Glass Towers May Be Sexy, But They Need To Put A Coat On

© Dave LeBlanc

Ted Kesik doesn't mince words. When everybody else was gaga over Jeanne Gang's Aqua he described it:

Take your clothes off, attach a series of highly conductive fins, like the kind they put on motorcycle engines, to the skeleton of your body, and go stand outside in January... Then tell the person who is dressed for winter they are boring, overly practical people who are squashing creative expression.

Now he is back with more architectural pornography imagery, discussing Toronto's new condos and their very thin glass walls with Dave LeBlanc of the Globe and Mail:

As a building scientist, I look at buildings the way a doctor looks at a body: I say ‘Ah, it may look sexy but boy, that’s not very healthy. I don’t know if I’d want to be that thin.”

When he is not complaining about new glass buildings, he is helping to fix older ones as part of Toronto's Tower Renewal Project. The towers built in the sixties are solid and had real walls with punched windows, so that they can be retrofitted by adding an exterior insulation and finish system. He calls the old buildings "tough, rugged and robust".

The same cannot be said for our new glass towers. Dave LeBlanc quotes Kesik in the Globe And Mail:

Concord City Place/Promo image

“That’s not what’s going to happen to all those wonderful buildings down at Concord Place,” snarls Prof. Kesik, projecting 10 years into the future when he estimates their glass walls will fail prematurely. “They’re going to have to evacuate.” So why do young people line up to purchase there despite the fact that energy performance is usually as bad as a 1960s or 70s building before tower renewal? It’s either the media portraying them as “sexy” or, more likely, that buyers just aren’t aware of their failings: “No industry that I know of provides so little factual information to the consumers of its product; you look at every other industry and they have to convey technological advances or they don’t get sales.”

More in the Globe and Mail

Tags: Green Building | Toronto

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