Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I always see neat things on the TTC The mural segment is at St clair West Station. The work is by Gordon Rayner. Intersting site on TTC Art The sign was at night on the back of a streetcar. I love the red of the seats, thought the orange peel was a nice contrast. Downsview is the only station on the TTC that gives me a sense that I am going through a gateway. The compass laid in the sidewalk outside the Wellesley station reminds me of early Twentieth Century street corner homes that have street names attached to them

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Don Jail

Willliam Thomas


"The “Old” Don Jail opened in 1864 and closed in 1977. It was Toronto’s fourth jail, replacing the one on the site of the old Parliament Buildings at Front and Parliament. While in the years just before it closed it was considered "an embarrassment to the Canadian criminal justice system," when it opened it was called the "Palace for Prisoners." at that time it represented a tremendous advance in the public attitude toward the treatment of law breakers. Until then, (as was then the world wide custom) prisoners had been confined in appalling and inhumane conditions. Its architect was William Thomas, who also designed St. Michael's Cathedral and St. Lawrence Hall. Construction started in October, 1859, and it was almost completed when, in 1862, a disastrous fire necessitated its rebuilding. The firm of William Thomas and Sons reconstructed the building, to his original plans, and it was occupied in January, 1864.
Willliam Thomas
William Thomas ranks as one of Canada's leading architects. He was born in Suffolk, England in 1799 and came to Canada in 1843, where with two of his sons, he established a successful architectural firm in Toronto. He was a master of Classic and Gothic design, and some of the finest buildings in Ontario were designed by the firm. He did not live to see the Don Jail completed as he died December 26, 1860. He is buried in St. James' Cemetery"

This building I find both fascinating and creepy. The last prisoner in Canada was hung there in the 1960's The carving over the door I call the jail god. The face is neither threatening or judgemental but seemingly all knowing yet oblivious I have gone by this entrance at least a thousand times and never noticed it before. The entrance is blocked by steel fence. I shot most of these photos during a snowstorm as a cheap way to highlight the eerie quality of the place. The barbed wire atop the west end of the old structure is oddly decorative. Regardless of the buildings function(s) the stone work is stunning. I will go back and shoot more of the carving.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Royal Bank Building 2 King Street East
1913 1915 Ross & MacDonald
This firm also did Maple Leaf Gardens, College Park, The Royal York Hotel, Union Station and the Hotel Fort Gary in Winnepeg to name a few. This building was the largest in the Britsih Empire when built (20 Stories). They are oh so serious in the sheer monumentality of this building . It is the wonderful eccentricities I find very cool. Whats up with cow skulls nestled between the cornacopias and Corinthian collumns? The top floors appear to be disigned to be viewed from the same level. Some kind of a nod to the movers and shakers who would be looking at each other from twenty stories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oddfellow's Hall

2 College St.

NW corner Yonge and College.

This building has allways engaged me as being out of place, even with it's contempory neighbours. Lots of details to experience , particulary the carvings and the "operater" elevator.

Dick and Wickson 1892

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Toronto design links

Spacing Magazine

They describe themslves;

"Public space is at the heart of democracy. It’s where people interact, teach, learn, participate, and protest.

But environmental degradation, commercial self-interest, and infrastructure neglect have come to dominate our cities’ streets. Fortunately, imaginative and passionate city-dwellers worldwide — and in Toronto in particular — appreciate the endless possibilities that cities can offer. They are resisting the co-option of their communities through random acts of beauty and intellect.

Inspired by these actions, we launched Spacing in December 2003 to cover the numerous political, cultural, and social issues affecting our lives in the public realm. We want the magazine to be an integral, independent, and unique voice that brings to life the joys and obstacles surrounding Toronto’s public spaces.

This city is a special place — we’re excited by its people and its neighbourhoods, its sidewalks and its graffiti. Spacing is here to help our readers understand and take ownership of Toronto's urban landscape

Design Exchange

234, Bay Street, P.O. Box 18,
Toronto Dominion Centre,Toronto,
ON M5K 1B2

Design Exchange gallery hours Monday-Friday 9am-5pmSunday-Saturday 12pm-5pm
Phone: 416. 363. 6121
Fax at 416. 368. 0684

From the about the dx page;

what is design?Design is an important component of our everyday lives. Product design, package design, brand and corporate identity, retail design, book and brochure design, interactive design (software, interactive information, interfaces), and design of buildings and environments represent the spheres of influence of design on our lives. The design disciplines of concentration for the DX include: ArchitectureFashion DesignUrban DesignIndustrial DesignLandscape Architecture Graphic DesignEngineering DesignTheatre DesignInterior DesignInteractive Media Design
our missionTo promote the value of Canadian design, through engaging and enriching programs.
our vision"Canada by Design" to establish Canada as a design leader worldwide.
our guiding principles1. Leveraging the Power of Design: Design has the power to create and sustain economic advantage for Canada and the role of the Design Exchange is to promote and leverage the value of design-led thinking to enable the business community to take full advantage of the opportunities that good design creates.
2. Establishing a Cohesive Design Sector Workforce: The role of the Design Exchange is to encourage and create incentives for design professionals from all disciplines to work together, across disciplines, in order to more efficiently and more effectively serve the needs of our business and social communities and to create competitive advantage.
3. Promoting Design Excellence: The concept of good design involves a strategic and creative process that integrates technical, functional, aesthetic, cultural and economic considerations. The Design Exchange facilitates new collaborative efforts to produce good Canadian design and promotes and celebrates Canadian design success stories.
4. Showcasing Good Design: The Design Exchange is North America’s premier Design Centre with exhibition, presentation and meeting space to showcase the best in Canadian design and to host public and private forums on design issues.
5. Connecting Through Networks: The Design Exchange builds links between education, business, designers, and the public through its programs, which outreach to national and international audiences.
dx goals• To be recognized internationally as a center of design excellence for Canada.• To build a Canadian brand identity, nationally and internationally.• To offer DX programs and services locally, provincially and nationally.• To operate efficiently and effectively with a stable financial platform.
our values• We value design excellence for all segments of the Canadian population.• We value designers and the design process across every discipline.• We value the role and power of design in the Canadian economy.• We value design’s contribution to quality of life for Canadians.• We value collaboration and interactivity between the DX and all Canadians.• We value the contribution of youth education programs to our future.• We value creativity and innovation. Joe Clark has a voracious appetite for design relating to typography, web design, accessibility, industrial design... Site features numerous links including a great site on saving Toronto's subways platform, ceramic tile station signs

Dominion Modern
From the Dominion Modern Museum Of Modern Architecture & Design home page;
Dominion Modern proposes to be a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding and widening thought and debate on the art of 20th century Canadian architecture and design, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.

The joy of this must view site is it's advocacy for preservation of modernist design in Canada.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ROM looking west from new entrance Daniel Libeskind 2007 View The Rom expansion"live" on webcam
Hey like art and everything maybe it's all, about lighting.

When I started this blog I thought it would be a better service not to mention my opinions. I was wrong. Here is a response I sent to CBC radio show Q segment on absurdest architecture;
Bad research for this segment guys. The so
called cuts on the surface of the new ROM building are a response/compromise to a truly absurd idea; build a museum out of glass. A truly stupid idea the god Daniel thought he could force on the curators and artifacts of the ROM. Part of his infamous muse on on a napkin. They compromised on cuts. Had Thorsell listened to the curators this post modernest schlock would never have been built. Larry Richards makes the equally dumb and insensitive statement that the curaters must meet the challenges of the designer. 200,000 dollars was recently spent to build a temporary 90 degree vertical wall to hang art in the new ROM. It was removed after the show ( see recent Globe And Mail articles) The basement exhibit space where Canada collects is being shown is a ugly forest of pillars that detracts and distracts from the artifacts (yet it is require to support the absurd structure).
Mr. Thorsell and the god Daniel were only accountable to their desire to build a "world class" venue. Their mark on Toronto is a 350 million dollar stain on Toronto's reputation. A very bad expensive joke that won't go away for 150 years.
Remember the skydome?
By the way this renovation added no display space to the museum. It is world class absurd.
In all fairness the high priced Chaska shop and the restaurant are both very impressive and appear designed to be able to sell things.
Here is a interesting comment on Denver's Gift from God Daniel ( ; The problem is deficit spending, with the museum's projected shortfall for the year estimated at anywhere from $4 million to $10 million. That's a lot of scratch. Part of the reason -- but only one small part -- is salaries, since the museum hired more than sixty new staffers to open the Frederic C. Hamilton Building last fall. The extra staff was brought on in anticipation of a million visitors to the now-world-famous Daniel Libeskind building. This projection was wildly optimistic -- and not just in retrospect. Nearly all of the potential audience for the Hamilton comes from the state of Colorado, which has a population of roughly 4 million -- and did anyone really believe that one out of every four people were going to show up?

Well, at the DAM, they did believe it, and hiring decisions were made based on those inflated projections. Because the DAM has been hoisted on its own demographic petard, it is widely believed that attendance has been low or even dismal. But that's not entirely true, since 380,000 people have already gone through the place, and it's well on target to post the largest number of annual visitors in the institution's more than 100-year history. It's already surpassed every year but a few when blockbusters ruled the DAM. It should also be mentioned that the blizzard in December and bad weather in January definitely had a negative effect on attendance. According to the museum, upwards of 50,000 people were kept away -- and I don't doubt it.

But attendance shortfall is only part of the problem. Worse are the tremendous maintenance costs associated with the complicated building, and with its serious structural problems. The most obvious of these is the problem with the atrium's roof. (That's why there is scaffolding where the monumental sculpture "Spider," by Louise Bourgeois, used to be.) If you look closely, you'll notice that the raised box beams, which are purely decorative, have been removed from around the skylights because they were identified as a primary cause of the roof problems. Plus, the condensation on the inside of the exterior walls on levels three and four may require a heating-and-cooling system between the skin and the interior. Unlike the roof, however, that fix won't be covered by insurance, as it was anticipated but not budgeted.

The bare-bones construction budget is itself another problem -- though I do think it was the right decision. To bring in a $500 million building, which is what the Hamilton looks like, for the $110 million that it actually cost, museum decision-makers went for cheap. Good money was spent on the exterior, but the inside was filled with low-cost materials. I remember being shocked when I first entered the finished building and took in the vacant-looking lobby with its plain-Jane walls and Home Depot-quality granite floors.

And I think this brings us back to the attendance problem, because although the outside of the museum has a big "wow" factor, the interior --aside from the atrium -- absolutely doesn't. I'm confident that word of mouth has made many people happy to drive by but willing to skip going inside.

From my point of view, this lobby problem can be solved by properly furnishing it and bringing in some more art. It may have been an unhappy circumstance that brought the Bourgeois inside, but that space really needed something. Now that the museum has gotten real about attendance -- you don't want a lobby cluttered with furniture and sculpture when there are a million people coming through -- it's time to make the area into something smashing."

The province of Ontario just helped ROM refinance a 85 million dollar loan spent on THE CRYSTAL I guess it would sound familiar if your guys at research did the research. The Denver building's first mock up was a crystal as well.
I guess all that matters in a second tier provincial or state capital with 4 million people is that you have a Daniel Libeskind just like Berlin has one.

Second floor The Colonnade Bloor Street west at Avenue Road Gerald Robinson with Tampold & Wells 1961 -64

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