polar opposites

by tiffanysc2013

This article is the most terrifying thing I have read since I returned to Edmonton. I’ve tried to let it go but articles like this really get under my skin. It appears to me that either the Edmonton Journal didn’t have imaginative things to say about Architecture in Edmonton on that particular Friday, or this is a regular thing. In either case it is sad.

If interested you can read about the article here. As a quick synopsis the article discusses a new possible development (yet to be rezoned for highrises) that sits on the same land as a historic home – termed as a historic resource. The home is not protected but allows for the potential to apply for incentives to protect the structure. GMH’s proposal, as a way to save the house, is to some how attach the historic house to the base of the building like a parasite.  The article is slightly vague about how  this would work exactly a but the rendering in my opinion is horrific. I am aware that this is an idealized version of a possible reality but the proposal sounds preposterous in the first place. It’s like a towering phallus with a a disproportionate testicle attached to the base.

9537451proposed design (yet to be approved)

I will concede that the historic home being preserved is a possible win. But I cannot condone the reluctance to acknowledge the historic home’s architectural elements or the surrounding neighbourhood in the proposed tower design.  The thought of the two entities being tied together as suggested in the article gives me pause. I tried a google search of GMH Architects but nothing much comes up except for their website which is now under construction. I look forward to one day meeting this firm (and the developer) to discuss the monumental design oversight they are making by ignoring the surrounding cues and their elementary nod towards building what they think people want and not building what the community and developer can benefit from together. Especially since it is kiddy corner to the Quarters which is an area being redeveloped.

This is my least favourite quote from the article:
“This one has sat for quite a while. The province and the city are catching up to where they should be (with sustainable planning) and the opportunities are there.”

If things like this aren’t opposed or even mentioned in a public forum what’s to stop others from continuing the blatant disregard of possible progressive and intelligently designed spaces. If this “opportunity” is part of Edmonton’s future and we are all ok with it, we have a big problem. 

 site context photos (compliments of google maps):

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.23.22 PMthe historic house they aim to ‘preserve’ in the distance near the centre – click on image to view larger

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.18.04 PMThe tower gang along Jasper Ave. It should pop up  behind the closest building.