19 Duncan | 186.53m | 58s | Westbank | Hariri Pontarini

kweku

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Can't believe how much of this type of demolition of structures saving the facade is going on in Toronto,
...probably the most in North America or maybe World?
You are definitely right because in Toronto, the developers would rather cut and paste everything including ugly and useless old facades rather than spending more money to design real original architecture
 

ADRM

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You are definitely right because in Toronto, the developers would rather cut and paste everything including ugly and useless old facades rather than spending more money to design real original architecture
  1. Heritage retention is very often mandated by the planning process, and thus not up to developers.
  2. Heritage retention is very often more expensive than tearing down and putting up something new.
  3. Can you actually name a city where you think the combination of land economics and planning regs leads to better preservation outcomes than that combination does in Toronto, or are you satisfied with just blithely criticizing?
 

jje1000

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Oh come on, a lot of that also going on, probably the most in North America:)
Definitely so- heritage preservation and real "original" architecture also aren't exclusive to one another- in fact, some of the best recent architectural projects in the world incorporate heritage structures.

I think heritage retention can help provide an organizing focal point for the new architecture- whereas a blank slate can invite a pro-forma-driven desire for efficiency (i.e. the massive podium-blocks going up in St. Lawrence), heritage retention enforces an inefficiency that can result in 'interesting' spaces (i.e. Mirvish Village, Old 70s-80s Yorkville). Heck, even a bland-as-heck project like 603 Sherbourne is made more interesting by the retention of the houses on the corner- resulting in the creation of an intimate green space. In the cases where facadism prevails, the heritage structure can also help to break up the form and materiality, and also help the project retain some more traditionally human-scaled elements (which can be inadvertently lost in the desire for an unified form and design).

On top of that, I don't think the architectural design process should think of the preserved architecture as being in the way or something that just needs to be 'dealt with'- instead, that preserved architecture should be seen as yet another site feature, one that can be interpreted and even subverted in the process of architectural design- that's a mindset that's already prevalent in Europe, but farther behind in North America.

Of course, that's not to say that a blank slate inherently brings out efficiency-minded architecture (i.e. River City, though it's also a more expensive project)- it just makes it easier to do so.
 
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