

If you want to preserve the main entrance/archway, the place to do that (ideally) is as the entrance to the new building.

Facadectomies can be catastrophic fails even when a portion of history is accurately preserved, of course.

Its about finding the right compliment/context for the history in its new home.

And retaining enough of the history to preserve the feeling it once evoked.

That can't be said for North Toronto.

I think at that point one is better off going for a brand new, but high quality design that will hopefully meet a kinder fate.
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

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That treatment, to me, feels like the history has be de-contextualized.

If you want to preserve the main entrance/archway, the place to do that (ideally) is as the entrance to the new building.

Facadectomies can be catastrophic fails even when a portion of history is accurately preserved, of course.

Its about finding the right compliment/context for the history in its new home.

And retaining enough of the history to preserve the feeling it once evoked.

That can't be said for North Toronto.

I think at that point one is better off going for a brand new, but high quality design that will hopefully meet a kinder fate.
I'd go further - the way it was done is aesthetically displeasing and actually took away from what was preserved (which is oddly/badly truncated with little respect for continuity). What was created anew is overbearing and further diminished these elements.

AoD
 

WislaHD

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I respectfully disagree, I think NT's preservation into the new school was a nice touch and well done as a nod to the past, and makes the new structure unique, different, and compelling.

I don't know what people want to do with heritage some of the time. Make schooling inadequate for students in order to preserve architectural heritage? Is that the correct set of priorities for our society?

If it is, then we should tear down the single-detached homes nearby to build a new school that is adequate for teaching, and preserve the old school with new commercial and institutional uses. But the other set of priorities in our society appears to be that single-detached homes are sacrosanct and shall not be touched. 🤷‍♂️
 

Northern Light

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I respectfully disagree, I think NT's preservation into the new school was a nice touch and well done as a nod to the past, and makes the new structure unique, different, and compelling.

I don't know what people want to do with heritage some of the time. Make schooling inadequate for students in order to preserve architectural heritage? Is that the correct set of priorities for our society?

If it is, then we should tear down the single-detached homes nearby to build a new school that is adequate for teaching, and preserve the old school with new commercial and institutional uses. But the other set of priorities in our society appears to be that single-detached homes are sacrosanct and shall not be touched. 🤷‍♂️
In fairness, I don't believe anyone advocated preserving the entire building as it was once.

No one is debating the need for reconstruction.

The choice is whether to preserve some portion of the old building, and if so, in what fashion.

The argument being made here, at least by me, is that this history was poorly preserved by removing it from any useful context.

It doesn't evoke the feeling it would have when it was actually the front of the building.

There is no harm to educational quality in preserving an old entrance as an entrance; you can still have new classrooms and labs, and updated fitness and arts facilities in behind that front wall.

That said, my inclination would be to preserve, if practical the original lobby area in tact, this is typically where one would find war memorials, honour rolls and original light fixtures or solid wood panels etc.

Then simply put modern halls and rooms leading away from that edifice.

Sprinkling 'relics' in an interior court yard in a manner completely inconsistent w/how they were originally positioned or used is more of an art gallery thing than any type of historical preservation.

But that's my just take.
 
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