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Ramako

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You really do sound like some 18th century yokel coming to London for the first time and remarking: "Boy that Wren chap certainly hasn't designed anything "interesting" in the past fifty or so years."

Though I've grown a bit fatigued by aA's recent propensity for seemingly conventional designs, I do enjoy their clean simplicity and attention to detail. I also appreciate that they are exploring variations of a theme, thereby creating a unique architectural style. And I can say that it is a unique style because, without any foreknowledge, I can easily distinguish their work from that of the less refined pretenders. That can be said of only a small handful of firms in this city.

That being said, I think you would gain a lot more traction during these aA-debates if you focussed on substantive arguments rather than the supposed intellectual inferiority of anybody who disagrees with you, and I wish you would gain more traction because I tend to agree with your positions. It's clear that you know your architecture, but architecture is art, and art is ultimately valued subjectively. You don't have a monopoly on determining what is beautiful.
 
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SP!RE

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That being said, I think you would gain a lot more traction during these aA-debates if you focussed on substantive arguments rather than the supposed intellectual inferiority of anybody who disagrees with you, and I wish you would gain more traction because I tend to agree with you. It's clear that you know your architecture, but architecture is art, and art is ultimately valued subjectively. You don't have a monopoly on determining what is beautiful.*

VERY well put. Miles ahead of the majority of ProjectEnd's posts right there... you stated your point clearly and succinctly and didn't have to make yourself sound superior to everyone else. Thank you for expressing your sentiments well for some of the rest of us. :)

(* - ultimately I think this is the part that he can't seem to grasp. Which must be a frustrating fact, because I do think a lot of aA design is in very good taste, but that doesn't mean that needs to be a legislated 'truth' around here. In fact, the more the aA purists push their ideas on us, the more I find myself turning against aA and the other stuff these guys promote. It's sort of a last-ditch attempt to keep us all in the aA fold, as we begin to realize that there are other firms trying far more interesting things instead of churning out recycled (yet somehow not refined) ideas.)
 
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ProjectEnd

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Though I've grown a bit fatigued by aA's recent propensity for seemingly conventional designs, I do enjoy their clean simplicity and attention to detail. I also appreciate that they are exploring variations of a theme, thereby creating a unique architectural style. And I can say that it is a unique style because, without any foreknowledge, I can easily distinguish their work from that of the less refined pretenders. That can be said of only a small handful of firms in this city.

That being said, I think you would gain a lot more traction during these aA-debates if you focussed on substantive arguments rather than the supposed intellectual inferiority of anybody who disagrees with you, and I wish you would gain more traction because I tend to agree with your positions. It's clear that you know your architecture, but architecture is art, and art is ultimately valued subjectively. You don't have a monopoly on determining what is beautiful.

I don't feel the need to justify every piece of every building because there are only so many times you can say the same thing over. And my lack of detraction isn't some dogmatic attempt to say that aA itself can do no wrong. For example, I absolutely adore Piano's deft hand, but the lack of refined, Piano-esque detailing on Central St. Giles leaves me wanting more out of that complex. I guess I'm just waiting for an aA project to disappoint me (and don't think I won't say it if that happens), but to date, they just haven't. In this sense, I don't feel the need to convince anyone or justify my own (admittedly strident) positions because the built evidence does it for me.

With regard to the 'art is subjective' note, I'll refer you to the Thomas Kinkdale arguments made a number of times by adma/Shocker/etc (e.g. while that idealism may be true, there are certain things in the work of some which elevate them above others).

Very true. There's no point in arguing with Projectend, his bias knows no limits. He's seemingly not capable of objectively analyzing a building on a case by case basis as his point of reference is always the architectural firm. Essentially every aA building is or will be a masterpiece and every G+C building is automatically a disaster. Understanding his narrow minded view point is as simple as that.

I'm not giving up on you vegeta. We reached a nice understanding in the Clear/Pure Spirit thread in which I suggested that you don't have to like aA's entire oeuvre at once, but as soon as you begin to notice the details which make up one building, an appreciation of the others isn't far behind. In the past, I've written at length about what aA does and why they do it and you have agreed with me (re: proud of their boxes). If my continued insistence bothers you, then just don't respond.

P.s., all, no, all of G+C's finished works to date have been disasters, but we'll get to that a little later (and if ya think that's narrow then so be it, but I make the case against them like I make it for aA - it's in the built work).

VERY well put. Miles ahead of the majority of ProjectEnd's posts right there... you stated your point clearly and succinctly and didn't have to make yourself sound superior to everyone else. Thank you for expressing your sentiments well for some of the rest of us. :)

(* - ultimately I think this is the part that he can't seem to grasp. Which must be a frustrating fact, because I do think a lot of aA design is in very good taste, but that doesn't mean that needs to be a legislated 'truth' around here. In fact, the more the aA purists push their ideas on us, the more I find myself turning against aA and the other stuff these guys promote. It's sort of a last-ditch attempt to keep us all in the aA fold, as we begin to realize that there are other firms trying far more interesting things instead of churning out recycled (yet somehow not refined) ideas.)

Spire, Spire, Spire. We've often butted heads here, but we've also agreed a number of times. If you have a problem with the aggressive way I state things, know that it does not stem from any harboured bile against that poster, but merely that after awhile, I and others who have their own pied-de-terre, so to speak (e.g. adma's belief in heritage preservation or Shocker's preference for Toronto's homegrown design culture), grow tired of the knee jerk posts of some (e.g. no love lost, aA does boring boxes, etc.), especially when we've often taken the time to explain ourselves.

If you don't like what a particular firm does then take solace in the knowledge that it's a big city and there are plenty of other sites out there. But also know that no one is trying to keep you in any sort of proverbial 'fold' and if you feel that you're being pressured to like something you don't, then say so. But don't just call others dogmatic or claim that they don't 'grasp' something which you do because brother, you're not even close.

I see the work that goes into aA's 'boring boxes' every day (hint) and hearing that Peter Street is just another Murano absolutely boils my blood. Seeing fifteen different iterations of that building's podium strung up on a wall and any number of incredibly talented architects debating the merits of each (with more conviction than I see in the entire G+C portfolio, I might add) gives me a confidence that a thousand 'boring box' detractors couldn't take away. The suggestion that Murano (et al) pale in comparison to Aura is so off the mark that it is hard to qualify in words (who the fuck puts a three-foot bulkhead at grade level?) but I think I'll leave that particular point there.

You may know that many of Toronto's better firms are located along Adelaide between Spadina and University and there's a reason for that. They talk to each other. They compliment and critique the work of their piers and create a healthy dialogue which elevates the quality of the work coming out of all of them. And where are G+C and Kirkor? Navel gazing at Duffern and Steeles or in the industrial parks of Mississauga adding nothing, but dulling to an unfortunate degree the design culture upon which our fine city is built.

If you like the shapes of their buildings then hurrah, but know that they just build space. That's all. They're cheap to hire and more often than not, developers just don't care. They see a bargain and, being in the business of making money, they capitalize on it. I don't harbour resentment against this process (kind of like you can't accuse the corporations which buy politicians to lower their taxes and increase their profits aren't immoral, they're amoral - they have a mandate). Just don't accuse me of lacking traction on the issue because I prefer the rigorous and perfection-driven creative process which I know goes on every day to the foibles and coverups I see coming out of such suburban offices.
 

UD2

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what does aA have to do with this building?

thx SPIRE for the retail news. How many retail units are there?
 

vegeta_skyline

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We reached a nice understanding in the Clear/Pure Spirit thread in which I suggested that you don't have to like aA's entire oeuvre at once, but as soon as you begin to notice the details which make up one building, an appreciation of the others isn't far behind. In the past, I've written at length about what aA does and why they do it and you have agreed with me (re: proud of their boxes). If my continued insistence bothers you, then just don't respond.

P.s., all, no, all of G+C's finished works to date have been disasters, but we'll get to that a little later (and if ya think that's narrow then so be it, but I make the case against them like I make it for aA - it's in the built work).

Don't get me wrong, I've never once said that Graziani + Corazza was one of my preferred firms. The projects they've built in Liberty Village and on the Etobicoke waterfront are extremely distasteful. There is no question aA is obviously the superior firm. However I disagree with your assessment of G+C's entire portfolio just as I disagree with your opinion on individual aA projects.

For example Ultra has turned out quite decent and Rise looks very promising.
You will of course immediately object. Largely because it's simply not possible for such a talentless firm to ever produce a quality product. To put that in context, I suppose that as long as Rick Nash plays for a losing team, naturally his individual play itself can never be worthy of any praise.


So just what is it that makes Ultra;
5702390177_eac5e1c544_b.jpg

and Rise;
urbantoronto-3492-10283.jpg


Disasters to you?

Let's take a look shall we...
Unfortunately you haven't made any specific comments on Ultra to date.

We do however have some opinions of the project from your fellow lackeys err... I mean fellow aA compatriots egotrippin & urbandreamer.

(Just so there's no confusion on the subject, the 'lackey' comment was in jest. By no means do I believe that the three of you, or any other aA proponents for that matter, conspire to espouse the virtues of aA en masse on UT. On the other hand I really couldn't care less even if you did. So there's no need to get defensive about that particular comment if you were planning to. :)

So here's what they had to say about this C+G 'disaster'.

These towers are easily in the top 10 most attractive condo towers built in North York during the past decade. Heck, they're even better looking than much of the stuff built south of the 401!

Behind Dia, I really think this is NY's second best looking development, so far. It's just a simple modern concrete building, kinda 60s' vibe to it really.

This is such a clean, crisp and good looking development. Hopefully more builders will take note and design more of their suburban projects accordingly. Unfortunately the good looking buildings are still vastly outnumbered.

Quite interesting no?

Going through that thread I must say I'm having a difficult time finding any negative comments at all about the project. But I'm sure you can do something about that can't you? No doubt you'd comment on its drab gray color scheme and the massive 'crown of spandrels'. Naturally there would be no notation of its clean lines, the unique orientation of the tower and podium and the visually appealing balconies. Or any consideration for the subtle details shown in the photo above.

I'm not suggesting that Ultra is a master piece on par with the Shangi-la or the 4 Season's. Or even that its proportionate in quality to the next tier down; say a Lumiere or The Met. I would categorize it as being good, but not great. It's just a little too gray and boxy snd the crown indeed is a little spandrel heavy from the south side. Although I don't take issue with its use throughout the rest of the tower. As my opinion on such is summarized here;

Many applaud them(aA) for avoiding or minimizing the used of spandrels, the presence of which is somehow thought of as the instant kiss of death by aA proponents. In truth if their use is not excessive (obvious failures in that respect; Parade 1, Nautilus, Crystal Blue amongst others) and if the color selection does not contrast with the glass (i.e. Trump), their presence is not automatically revolting or even all that noticeable.

I don't expect you to agree with this sentiment. Despite the fact that most aA buildings, however discrete they may be, do indeed make use of spandrels.

In fact judging by their comments it would be fair to say urbandreamer and egotrippin seem to have a higher regard for it than I do.
In conclusion I fail to see how Ultra can be categorized as a disaster.


Next up - Rise

Even if it is the 'best G+C-designed building,' that's hardly indicative of an attractive project. Sure, they've got the massing right, with the taller and more 'iconic' chimney rising from the corner but beyond that it's got all the same rushed, poor-quality detailing we've come to know and expect from this firm. The detailed shots in the dataBase entry show some of this better so go have a look at them.

Notice especially the 'crown of spandrel' adorning the top of the tower, the low quality of the panels themselves (same supplier as Nautilus and other crappy G+C productions it seems) and the clumsy way the whole thing comes crashing down to the street. The podium bears no relation to the design language established by the grid on the tower and its brick detailing is really just something to lean on (it is also topped by a similar 'crown of spandrel'). The Sephora-inspired ground-level again tries to say something 'different' but also just ends up getting its words muddled. I'd give the overall form an 8/10 and the detailing a 4/10 if pressed for numbers.

In some ways I want to say that it's better than what's diagonally across the street, but I'm not even sure of that. At least E.I. Richmond took the time to get the precast detailing on their building to emphasize the verticality of the tower where G+C's mixed bag seems to want to go up and out at the same time.


But again, the real mistake here was not hiring aA at the start.


You stated; Rise has a "crown of spandrel adorning the top of the tower".
Yes its quite the building defining crown isn't it? Though its not even a single story high. Undoubtedly you'd prefer venting in its place to cover the mechanical's. I must say your benefactor aA has quite a knack for this type of 'preferred' treatment;

6275491500_0d192f59f5_b.jpg

X2_March2-2010.jpg

courtesy of dt_toronto_geek

So, is this an example of the attention to detail that you are constantly praising aA for?

I'm also impressed that you can quantify the value of the panels themselves just by looking at a render!
And apparently you feel the built form of the podium and tower clash with each other so much that you'd rate its 'overall form' a measly 8 out of 10.
Wait a second, that can't be right... :confused:

But apparently the building is lacking in details, with its off-set window pattern, brick facade on the podium and contrasting black and white elements. Oh that's right, you said 'quality of details'. Because you have such an eye for details, that you can determine their quality based on a render alone. How undeniably talented you are. :rolleyes:
Unfortunately for us laypeople, we actually require the finished product to make that kind of determination.

Based on the render and as long as the execution isn't flawed, Rise will be a welcome addition to the city. This is an opinion that is not contradicted by a majority of those who have chosen to voice their opinions on the project.


My point is, whether you believe it or not (and you obviously don't) C+G is capable of designing and delivering a quality product. Which is why I am of the belief that Aura, Canderel Stoneridge's showcase development, can indeed be a quality product.

Ultimately the overall design of Aura appeals to me for a multitude of reasons, despite having some comparatively minor flaws (i.e those bulkheads you mentioned). Just as how I find X to be visually appealing in spite of the obtuse mechanical box with vents. Such flaws do not make a building a disaster in my mind.

To complete the sports analogy; Rick Nash isn't the best play-maker around, but does that make him a bad player? Hardly.



Besides, as Ramako so eloquently put it;

You don't have a monopoly on determining what is beautiful.
 
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Ramako

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I see the work that goes into aA's 'boring boxes' every day (hint) and hearing that Peter Street is just another Murano absolutely boils my blood. Seeing fifteen different iterations of that building's podium strung up on a wall and any number of incredibly talented architects debating the merits of each (with more conviction than I see in the entire G+C portfolio, I might add) gives me a confidence that a thousand 'boring box' detractors couldn't take away. The suggestion that Murano (et al) pale in comparison to Aura is so off the mark that it is hard to qualify in words (who the fuck puts a three-foot bulkhead at grade level?) but I think I'll leave that particular point there.

You may know that many of Toronto's better firms are located along Adelaide between Spadina and University and there's a reason for that. They talk to each other. They compliment and critique the work of their piers and create a healthy dialogue which elevates the quality of the work coming out of all of them. And where are G+C and Kirkor? Navel gazing at Duffern and Steeles or in the industrial parks of Mississauga adding nothing, but dulling to an unfortunate degree the design culture upon which our fine city is built.

If you like the shapes of their buildings then hurrah, but know that they just build space. That's all. They're cheap to hire and more often than not, developers just don't care. They see a bargain and, being in the business of making money, they capitalize on it. I don't harbour resentment against this process (kind of like you can't accuse the corporations which buy politicians to lower their taxes and increase their profits aren't immoral, they're amoral - they have a mandate). Just don't accuse me of lacking traction on the issue because I prefer the rigorous and perfection-driven creative process which I know goes on every day to the foibles and coverups I see coming out of such suburban offices.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said, and I have no trouble believing that the architects working at aA put more thought and contemplation into their work than most firms out there. Attention to detail and adherence to a larger theme or meaning is critically important to great design, but that isn’t the whole story.

What bothers people about aA is that they seem so focused on the finer details that it's as if they don’t really turn their minds to “grander” considerations, such as overall shape and massing. It almost seems as though when the team at aA sits down to design a new project, the very first thing they do is draw a box, then wonder only how to dress it up.

To the layperson, their work doesn’t seem to make a bold statement, or really any statement at all. Obviously that can’t be further from the truth. aA certainly does have a message, but they deliver that same message in roughly the same way, over and over again, in a way that seems almost stubborn. Earlier I said that it is easy to tell aA’s work from that of other, less refined, firms. At the same time, for the layperson, it is difficult to tell one aA design from another, and I think it’s foolish to completely ignore the layperson’s opinion because architecture is ultimately made to be consumed by them.

At the end of the day, people want architecture with some kind of distinctive character. What bothers me is that, in Toronto, it seems as though we’re only given two choices: exceptional detail and execution of an otherwise uninteresting but refined design concept or cheap and sloppy execution of a relatively bold and ambitious design concept. Often we get the worst of both worlds, and very rarely do we get the best of both. What makes aA so frustrating is that they are one of a very small number of firms that have the ability to deliver both, but seem content to stay within the confines of their existing mantra. Even some significant movement away from all-glass would be a huge relief. It’s for that reason I feel like Wallman and other firms are leaving aA behind.
 
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urbandreamer

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Heron's Hill, compared to any aA project (so far none north of the 401 that I can recall), scores a .5/10, that's how appalling the NYCC competition (DIA excepted, it's probably a 6.5/10) is by comparison.

Take a look at that HH podium and compare it to X's...a contemporary to it.

Staring at tons of renderings of proposals is--to an architect--probably similar to that of a car designer staring at conceptual sketches of future designs. I know I can "read" either an architectural or automotive rendering instantly, just from having studied these things as a hobby for decades, instantly determining if the design is good or rubbish. That's why @RenderPornStar came so naturally to me. :)
 

vegeta_skyline

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Nice attempt at trying to take back your previous statements, but you forgot about this little tidbit;

Heck, they're even better looking than much of the stuff built south of the 401!

So, you went from that to a .5?
:rolleyes:

Goes well with PE's; "all of G+C's finished works to date have been disasters".

Not sure if you've noticed, but you aA proponents sure have a bad habit of employing hyperbole in you statements.

In any case if your asking me to compare it to X, there's no doubt X is the better overall development. But that has little to do with Ultra being labeled 'a disaster'. Nor does the rest of your comment, which I've conveniently ignored.
 

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