Sunday, December 27, 2009

Architecture shock

OCAD's extension, Toronto, Canada
 Josephine paying for parking with OCAD's addition in the background

I met a woman who teaches school in Florence, on the plane coming home from Italy
who explained that part of the reason Florence is so well preserved is because the 
people there are still living in the 14th century. Watching people stride around in their
slick poufy down coats and super leather bags I didn't get that impression. I've never seen 
so many scooters. But I suppose she means in an ideological way. In that case I said, deep
 in the throes of my missing the place I'd just left, I'm glad.
 The Duomo, Siena, Italy
Back home in this really wonderful city, which is politically correct almost to a fault, 
I find the main problem I face is that we rarely respect our older (and that is not that old my friend) architecture, and frequently add weird and bad onto old and not that great. Every time I
see this strange addition to the Ontario College of Art I feel surprised. I can't say I don't like
 it, because how can new things happen, and they have to, if change isn't given expression? 
 But the contrast between quattro centro Italy, and present day Toronto is dramatic. To say
 the least, and I admit it, one a half weeks later, it's still giving me pause. 

  Have a learning-to-love-change day.


Gwen Bell said...

Ack! That is truly visually assaulting. Especially when compared to that incredibly beautiful church. What were they thinking? LOL! Welcome Home!

Davide Tonizzo said...

Not to start a war with my neighbour, but OCAD is my favourite building in TO. I can understand your feelings toward it having just gotten back from Firenze and I agree that our city has a horrible record of not preserving it architectural heritage. But Wil Alsop's design is incredible. It is a spaceship of creativity hovering over community and inspiring us to venture further into the avant garde. No other buidling can boost that kind of metaphor. Great cities are like great DJs, mashing classics and the new into amazing tunes. London, Paris and NYC have amazing examples of this.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Gwen,

Well now -- I think visual assault is part of the deal. As in the excitement of visual assault.
Glad to be home!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Davide,

I didn't say I didn't like it. I said it's a shock. Isn't that the point? And aren't you a surprise? The problem is that it sits over one of the most boring, bad 50's or earlier buildings, and it cost 42 million to build, and it would have made more sense to spend the money pulling the whole thing down and starting over. I attended that college. I know. You do so want to fight with your neighbour! And that's okay. Our tastes are very different. But I think we can settle this over a bottle of wine or an espresso. The four of us need to meet!

Yours from the hood,


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