Every week I look forward to what the Globe and Mail's Architecture Columnist John Bentley Mays will have to say about our city's built form. This insightful gentleman offers a point of view cognizant of the many variables that influence the success or failure of space and place. He explores a structure's materials, scale and proportion as it relates to both the viewer and its occupants, as well as to that which surrounds it. He knows when architecture succeeds in context, is pleasing to the eye, and has an efficiency in layout and flow. He offers insight on how the city's social, cultural and political history has shaped our built environment, and why it doesn't always serve us well. Plus he isn't afraid to voice his dismay when architecture becomes victim to pomp and circumstance, exudes soulessness, lacks substance, or fails to serve the City's denizens as it very well should.
Like many, I'm always asking "Why are new condoniniums frequently ugly? Is the price to create beauty truly too costly?"
In this past week's Globe and Mail article, John Bentley Mays shoots down the design program of two new condominium towers - Post House and Tableau - which fail miserably to integrate pieces of our architectural past. And with good reason! As a proponent of heritage preservation and the adaptive reuse of older buildings for the past twenty years, I have always subscribed that one must be very careful in how one blends the past to the present in architecture. It simply doesn't work to attach new to old (or straddle new over old as is the case with Tableau) without being mindful and artful. These two examples are dreckitude!
John Bentley Mays ...you are one of my heroes!