Article by Alex Bozikovic in The Globe & Mail Saturday, July 9, 2022 on Allies and Morrison’s master plan and overall site redevelopment at 2150 Lake Shore Boulevard West. (It may be behind a paywall for non-subscribers).
The project designs are all about the little things and suggest that if you focus on how a place will feel at ground level – and execute the design with dogged persistence – the rest will take care of itself.
Excellent article by @AlexBozikovic.
Equally important is the very good news that Allies and Morrison have been retained as the design architects for the phase of the actual buildings to be erected here.
It will take years, if not decades, of commitment for this community to grow as it should, but it’s a great start.
Reading the words of Alfredo Caraballo, the responsible partner at Allies for this project, I have the same feeling as Claude Cormier. It’s not just ambition; nor mere skill…….it is a sense of
caring, passionate about the work, detail oriented and wanting to be genuinely proud of the finished product.
Unfortunately, I’m not convinced this is something you can teach. There are plenty of companies that could use a skills/knowledge refresh, and that always helps; but this willingness to think about each choice and how each choice interacts with the next; this inner desire to do great things is something some people have and others often lack.
I encourage others to read Alex’s entire article, but I want to share a few words from Mr. Carabello:
“that the visual experience of a place is crucial and irregular things are beautiful.”
“The block is not just a pattern that you impose on the site,” he says. “The shape of the city is shaped by the experience of a person passing through it.”
I think the 2 quotes above illustrate the design philosophy discussed with respect to this community. This is one with a resounding endorsement from me!
He goes on to note that they don’t want the community to be an architectural monolith (my word); that they want to avoid endless similarity………to this end:
Alex ends on an interesting note…………one might call it hopeful………
I could modify that a bit and say this instead….” The town planning manual should be treated as what it is; a theoretical guide on how to avoid the worst disasters, not a manual instructions on how to achieve greatness.”
I don’t know if you can rewrite many of the directives to read them as if they’re sometimes good/needed, though maybe they can be made a bit more flexible in places and deal with some things that have always been misshipped.
What I would take away from this example more than the need to change the guidelines, is the need for developers to hire ambitious and caring designers, planners and architects, and provide them with the flexibility and resources to that they can come up with a compelling vision that can bend Toronto Planning and its guidelines as needed because everyone buys into the idea at stake.
The guidelines are intended to limit the damage a Kirkor or TF could create without rules; does not limit what an Ally and Morrison can accomplish within them.