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Northern Light

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I'll see what I can do.

The design project synopsis was:

Reframing Perception

The historical preservation of concrete architecture from Toronto’s post-war boom is crucial in the city’s architectural culture. Despite widespread disdain for these buildings, my thesis argues these buildings add a sense of time, depth, and tactility to the atmosphere of the city.

Zygmunt Bauman states, “Culture is as much about inventing as preserving.” Using John Andrew’s Scarborough College as a platform, I am proposing new appendages, which seek to deconstruct the core architectural values from this period in order to fashion a didactic experience.

Post-war concrete architecture reflects the context and spirit of the age. A reframed perception shows the richness of their embedded cultural value.

I'm more open to losing some of the concrete/brutalist architecture, particularly where it functions poorly, or draws extremely negative public perception that can't be easily redeemed.

But, I don't want to see the best examples of the style erased; and I feel that in many cases there are architecturally respectful ways to address outmoded-ness, or even visual complaints.

Sometimes it really would be desirable to 'soften' a brutalist building. But introducing uplighting at night, or perhaps some ivy at points, or even finding a way to not paint (ugh) but lighten or warm the tone on some buildings, might be reasonable to consider.

As example of where I'm more open to removal, there's much about York U's Keele campus I find quite irredeemable. I would call it hostile to pedestrians and people. Some buildings there really don't strike me as fixable.

But here, I see much that is redeeming; and more particularly I find little in the proposed replacement that justifies or excuses the removal of what is extant.
 

MOB

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I'm more open to losing some of the concrete/brutalist architecture, particularly where it functions poorly, or draws extremely negative public perception that can't be easily redeemed.

But, I don't want to see the best examples of the style erased; and I feel that in many cases there are architecturally respectful ways to address outmoded-ness, or even visual complaints.

Sometimes it really would be desirable to 'soften' a brutalist building. But introducing uplighting at night, or perhaps some ivy at points, or even finding a way to not paint (ugh) but lighten or warm the tone on some buildings, might be reasonable to consider.

As example of where I'm more open to removal, there's much about York U's Keele campus I find quite irredeemable. I would call it hostile to pedestrians and people. Some buildings there really don't strike me as fixable.

But here, I see much that is redeeming; and more particularly I find little in the proposed replacement that justifies or excuses the removal of what is extant.
Some... of course there are bad examples in all types of architecture. There does need to be a softening of some concrete architecture. The buildings can be altered to meet the needs of today aka accessibility and landscape, which is what my thesis should have been about. Filling in moats, altering plinths (stairs), and removing the gawd awful coniferous trees.

What we want to avoid is what happened to our victorian/edwardian/art deco etc etc stock. These buildings all had negative public perceptions as well. They were dark, heavy, did not allow for alterations or modern services. But now we are saving random people's houses in order to maintain the character.
 

Northern Light

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Some... of course there are bad examples in all types of architecture. There does need to be a softening of some concrete architecture. The buildings can be altered to meet the needs of today aka accessibility and landscape, which is what my thesis should have been about. Filling in moats, altering plinths (stairs), and removing the gawd awful coniferous trees.

What we want to avoid is what happened to our victorian/edwardian/art deco etc etc stock. These buildings all had negative public perceptions as well. They were dark, heavy, did not allow for alterations or modern services. But now we are saving random people's houses in order to maintain the character.

A broad endorsement from me on that sentiment except for one bit........which merits further inquiry......."and removing the gawd awful coniferous trees."

What's that about? (Respectful question, I'm not clear what you're saying, is this a general disdain for coniferous trees or are there specific ones in front of specific buildings you see as a problem)
 

MOB

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A broad endorsement from me on that sentiment except for one bit........which merits further inquiry......."and removing the gawd awful coniferous trees."

What's that about? (Respectful question, I'm not clear what you're saying, is this a general disdain for coniferous trees or are there specific ones in front of specific buildings you see as a problem)

Partially both. The trees themselves are not dynamic because they do not reflect the seasons, wind, sun. So you have two static things on the same site. They are often spaced far apart on these types of sites, create dead zones underneath them, and appear heavy.
 

Northern Light

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Partially both. The trees themselves are not dynamic because they do not reflect the seasons, wind, sun. So you have two static things on the same site. They are often spaced far apart on these types of sites, create dead zones underneath them, and appear heavy.

Not all coniferous trees are evergreen. Though you won't see them planted on urban sites very often, the native Tamarack loses its needles each winter, after they turn a vibrant yellow in the fall.

1661963411270.png

source: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/larch/tamarack-tree-information.htm

They don't tolerate shade well; and require moderately heavy irrigation (they like their roots a bit damp)

***

Personally, I fell like we under-utilize conifers/evergreens in Toronto as landscape plants. But they do have limitations, not only in growing conditions, but also in that they don't provide canopy to any great degree,
and they don't provide flowers as such (well they do, but most people wouldn't see them that way).

But they do offer (when evergreen) a distinct hint of life in the winter and colour contrast that isn't offered in the same way by most 'naked' deciduous trees.

A mix of the two types can work well; though because most conifers aren't shade tolerant and grow slowly, any hardwoods planted with them must either be much smaller, or introduced later into the landscape (the conifers need a head start)

Of note here, Hemlock will tolerate shade, but again, a tree that tends to like some moistness to the soil and not well suited to most urban sites without some help.

Here's a Beech-Maple-Hemlock forest pic, which I think is gorgeous. Obviously not for use in street tree sites, as a landscape, but where buildings do have 'empty' greenspace around them, I think this would look lovely, much better than a lawn.

1661963963839.png

source: https://nicksnaturepics.wordpress.com/tag/northern-hardwood-forest-type/

You don't see Sugar Maple in the above, but that's often present in this system and would add vibrant orange-red to the mix in fall.
 

MOB

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Not all coniferous trees are evergreen. Though you won't see them planted on urban sites very often, the native Tamarack loses its needles each winter, after they turn a vibrant yellow in the fall.

View attachment 424128
source: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/larch/tamarack-tree-information.htm

They don't tolerate shade well; and require moderately heavy irrigation (they like their roots a bit damp)

***

Personally, I fell like we under-utilize conifers/evergreens in Toronto as landscape plants. But they do have limitations, not only in growing conditions, but also in that they don't provide canopy to any great degree,
and they don't provide flowers as such (well they do, but most people wouldn't see them that way).

But they do offer (when evergreen) a distinct hint of life in the winter and colour contrast that isn't offered in the same way by most 'naked' deciduous trees.

A mix of the two types can work well; though because most conifers aren't shade tolerant and grow slowly, any hardwoods planted with them must either be much smaller, or introduced later into the landscape (the conifers need a head start)

Of note here, Hemlock will tolerate shade, but again, a tree that tends to like some moistness to the soil and not well suited to most urban sites without some help.

Here's a Beech-Maple-Hemlock forest pic, which I think is gorgeous. Obviously not for use in street tree sites, as a landscape, but where buildings do have 'empty' greenspace around them, I think this would look lovely, much better than a lawn.

View attachment 424138
source: https://nicksnaturepics.wordpress.com/tag/northern-hardwood-forest-type/

You don't see Sugar Maple in the above, but that's often present in this system and would add vibrant orange-red to the mix in fall.
I agree especially regarding lawns. I grew up on a farm with a marshy forest so I am used to and enjoy seeing evergreens as part of a whole rather than stand alone. Unfortunately, urban trees are often individual follies
 

Northern Light

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I'd say I'm more forgiving than most WRT brutalism around here, but sometimes they just made it impossible to like...

View attachment 424151

TDSB schools have been common architectural sinners in any and every style for more than a generation. The exceptions largely limited to some loving heritage restorations.

But on the concrete vein, I can't stand this one-storey slab tacked on to the Central Tech Campus:

1661967642315.png


What's not wrong here?

I get that if you needed to add a new building to add facilities to Central Tech that the old building could not offer, you probably would not try to duplicate the style of the original. That's fine, particularly if the latter would prove a proverbial cheap knock-off.

But the relationship to the street is terrible here, the landscaping abysmal, the height too short, even 2-storeys would make so much more sense, and the limited use of glazing, combined with cold colouration just leaves one flabbergast
that anyone ever thought this was a good idea.
 

Irishmonk

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Disgusting. With all we know about climate change and how urgent the situation is now, there should be an absolute ban on destroying perfectly functional buildings of this size. Especially if the replacement is going to have the exact same function. Even more so if the original has architectural merit-which this one does. And even, even more so if the additional floors are an insipid version of every other cereal box condo with wraparound balconies. Overall, this is an utterly vile, greedy, thoughtless, ham fisted and shamefully tone deaf proposal that needs to be vaporized and never heard from again. (Which means it'll probably get built pretty much as is, but with VE to make it even worse.)
 

3Dementia

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Partially both. The trees themselves are not dynamic because they do not reflect the seasons, wind, sun. So you have two static things on the same site. They are often spaced far apart on these types of sites, create dead zones underneath them, and appear heavy.

As I have stated (too often), hundreds of evergreens are exactly what belong in this city... particularly on large footprints like CityPlace.

Bare, grey November to April transformed by emerald clusters... which by the way are dynamic:

Nothing more beautiful after a snow-storm than bows cradling fresh (and brown slush-resistant) snow. Gorgeous in sunlight, gorgeous in moonlight (if there is any ;-).

Dynamic and Dynamite
starry-night-pine-trees-snow-landscape-winter-outdoor-nature-forest-wilderness.jpg

Link
 

condovo

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The amount of carbon embodied in the existing structure must be absolutely huge. It also happens to be a particularly striking Parkin with well-preserved details at grade.

Future generations already have several reasons to look back in disgust.
I still don't get the concept of "carbon embodied in the existing structure" and what that means practically in terms of pulling down buildings, which seems like a basic thing a society needs to do from time to time.
 

ProjectEnd

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It takes lots of energy and carbon to build a building. If you're just going to tear that building down, you lose the 'embodied carbon' that was invested in the original construction. You're correct in that cities evolve and buildings are replaced, but what do you think took more energy to construct: a couple of wood framed houses, or some small commercial buildings or this 50 year old, 250k sf, concrete, office building?
 

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