July 22, 2010
June 19, 2009
Yes! The city is in safe hands!
April 7, 2009
November 8, 2008
Fire crews are at the Brunswick Hotel, where a massive blaze has destroyed the 153-year-old building. The building had undergone an unauthorized, partial demolition on October 19 but was shut down by an Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation on October 20.
October 13, 2008
Reading this interview with Moshe Safdie in Queens Quarterly while waiting out the prep of Thanksgiving dinner.
Referencing his experience with McGills mega-hospital, a project he resigned from, he says; Most buildings going up have little or no archtectural input in their design. Most everything is predetermind by developers.
The government sets up the procedure which minimizes the governments involvement in the building with a P3 public-private partnership. Government says, ‘We have so much money – give us the proposals. You design the facility, you operate it, you hire the architect and engineers, give us a product within the budget.’
This is happening across the board with jails, with airports and with hospitals.
“I suppose at some point it’ll happen with houses of parliament. Who knows where the end of the line is?”
Safdie feels this process stifles any innovation. The developers are out to deliver a product at the lowest cost. They have to. That’s the process. If they don’t, they don’t get the job.
Architects are hired who’ll do an expeditious job. There is no place to reinvent or rethink past the lowest common denominator that’ll do the job, which is okay for a warehouse or a parking garage, but for buildings of a greater cultural purpose it is questionable.
When the private sector developer decides what our libraries will look like, what our hospitals will look like, we are saying the marketplace is going to decide our image, our fundamental image
Buildings tell the story of our culture. When we delegate that to the marketplace, to the lowest common denominator, we are saying something about ourselves.
Queens Quarterly Summer 2008
Moshe Safdie architect interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel
August 13, 2008
June 19, 2008
Idling at one of the 150 Tim Horton’s drive-thrus in London, it is said, contributes to poor air quality. There is a movement to ban drive-thrus. There is an argument that drive-thrus are great for the handicapped and elderly who find it difficult to get out of cars. Well, I guess they didn’t find it too difficult to get into the car.
Yet handicapped persons, some argue, would be well served by adding nine more accessible cabs to the present fleet of nine.
Jamie Donnelly of Aboutown, one of London’s two main cab companies, told the committee he thinks the city needs three new such cabs, but adding nine won’t do undue harm to the industry.
“That would not do it,” [Roger Khouri] said, using a much smaller area city as an example of how to handle the issue.
“Woodstock has eight accessible cabs — with a population of 36,000. That’s absolutely phenomenal.”
Coun. Walter Lonc has studied how Ottawa handles accessible cabs: That city has 185, so, given that ratio, a city of London’s size should have about 73, he said.
Doesn’t this suggest that London is well served in terms of handicapped access to drive-thru coffee?