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junctionist

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And all public drinking fountains should pump Dr. Pepper, but I wouldn't want the city spending any money to do it.

You must find City Hall appalling. Why did they waste our tax dollars on that? They could have built a utilitarian box with the cheapest cladding and sold off the land for the square for some office building. Think of the visionary, "Regent Park" style projects we could have built to solve all our social housing problems!

The point of that ironic comment above is that we won't attain perfection in our social projects. Yet our buildings can make our cities attractive, inspire pride, admiration and creativity. It's not to say that our hospitals should necessarily be landmarks designed by starchitects, but at least be cohesive and have a slightly higher level of design.

The overwhelming majority of the money in building a hospital tends to go towards equipment and the basic structure. I want to more money spent on aesthetics without compromising the service, because I believe we're easily capable of it. Deep down inside, I suspect that most people will agree that there's something desirable about a building beyond its practical purpose.
 

Ramako

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You must find City Hall appalling. Why did they waste our tax dollars on that? They could have built a utilitarian box with the cheapest cladding and sold off the land for the square for some office building. Think of the visionary, "Regent Park" style projects we could have built to solve all our social housing problems!

The point of that ironic comment above is that we won't attain perfection in our social projects. Yet our buildings can make our cities attractive, inspire pride, admiration and creativity. It's not to say that our hospitals should necessarily be landmarks designed by starchitects, but at least be cohesive and have a slightly higher level of design.

The overwhelming majority of the money in building a hospital tends to go towards equipment and the basic structure. I want to more money spent on aesthetics without compromising the service, because I believe we're easily capable of it. Deep down inside, I suspect that most people will agree that there's something desirable about a building beyond its practical purpose.

I wouldn't be on this forum if aesthetic design didn't matter to me, so I certainly have that desire as well. But I have to ask myself, how much more would it cost to make this hospital look that much better? How much better does a hospital need to look?

Perhaps it's ultimately a question of return, and I haven't seen the tenders so I can't comment on that. But in my view, the equation for hospitals requires only that the building not be abhorrent, and this building is far from that. The architectural palette of the general public is not so delicate. People want medical service and hospitality in their hospitals before anything else. Of course nothing will ever be perfect, but if we're going to strive for perfection, when it comes to medical service, I'd rather strive for perfect service than even above-average aesthetics.
 
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Hydrogen

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You must find City Hall appalling. Why did they waste our tax dollars on that? They could have built a utilitarian box with the cheapest cladding and sold off the land for the square for some office building.

In all fairness, that effort was all about building an iconic structure. In comparison, the Mount Sinai construction is an addition to an existing structure. Moreover, that existing structure was never a beauty to begin with, and the addition is not horrific, either.


I want to more money spent on aesthetics without compromising the service, because I believe we're easily capable of it. Deep down inside, I suspect that most people will agree that there's something desirable about a building beyond its practical purpose

Sure, we'd all love more beautiful buildings - beautiful public buildings. But the fact is that health care already grabs an enormous amount of public money, and the idea of spending even more just to satisfy aesthetic desires in the face of so many underfunded services may not go over very well with some people.
 

adma

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In all fairness, that effort was all about building an iconic structure. In comparison, the Mount Sinai construction is an addition to an existing structure. Moreover, that existing structure was never a beauty to begin with, and the addition is not horrific, either.

Actually, I read some of the argument here not as demand for an iconic structure, but the decrying of an addition to a non-iconic yet decent structure (it was George Baird's Case #1 in praising Toronto's first-rate second-rate architecture, after all) that clashes cheaply with the original.

If there were some way of carrying on the existing horizontal Brutalist facade pattern systematically upward, that would've been preferrable, aesthetically speaking. (But a consolation: this is on the "back-street" side.)
 

interchange42

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One of many problems encountered when adding to an existing concrete structure is trying to match the existing aged concrete: from building to building around the world it seems to simply be impossible to do. The precast pillars between the glass here are yet more proof of that despite an obvious attempt being made to minimize the difference.

If you know you are not going to be able to match the concrete, using less of it may have been the lightbulb that flashed above the architects heads...

...too bad they didn't make any attempt to match the glass colour then. Colour decisions like those, that unlikely have much of anything to do with the costs involved in creating an aesthetically cohesive addition, make one question the attention paid to the effect of the architecture and the building's responsibility to the public landscape.

Anyway, on Vanbots' website (the construction company) I discovered that G+G Partnership Architects, (whoever they are; their website isn't talking), are the designers.

42
 

adma

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The original hospital is Bregman + Hamann, isn't it? (And their office is just down the street.)
 

junctionist

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In all fairness, that effort was all about building an iconic structure. In comparison, the Mount Sinai construction is an addition to an existing structure. Moreover, that existing structure was never a beauty to begin with, and the addition is not horrific, either.

True, but I was responding to the sentiment that aesthetics aren't worth it when there are 'so many problems' to solve, and I did acknowledge that these don't need to be iconic structures. There will always be social programs and a demand for more money spent in practically every area. I don't find this addition to be horrific, but still rather mismatched without the horizontal continuation as adma clarified, and the other section of black glass seems completely tacked on. The point was more a general one about aesthetics, which applies to hospitals like it does with university buildings.
 

adma

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By "the other section of black glass", you mean that angled bay? I thought it was already there in some form or another, at least since whatever 80s/90s expansion or something...
 

Hydrogen

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True, but I was responding to the sentiment that aesthetics aren't worth it when there are 'so many problems' to solve, and I did acknowledge that these don't need to be iconic structures.

Fair enough, but you did raise a parallel with City Hall - which is quite iconic in this country.

I don't find this addition to be horrific, but still rather mismatched without the horizontal continuation as adma clarified, and the other section of black glass seems completely tacked on.

Not to belabor the point, but any addition would be "tacked on," so to speak. You can be quite sure that, had this addition been horizontal concrete slabs, someone eventually would have complained about the heavy, brutal concrete treatment.

Aesthetics always have a considerable subjective component operating.
 

urbandreamer

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23 January 2009 photo update

From McCaul:

DSC01710.jpg


(Inside it's surprisingly quiet considering the building is under construction.)
 

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