Sitting at Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner Museum waiting for the Pug Awards to begin.
While I’m doing that I am enjoying a $9.00 glass of Norman Hardie 2006 Chardonnay ($35) from Prince Edward County….hey good stuff doesn’t come cheap.
Expected for the Roundtable Discussion:
The event is delayed in getting underway. The room is packed. While we wait….The Pug’s have some additional resources:
Here are the nominees for 2008:
Argyle Authentic Lofts
Infinity Condominiums I
One City Hall
Pinnacle Centre – Tower 2
Quantum 1 – South Tower
Residences of College Park I
Wellington on the Park
Windermere by the Lake
We’re about to begin. Anna Simone of Ciccone Simone is mc’ing. Usual thank yous and some history of the Pug Awards which started in 2004.
Michael Cane, creator of Kontent Group is moderating the panel.
The panel listed above is being introduced.
Short video from the CBC’s The Agenda with Steven Pakin discussing the Michael Lee Chin Crystal @ the ROM. Christopher Hume likes it.
Question: Why is there no consensus on the Crystal?
Bruce Kuwabara likes it but theres debate within his family.
Julie Di Lorenzo’s daughter is fascinated byt it which is ok by her. She doesn’t like it but its groing on her.
Gary Switzer doesn’t mince words….he HATES it! He REALLY, REALLY hates it!
Kyle Rae approved it on council so…… Rae thinks it makes a tremendous statement. Ask Christopher Hume stated “Torontoians love mediocrity”.
Question: Does Toronto suffer from bad architecture or bad planning?
Kyle Rae discusses the public involvement or lack thereof in the planning process. Density/anti-height lobby makes it difficult.
Julie states that “scale is fundamental” Participation has increased over the years.
Bruce believes “every building is a city”. He speaks to architects having to love cities in order to make good buildings in a city.
Follow-up question regarding Bruce’s redesign of the Royal Conservatory of Music next door to the ROM. He speaks of the difficult decisions and the different surfaces and textures used. “Contrast is good” amongst the ROM, Conservatory and Gardiner.
Question: Do buildings suffer from lack of design and poor build & construction?
Gary says “its not a question of bad materials its what a architect does with them”. Using 18 Yorkville as an example of using quality products. Is stating how blogs and the internet have opened up the discussion of what is happening in other cities that are not happening in Toronto.
Question: Do projects like City Place live up to the ideal or are the worthy of the criticism?
Bruce thinks Calatrava should have designed parts of the railway lands surrounding City Place. Thinks lots of opportunity has been missed in terms of living in the area.
Kyle discusses some of the history in developing the railway lands. Office space originally turned into residential space due to the economy. OMB is once again the culprit in it all. The Vcr. developer lost the translation from Vancouver to Toronto.
Question: where does the responsibility lie for projects like the Donlands? Is it the city? The developer?
Gary’s Great Gulf Homes is bidding on the Waterfront development. Says the density is too high. Thinks it should be some very tall buildings, some short buildings and public space.
Kyle agrees with Gary. Planning dept. had a build form that didn’t have a buyer. No one was interested. Torontoians have a viceral reaction to the waterfront.
Julie thinks we’ve come a long way in a pallet of materials. They are getting better. She’s saying we need to broaden the pallet. Develop and share new materials. Hopes to develop a resource book.
Question: What is your vision of Toronto? If you can dream a dream.
Gary: We think Toronto is the centre of the universe. Does it end at Eglinton? Basic things have to be done by the city. Toronto has grand visions but fail to execute on them. We have great neighbouthoods like Cabbagetown and the Annex. We need to move north of the downtown and around it.
Bruce: city of Jane Jacobs and Marshall McLullan. Its a city engaged with the world. One of the few in the world willing accepting immigrants. The Crystal is a leading example of reaching out to the world. We need to know the difference between excellent and good. We need to ask for it and raise the bar. Demand it and ask for it. Berlin debates architecture every day. They have a real vision. The public realm is very involved. The future is happening right now.
Jule: difference between residential and commercial projects. Architects don’t like balconies. You get good architecture if you focus on the material pallet. Bring in the science of materials to improive the residental perspective.
Kyle: Thinks we haven’t seen the greatness of Toronto. Its not Brampton (haha). Toronto doesn’t like change but we need to accept it. We need to keep changing and moving forward.
Wrapping up the panel. Questions from the audience. About to announce the Pug Award winners.
1st question: is blasting the OMB and why they suck! Kyle Rae agrees. OMB is a creature of the Province. Gary thanks the OMB because the Municpal level does such a poor job.
2nd question: Why do we have such bad sidewalks? Kyle Rae blames the weather that destroys the roads & sidewalks. Widening of sidewalks and a $20M project about to happen on Bloor St. from Avenue Rd to Church St.
3rd question: How do we get good projects done outside of the downtown core? Gary says to ask the govt to get involved. Jule thinks it comes back to the use of materials in areas like Jane & Finch. Improved public transit leads to intensification and then better use of materials.
Pug Ed Award: Lisa Clemo – Jesse Ketchum Public School
Residential Award: Argyle Authentic Lofts 91.4% of votes
Commercial/Institutional Award: Hazelton Hotel 69% of votes
And that’s a wrap!