Everyone has something to say about the proposal from theater impressario David Mirvish to redevelop land he owns into three 85 storey towers on an podium base that fills an entire block. As past President of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, I certainly did in the ACO Newsletter:
I like David Mirvish; he does things right, he is a supporter of heritage and he has made this city a much better place. I like Frank Gehry; not because he has any interest in heritage or green building, which he doesn't, but because he pushes the envelope of architecture. I like new buildings; they create jobs and bring people into the city and give it life; as the great urban theorist Norman Mailer wrote, "For there was that law of life, so cruel and so just, which demanded that one must change or pay more for staying the same."
But I also like the Eclipse Whitewear building. Not just because it is old and it is designated historic, but because it is one of the earliest and best modern examples of adaptive reuse. Barton Myers and Jack Diamond did something truly original in this renovation, bringing the latest ideas in architecture to the old shell of an industrial building. They set a pattern here that has been followed around the world. It's an important building.
In the Globe and Mail this morning, Marcus Gee says of the whiners, "Oh come on, Toronto, Think big for once!" We do, but our job is bigger than one block and lasts longer than most buildings. Heritage matters here.
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