Toronto Forma | 308m | 84s | Great Gulf | Gehry Partners

we also had no problem having pregnant women smoking and drinking. Times have changed. And since heritage buildings are finite, I think it's rather obvious why "we" care more now about preserving the few we have left.



That's where I situate myself. These aren't necessarily our "most important heritage buildings" But they are nonetheless designated heritage buildings and are therefore worthy of more consideration than Gehry and Mirvish have given them. Whether they're replaced by a glass box or the Best Building Ever is immaterial to me. It's not a question of weighing relative aesthetics. That's not the principle under which our heritage laws exist. "This building is important to the history of Ontario but if you have a REALLY COOL idea, by all means, we can work something out!" I sincerely care about the heritage and I'm not "intimidated" by the scale.

Really, intimidated? I can guess I can understand that a NIMBY level but why would anyone be intimidated by it?

I think you're overestimating the rationality of these people. When talking to regular people about M+G, their initial response is something along the lines of "too tall, too many people". Once they realize that all these new people won't disappear if M+G isn't built then they'll start going on about heritage protection and other things. It's pretty clear to me that their opposition to the project has no basis in rational thought. They'll use whatever scapegoat they can think of to oppose it.

The reason why anyone would be intimidated by M+G is anyones guess. I suppose it's because some people fear any large change. It's probably the same reasoning behind why some DT residents opposed the Downtown Relief Line in the 90s. IIRC, much of it was due to people being afraid that the DRL would change the character of downtown.

I've walked past those buildings many times and I know it's just a Tim Hortons and whever now but they are not "anonymous." They are part of the streetscape on King and you only have to to walk down stretches of King East, where the buildings have been saved, to get a sense of what they used to be part of. And if you keep destroying everything around our heritage buildings everything that's left will either be monumental (like Old City Hall or Osgoode) or, by your definition, anonymous. A building doesn't have to be the place Lincoln was shot to be of historical significance and this city has already sacrificed too many "anonymous" buildings that could have been better integrated into the fabric. Toronto shouldn't be treated like Las Vegas where everything is replaceable.

...

I just don't see what's wrong with asking them to at least try working them in. Once you determine that some building - a building that went through the designation process - is "anonymous" and sacrificeable to whatever "better' idea comes along, you're getting onto an awful slippery slope, IMHO.

I really would hate to see Ghery have the warehouse buildings imposed upon his work. I'd also hate to see the loss of these facades since they do carry some historical value. My preferred solution would be to move the warehouse facade to another nearby project. If we do this then we don't be taking a risk of compromising Ghery's work, nor will be losing the heritage.

You can't just create heritage out of thin air like that. The Empire State Building is a magnificent building but it wasn't instantly part of New York's heritage. To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand the meaning of the word. And for all I know it replaced some anonymous warehouses.

The timeframes that I used were an exaggeration. But I think it's fair to say that in the long run M+G will contribute more to Toronto's heritage and identity than the warehouses will.
 
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I don't know what city you're thinking about, but in downtown Toronto units go for an average 658/sqft. Ignoring that it is very safe to say a project like this will command a premium price, a 1,200 foot unit at that market price would come to $789,000. Mortgage or no mortgage, that puts anyone able to afford that in the upper 1% ($190,000+) of income earners in the country. However you're attempting to contextualize them so they look as good as possible, that is very, very wealthy. So, you're wrong.

Your comment should be censored since it is unacceptably sexist.
 
TJ, I think you're reasonable person, my apologies for sometimes responding selectively to you comments.
 
The real reason planning is against this proprosal is we all know where it leads: the destruction of many more century old warehouses in the area (and others) for very tall towers. It's maybe too soon for this to happen when many of us can remember our grandparents and great grandparents' generation being the builders of such buildings. It will eventually happen ... but likely not for another 100+ years.

Oh, and this sort of nimbyism is common everywhere: from London to NYC to LA. A good architect's job is to work within the boundaries of local zoning and planning laws and create beauty out of that chaos.

Do you not think Toronto could put a cordon sanitaire (equivalent to the Green belt) starting at Spadina? I don't see the slippery slope you fear. And of course protecting certain structures within the cordon.
 
Y'know, if I may recall my espousal of slow road trips to Niagara rather than a quick thought-free QEW, or of enjoying NYC in the in-depth terms of "existing fabric" rather than letting ooh! aah! prima donna landmarks carry all the weight...your tone is that of the proverbial bored, resentful, disinterested kid along on such a trip, rolling your eyes.

Why is it always either/or with you? Why do you assume just because some would sacrifice a couple of warehouses for M-G, in this case, that we can't also appreciate slow drives to Niagara? You are binary, and can't seem accept ambiguity? Your writing style is very elitist (subsidized no doubt) but your architectural preferences are decidedly anti-elitist.
 
TJ, I think you're reasonable person, my apologies for sometimes responding selectively to you comments.

Appreciated and ditto.

I don't know what the solution is for the warehouses but I know that Gehry worked with a lot of constraints imposed on him when he did the AGO and I think he did an extraordinary job. It's not as obviously GEHRY! as Bilbao or the Disney Hall but it works wonderfully.

I think I once knew about the Waldorf Astoria but had forgotten so thanks for the reminder, Transportfan. I think it's fair to say the destruction of Penn Station was what really got New York thinking more about its heritage. This city came around a lot later and probably hasn't caught up.

This proposal isn't going to disappear. I suspect the buildings will come down into the 60ish range and Gehry's street-level plan is pretty ill-formed now anyway so maybe they can get him to keep some of the facades or something.... I don't know. But I don't think the city is going to kill it. It's been over a year but it's still pretty early days. I'm sure Mirvish knew all this was going to happen going in, even while the likes of Christopher Hume seem aghast council so much as gave it a second look.
 
The reason I am willing to see the warehouses go, is because I'm keenly interested to see what a renowned architect can do at street level if given a clean slate. STreet level is the challenge without question.
 
Funny that people are still clawing over this. I'll caricature each side. Pro: "World class!" Con: "Jane Jacobs!"
 
Funny that people are still clawing over this. I'll caricature each side. Pro: "World class!" Con: "Jane Jacobs!"

It's possible to be both at the same time. I like the way the project would add iconic and exuberant buildings to a staid and ugly city. On the other hand, it would be a shame to lose the Princess of Wales, and while the current streetscape may not be fantastic, it isn't as broken, degraded and hostile to pedestrians as most of Toronto is. I wonder if there's a compromise that might allow Mirvish the height and density he seeks but on a different site - preferably a surface parking lot in the core - in exchange for a commitment to keep running the theatres. The development profits could subsidize the theatres, and the agreement could include a provision that ownership would revert to the City in the event programming fell below a certain threshold.
 
Why is it always either/or with you? Why do you assume just because some would sacrifice a couple of warehouses for M-G, in this case, that we can't also appreciate slow drives to Niagara? You are binary, and can't seem accept ambiguity? Your writing style is very elitist (subsidized no doubt) but your architectural preferences are decidedly anti-elitist.

Methinks Big Daddy's response to the slow-drive approach to urban appreciation was embodied in "You really like listening to yourself don't you?". It's not about the warehouses, it's about the attitude.

Bored kids in the back seats should be liquidated, not coddled.
 

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