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What's with the boxy infill houses?

Admiral Beez

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Whenever I see a bungelow or older two story home torn down the replacement is almost almost a boxy, flat topped structure with big pane glass windows and usually the maximum house allowed on the lot.



Whenever I see these houses I wonder, beyond location why did the owner want to move here? They clearly had no interest in the architectural history or feel of the neighborhood. I imagine these home owners say to themselves, it's my property, I'll build whatever I like, the neighbours can go f#ck themselves if they don't like it.
 
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mjl08

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It's all about square footage.

And as far as infills go, I find your example to be quite tasteful. Relatively similar scale and the brick is respectful of the neighbourhood vernacular.

This is what I consider bad infill:

CaptureEY.PNG

Google Streetview
 
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Lenser

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Precisely. The box maximizes your footprint. Lord knows the value of real estate in the GTA is high enough that it warrants getting the most bang for your buck. I see mostly acceptable-to-fantastic modern boxes in the east end, although there are some unfortunate exceptions.
 

gabe

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That's exactly what it is. These people don't care about anything else but themselves. When i work on these behemoth ugly things, i go on google earth to see the home they tore down. Usually they tear down a nice looking 1950s/60s bungalow or back-split with a nice big front yard with flower gardens, big trees/shrubs. Maybe its just me, but i would rather have a big yard with trees and gardens than a big house.




These big gaudy looking homes that you see typically see in places like Vaughan, are popping up all over Toronto's old neighborhoods. ?



 

mjl08

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That's exactly what it is. These people don't care about anything else but themselves. When i work on these behemoth ugly things, i go on google earth to see the home they tore down. Usually they tear down a nice looking 1950s/60s bungalow or back-split with a nice big front yard with flower gardens, big trees/shrubs. Maybe its just me, but i would rather have a big yard with trees and gardens than a big house.


While the house in the middle is undoubtedly superior to the house on the left, whenever I see a super modern infill, I can't help but wonder how well it will age.


These big gaudy looking homes that you see typically see in places like Vaughan, are popping up all over Toronto's old neighborhoods. ?

Post-war neighbourhoods with big lots seem to be the most popular hoods for infills. East York and Willowdale are areas where on some streets the infills outnumber the original bungalows by 4 to 1.
 
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someMidTowner

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Whenever I see a bungelow or older two story home torn down the replacement is almost almost a boxy, flat topped structure with big pane glass windows and usually the maximum house allowed on the lot.



Whenever I see these houses I wonder, beyond location why did the owner want to move here? They clearly had no interest in the architectural history or feel of the neighborhood. I imagine these home owners say to themselves, it's my property, I'll build whatever I like, the neighbours can go f#ck themselves if they don't like it.
That's exactly what it is. These people don't care about anything else but themselves. When i work on these behemoth ugly things, i go on google earth to see the home they tore down. Usually they tear down a nice looking 1950s/60s bungalow or back-split with a nice big front yard with flower gardens, big trees/shrubs. Maybe its just me, but i would rather have a big yard with trees and gardens than a big house.




These big gaudy looking homes that you see typically see in places like Vaughan, are popping up all over Toronto's old neighborhoods. ?



You guys need to include links to sources!
 

Lenser

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That's exactly what it is. These people don't care about anything else but themselves. When i work on these behemoth ugly things, i go on google earth to see the home they tore down. Usually they tear down a nice looking 1950s/60s bungalow or back-split with a nice big front yard with flower gardens, big trees/shrubs. Maybe its just me, but i would rather have a big yard with trees and gardens than a big house.




These big gaudy looking homes that you see typically see in places like Vaughan, are popping up all over Toronto's old neighborhoods. ?



After shelling out a million plus for an old home in need of repair or being knocked down entirely, most people are anxious to recoup their investment. So they go with the most they can get with their real estate footprint, thinking that down the road they will be able to get a decent return on what is increasingly a perilously expensive investment. Alas, money doesn't buy good taste and sometimes the resultant new home is an egregious offence to the existing neighbourhood. But then again, a dowdy old home that's falling apart can also be a real eyesore, especially in those neighbourhoods that have been nicely gentrified - they look like bleak holdouts, windows onto a past era.
 

Admiral Beez

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After shelling out a million plus for an old home in need of repair or being knocked down entirely, most people are anxious to recoup their investment. So they go with the most they can get with their real estate footprint, thinking that down the road they will be able to get a decent return on what is increasingly a perilously expensive investment. Alas, money doesn't buy good taste and sometimes the resultant new home is an egregious offence to the existing neighbourhood. But then again, a dowdy old home that's falling apart can also be a real eyesore, especially in those neighbourhoods that have been nicely gentrified - they look like bleak holdouts, windows onto a past era.
But your new house could share the neighbourhood architecture. You bought on a street of classic Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian homes, presumably liking the neighbourhood, but you build essentially a Kleenex box with windows. But I guess that’s why I like Cabbagetown with its Heritage protections.
 

Lenser

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I don't agree with that view... I like the odd bit of variety. Not a fan of cookie-cutter neighbourhoods populated with houses that are more alike than they are different. They can be quaint, even gorgeous, sure. But I like my cities to be full of variegation and surprises. In my view, being strictly doctrinaire about aesthetics is a sure way of killing them. I can only go by what I see in Leslieville and Riverdale, which are my usual haunts... and I love seeing a cool modern home breaking up a row of sturdy Victorians. But that's just me.

I love Cabbagetown, too, by the way - just very happy the whole city doesn't look like it, or labours under its onerous restrictions.
 

Kenojuak

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Whenever I see a bungelow or older two story home torn down the replacement is almost almost a boxy, flat topped structure with big pane glass windows and usually the maximum house allowed on the lot.



Whenever I see these houses I wonder, beyond location why did the owner want to move here? They clearly had no interest in the architectural history or feel of the neighborhood. I imagine these home owners say to themselves, it's my property, I'll build whatever I like, the neighbours can go f#ck themselves if they don't like it.
Not sure what you're talking about as:

1. It uses a very similar brick colour to adjacent buildings, even matching the contrasting light grout of the building on the right
2. It has the same basic layout: ground floor window beside front door; front door a few steps up from the front path; upstairs two windows; roof sloped, with a chimney or protruding square element
3. It is a bit taller but a bit narrower, overall in keeping with the scale
4. It is very well designed

If there is a monster in this picture it is the home to the left with that horrendous front porch conversion.

This to me is a poster child for how infill should be done. There are sooooooo many bad examples out there. Not this one.
 

.dwg

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Whenever I see a bungelow or older two story home torn down the replacement is almost almost a boxy, flat topped structure with big pane glass windows and usually the maximum house allowed on the lot.



Whenever I see these houses I wonder, beyond location why did the owner want to move here? They clearly had no interest in the architectural history or feel of the neighborhood. I imagine these home owners say to themselves, it's my property, I'll build whatever I like, the neighbours can go f#ck themselves if they don't like it.
If that house is offensive to you, then you are very easily offended. It is contextual and appropriate.
And with regards to context- other than their age, there is nothing particularly noteworthy or above-average about the other homes around it. Why would you need to match them identically in order to be appropriate? Who decided those homes by a developer decades ago are the new standard for housing?
 

adma

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When it comes to this: actually, the example on the right is a growing trend, and a reaction to the example on the left--not *entirely* unlike how, in condo architecture, overdecorated PoMo made way for aA-style glass boxes and the like over the past decade and a half.

Though it's a bit of a loaded matter, since examples like on the right take more "effort" to come by and can be pointed to as exemplars of the hubris of gentrification--and of course, those who dare to criticize being knocked as hidebound reactionaries, etc. So the one on the left and the one on the right are, ultimately, "low" and "high" reflections of the same impulse, as if leaving well enough alone will not do anymore.

And as a broader trend (maybe not applicable in *this* particular case)...

 

Admiral Beez

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@.dwg and @Kenojuak

Yeah, that random pic I chose isn’t the best example of what I was trying to convey. I’ll post some pics of my favourite offenders that I see. There are a lot of these going up in the Beach(es) where older homes are being torn down and replaced by flat topped boxes. It’s the stark contrast and almost counter-architecture that strikes me, but also the scale, where once you might have had a smart looking, average sized home from the 1930s well set back from the fence line across the back, and now you’ve got an ugly and massive box with huge pane window overlooking your yard and home. So, perhaps it’s not the architecture that bugs me, but Instead it‘s the disregard for the community feel and for ones‘ neighbourhood and its occupants. Anyway, you won’t find me in a box until I expire.
 

Kenojuak

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@.dwg and @Kenojuak

Yeah, that random pic I chose isn’t the best example of what I was trying to convey. I’ll post some pics of my favourite offenders that I see. There are a lot of these going up in the Beach(es) where older homes are being torn down and replaced by flat topped boxes. It’s the stark contrast and almost counter-architecture that strikes me, but also the scale, where once you might have had a smart looking, average sized home from the 1930s well set back from the fence line across the back, and now you’ve got an ugly and massive box with huge pane window overlooking your yard and home. So, perhaps it’s not the architecture that bugs me, but Instead it‘s the disregard for the community feel and for ones‘ neighbourhood and its occupants. Anyway, you won’t find me in a box until I expire.
I for one am happy to see any trend that snaps back at entrenched, self-centred SFH dwellers who think their purchase of a land parcel comes with unlimited power to dictate others’ style, unlimited privacy, and the right to vilify and block change. Every building was new once. Every subdivision was a field, forest, or similar once. Every style was offensive to someone when it was built. Things change. Looking at you, Leaside, Beaches, etc.
 

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