Northern Light

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An architectural critic ultimately offers an opinion, not the final word. Let us not forget that Christopher Hume was also an architectural critic.

Regardless, it's clear that this building is going back for a redesign—and I do think that people should hold off their vitriol at such an early phase. To have such a violent reaction against rough massing (devoid of materiality or articulation) is unnecessary.


TBH, the first proposal was just as boxy.

I'm certainly not engaging in vitriol; I would agree others should not.

The heatedness of this discussion bothers me, as I see a propensity for hyperbole and overeach instead of a discussion of facts and preferences.
 
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jje1000

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I'm certainly not engaging in vitriol; I would agree others should not.

The heatedness of this discussion bothers me, as I see a propensity for hyperbole and overeach instead of a discussion of facts and preferences.
Agreed.

The short list for me, personally: equity, sustainability, affordability, support for Main Street retail, efficient use of social and physical infrastructure, just generally good public policy, and the creation of more interesting cities.

The “who don’t live in the neighbourhoods” piece is completely irrelevant; I don’t personally require for my own lifestyle the government to allow me to marry someone of the same sex, but I care deeply about it being lawful.

Given that land use planning is one of the areas of public policy/politics that most directly impacts how people experience their daily lives, I’ve always found it odd that people are generally *way* more gung-ho about more abstract topics like, say, tax policy.
A small contention—we do need to clarify how this necessary densification is occurring. High-rises (and even some mid-rises) are not necessarily good urban form, and large-scale development can focus resources and monetary gain upwards towards large, politically-connected developers who can afford the massive up-front financing, legal, and permitting costs. And of course, this is not to mention the post-construction management in large-scale projects, which tends to prioritize 'safe' over vibrant, especially in the retail realm.

IMO, a truly equitable city is one where an average homeowner can freely add a floor to their home/storefront to rent out, or be able to affordably turn a garage into a storefront/restaurant, without fear of backlash or legal hurdles/fees—basically the way cities had been developed up until the end of WW2.

This is why Kensington is such an interesting space as a crassly repurposed residential district (providing a flexible entrepreneurial space for various immigrant groups to launch into the middle class), and that a main street like the Danforth would be in a far healthier place if it had even just an extra floor added to the storefronts over time. Compare and contrast to the shrink-wrapped, societally-aspirational ($$$) condo neighbourhoods this city has seen in the last two decades—which on their own have not particularly improved affordability nor equity.
 
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greenleaf

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Context is about what is immediately adjacent and immediately across the street, and an examination of whether there is intent to create a certain flavour 'ie. campus feel'.
Again, people are welcome to differ as to whether there should be such goals (context/feel); or whether this proposals merits outweigh those concerns.

But its simply wrong to argue that the proposal neatly fits in with its neighbours.
Remember, I like the building, though I do wish they had proposed for another site (they have a few on west campus where it would be an excellent fit.)

Context is more than what buildings literally exist next to a proposed building though, right? There’s more to this than massing.

Explanations of why buildings can’t be built in places using this type of narrow definition (what built form exists) don't cut it, in my opinion.

Why would a shorter building fit more neatly here? Why is that valued more than other contexts? I don’t think it should be valued in this case (and many other cases).
 

Northern Light

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Context is more than what buildings literally exist next to a proposed building though, right? There’s more to this than massing.

Explanations of why buildings can’t be built in places using this type of narrow definition (what built form exists) don't cut it, in my opinion.

Why would a shorter building fit more neatly here? Why is that valued more than other contexts? I don’t think it should be valued in this case (and many other cases).

I certainly agree that height is not an absolute rule here, or anywhere else.

In this case, at the massing level, I do think it felt rather overwhelming to its neighbours.
Which is separation distance, height, set-backs, etc, its lots of things.
It's not a hard right answer-wrong answer kind of thing.
I just think this particular proposal would have made more sense and drawn less blowback elsewhere.

As to its current iteration, we haven't really seen the detail design, which may yet save it!

But I don't feel I'm over-reaching to suspect that a more squat and sprawly design may well diminish the better characteristics of the original iteration, while not really making the building feel less overwhelming to its neighbours.
 

ookpik

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What an infuriating thread this is

The clowns from the Annex Residents Association are rich white busybodies who step way out of their lane and unnecessarily dominate planning in this area — and this is not even remotely part of The Annex

This should be a high rise site

Its urban structure is Downtown & Central Waterfront

It’s within 500m of at least three subway stations, maybe more.
 

Sjb

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What an infuriating thread this is

The clowns from the Annex Residents Association are rich white busybodies who step way out of their lane and unnecessarily dominate planning in this area — and this is not even remotely part of The Annex

This should be a high rise site

Its urban structure is Downtown & Central Waterfront

It’s within 500m of at least three subway stations, maybe more.
What does their racial background have to do with it? This is neither Central Waterfront, nor Downtown. it’s the U of T campus / museum row.
 

ookpik

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What does their racial background have to do with it? This is neither Central Waterfront, nor Downtown. it’s the U of T campus / museum row.
Their whiteness matters because they are unrepresentative of their communities


Meet Map 2 of the Toronto Official Plan

E666CD5C-AE24-42C4-9D34-B8AD03E13CD2.jpeg
 

Sjb

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Their whiteness matters because they are unrepresentative of their communities


Meet Map 2 of the Toronto Official Plan

View attachment 339196
That’s fun, you just quoted my employer at me. 😂😂😂 Also, they are representative of their communities. I live in the area, it is not a good representation of the overall city, for integration. But as a community, the opponents to the project represented their neighbours.

From the 1997 Secondary Plan:
F413CAA7-DBE7-40C7-ABF5-B63582AB8857.jpeg



And

F1C39088-81BB-4B6B-94B5-B68E5EB065EE.jpeg
 

ookpik

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That’s fun, you just quoted my employer at me. 😂😂😂 Also, they are representative of their communities. I live in the area, it is not a good representation of the overall city, for integration. But as a community, the opponents to the project represented their neighbours.

From the 1997 Secondary Plan:View attachment 339208


And

View attachment 339209
A 1997 secondary plan which predates the current official plan, and is now 24 years old, is no longer relevant.

If you think the ARA is representative of its community….. hoo boy.
 

Sjb

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A 1997 secondary plan which predates the current official plan, and is now 24 years old, is no longer relevant.

If you think the ARA is representative of its community….. hoo boy.


According to Toronto Planning, until the new one is approved, the 1997 version prevails. Completely relevant.


However, from the NEW proposed secondary plan, these are the areas intended for improvement (plus the one near the track, that I missed highlighting). 90 Queen's Park isn't indicated on it. At all.
Also, you seem surprised that the opponents reflected the reality of the immediate neighbourhood, but I can assure you...there is not a lot of cultural influence around here. Sadly.



2021-08-04_10-25-34.jpg
 
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Sjb

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Way too tall. Doesn't fit into the existing context of the open, grassy, field.
Cute, but of course if you know the region, you're aware it's one of several prominent sites, along a main thoroughfare. And yet...it's not a highrise. The National Library the other poster has in their bio pic is the tallest nearby structure, until you move a few blocks down the road, and get into a hideous assortment of Ministry buildings, before terminating at the Supreme Court and the primary government buildings.


Brasilia (33).JPG




Brasilia (12).JPG
 

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