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-   -   [Halifax] NFB Building | 15 m | 7 fl | U/C (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=183321)

cormiermax Jan 8, 2013 1:40 AM

A restoration can be done quite successfully if proper materials are used, and an attention to detail is present. I would be surprised if these components where missing with this project.

Keith P. Jan 8, 2013 2:10 AM

The reality is that the fire 20 years ago did us a huge favor by giving us the opportunity to finally rid ourselves of this eyesore. And as usual, Halifax turns its back on opportunity and remains stuck in the mud.

Drybrain Jan 8, 2013 3:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 5963710)
The reality is that the fire 20 years ago did us a huge favor by giving us the opportunity to finally rid ourselves of this eyesore. And as usual, Halifax turns its back on opportunity and remains stuck in the mud.

I'm really curious where your antipathy to old buildings (and, apparently, the Victorian/Gothic look especially) comes from. Obviously a huge majority of Haligonians would disagree that a destructive fire in a historic quarter of the city is a "favour." Seriously-why the dislike?

OldDartmouthMark Jan 8, 2013 4:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 5963625)
Not if the materials used are actually high quality and equivalent to the original, which I anticipate for a project like this they would be. This kind of thing has been done all over the world to repair damaged buildings. On a small scale, we have Forbes Restoration, re-Victorianizing houses in the north end (Check out their before-and-after photos.)

You could argue that what they're doing is faux, but presumably they're basing these restorations on what the buildings were likely to look like when originally constructed, before bad renos removed detailing, etc. And even if it's just fanciful, I'd rather the north end look like that than see the structures left looking like vinyl-clad shacks.

I've posted this before, as well, but it's a pretty stunning project that proves few buildings are too far gone to save if one has the inclination. Involved lots of reconstruction of ruined brickwork and trim. And the developers weren't even required to do it--it wasn't a heritage structure and there was no mobilization to save the building. They just WANTED to do it.

Very cool... thanks for posting those links!

Personally, I'd like to see the term "faux heritage" stricken from the language as it tends to suggest that all architectural styles from the past are no longer valid. As long as it's done right, it's just another architectural style... nothing "faux" about it.

There, now that I'm done with my rant :rolleyes: I'm all for restoring these facades and building new structures behind them. It all makes for a visually interesting Barrington Street and will contribute greatly to making that area of town viable and vibrant rather than rundown and vacant. IMHO, the only sin here, as mentioned, is that it took them 20 years to do something about it.

Just for interest, here's a pic I found on the NS archives site (http://gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/EastC...es.asp?ID=4462) that shows how these buildings looked in 1945 (right after the VE day riots):

http://i45.tinypic.com/2a9v41t.jpg

Looking forward to seeing how this project pans out. :tup:

Hali87 Jan 8, 2013 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark (Post 5964352)
Personally, I'd like to see the term "faux heritage" stricken from the language as it tends to suggest that all architectural styles from the past are no longer valid. As long as it's done right, it's just another architectural style... nothing "faux" about it.

I would say that "as long as it's done right" then it's not truly "faux heritage". But what if it's done wrong/half-assed, as is often the case? THAT is what I would call faux-heritage. I'll see if I can find any good examples...

edit:
Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Here are some examples of "heritage based" buildings/streetscapes that look pretty good:

Example 5
Example 6 (debatable)

Then there are projects like Bishop's Landing and the Vic which combine traditional elements with modern ones, generally resulting in good design. Founder's Corner in Dartmouth would be another "debatable".

cormiermax Jan 9, 2013 12:03 AM

A good example would be a lot of strip malls built today trying to mimic classical details. Thats faux heritage.

Keith P. Jan 9, 2013 12:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hali87 (Post 5965152)
I would say that "as long as it's done right" then it's not truly "faux heritage". But what if it's done wrong/half-assed, as is often the case? THAT is what I would call faux-heritage. I'll see if I can find any good examples...

edit:
Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Those are all truly hideous. Even sadder is that the first two are across the street from each other.

Quote:

Here are some examples of "heritage based" buildings/streetscapes that look pretty good:

Example 5
Example 6 (debatable)

Then there are projects like Bishop's Landing and the Vic which combine traditional elements with modern ones, generally resulting in good design. Founder's Corner in Dartmouth would be another "debatable".
I would disagree that any of these examples are any better than the awful ones you cited earlier. The townhouses just look like cheap boxes, the Gladstone homes look terrible close-up, and Bishop's Landing has always looked like it was built using leftover materials bought in job lots from Happy Harry's.

Keith P. Jan 9, 2013 12:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 5963816)
I'm really curious where your antipathy to old buildings (and, apparently, the Victorian/Gothic look especially) comes from. Obviously a huge majority of Haligonians would disagree that a destructive fire in a historic quarter of the city is a "favour." Seriously-why the dislike?

You are confusing the fire itself with the result. The fire was not in itself a good thing - the building at that time was still in use IIRC, so it was not the burden it has become for the last 20 years. But spending tax money to preserve a beat-up damaged and unremarkable facade of a gutted building for 20 years was not demanded by a "huge majority" - it was demanded by a loud, entitled, squeaky-wheel special interest group that is made up of a handful of latte-drinking CBC devotees that are the Heritage Trust, who didn't want their city-subsidized clubhouse in the hideous Khyber Building disfigured by having anything modern on that block. They are the only ones who wanted this thing to remain empty and undeveloped for 20 years.

Drybrain Jan 9, 2013 1:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 5965220)
You are confusing the fire itself with the result. The fire was not in itself a good thing - the building at that time was still in use IIRC, so it was not the burden it has become for the last 20 years. But spending tax money to preserve a beat-up damaged and unremarkable facade of a gutted building for 20 years was not demanded by a "huge majority" - it was demanded by a loud, entitled, squeaky-wheel special interest group that is made up of a handful of latte-drinking CBC devotees that are the Heritage Trust, who didn't want their city-subsidized clubhouse in the hideous Khyber Building disfigured by having anything modern on that block. They are the only ones who wanted this thing to remain empty and undeveloped for 20 years.

"Latte drinking CBC devotees" is a fairly broad caricature (it's 2013--I no longer think lattes are the province of the elite). And as far as the Heritage Trust, I agree with you--they're obstructionist. And, it must be said, pretty useless at heritage preservation, obsessed as they are with viewplanes.

Anyway, there's no sense arguing about aesthetics. What you call unremarkable, I call beautiful. As do most of us. I think if you trotted the average Haligonian, or anyone, by the Khyber and asked them to pass aesthetic judgement, they'd have nice things to say. And unfortunately, due to substantial losses during the 60s urban-renewal years, Barrington is our longest (mostly intact) commercial heritage strip. It's a boon to the city, and as I said, simply measuring that value in dollars isn't sufficient.

Drybrain Jan 9, 2013 1:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hali87 (Post 5965152)
I would say that "as long as it's done right" then it's not truly "faux heritage". But what if it's done wrong/half-assed, as is often the case? THAT is what I would call faux-heritage. I'll see if I can find any good examples...

edit:
Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Here are some examples of "heritage based" buildings/streetscapes that look pretty good:

Example 5
Example 6 (debatable)

Then there are projects like Bishop's Landing and the Vic which combine traditional elements with modern ones, generally resulting in good design. Founder's Corner in Dartmouth would be another "debatable".

I like Founder's Corner, though it's definitely imperfect. But yeah, the first four on that list are all awful, no disagreement. New design should look new, absolutely--I'm only advocating for repairing damaged or destroyed buildings of a different era, rather than constructing entirely new structures with an old-timey look out of nostalgia or lack of imagination.

Take the old Victorian rowhouses that burned down at Hollis and South--they were such a landmark to that area, bordering Cornwallis Park, that I'd be thrilled to see them reconstructed so as to be indistinguishable from before. There are precedents for that kind of thing: I remember being shocked to discover a 19th-century fire hall around the corner from an old apartment of mine in Toronto had burned down in the 70s and been entirely rebuilt with savaged original materials, and some newly quarried brick.

BUT, barring something really ambitious like that, it should be a genuinely contemporary design. Nothing could be worse than some pointy-roofed monstrosity like that big grey thing on Dresden Row linked to above.

Hali87 Jan 9, 2013 2:12 AM

Even if they'd done something as simple as, I dunno, not making every "unit" in that building cement-grey, I think it could have looked better than it does.

someone123 Jan 9, 2013 4:18 AM

The Gottingen and Kaye example is a pretty good demonstration of how heritage mimicry can fail, and how little it actually matters. That building has numerous problems: bad proportions, no storefronts in a commercial area, and uninviting plinth architecture. At the other end of the block is Garden Stone Place:

http://www.starbuckseverywhere.net/b.../DSCN21843.jpg
Source

This building is not perfect either but it complements the commercial nature of the area and it fits in better with its neighbours despite the fact that it is built in a more modern style.

Ultimately I think heritage vs. modern architectural styling is largely irrelevant in terms of determining whether or not buildings look good, whether they will benefit the area they are built in, or even whether or not they will complement or clash with other buildings. Instead the real question is whether or not a building is well-designed, whatever the style.

eastcoastal Jan 9, 2013 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 5965308)
"Latte drinking CBC devotees" is a fairly broad caricature (it's 2013--I no longer think lattes are the province of the elite). ...

Doesn't Tim Horton's serve "lattes" now?

OldDartmouthMark Jan 9, 2013 2:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 5965500)
Ultimately I think heritage vs. modern architectural styling is largely irrelevant in terms of determining whether or not buildings look good, whether they will benefit the area they are built in, or even whether or not they will complement or clash with other buildings. Instead the real question is whether or not a building is well-designed, whatever the style.

Thank you! That is entirely the point I was trying to make.

:cheers:

someone123 Mar 16, 2013 5:35 AM

I don't think this article ever made it into the thread: http://thechronicleherald.ca/busines...-redevelopment

It is very encouraging. I tend to be sceptical of "only months away" type announcements, but this would be a big deal even though it's a small project. When you add up all the stuff happening along the street it is a pretty dramatic overhaul. If the city also follows through with some improvements to the street it will be like night and day.

To add to the discussion above, the Grainery Lofts and Waterford buildings are two examples of heritage-style buildings that look pretty good. In both cases they are relatively simple.

Another funny thing I've never really thought of is how the newer buildings on Cunard Street and South Street are almost exactly the same. The one by Fenwick looks like Armoury Square and the one by Wellington Street looks like the one by Robie. They are not my favourite buildings but you could do worse for "background" residential buildings.

Nifta Mar 16, 2013 11:41 AM

If this gets going too, Barrington will be well on its way to a full recovery.

Drybrain Mar 16, 2013 3:27 PM

The fact that the owner and architect were both involved in the Freemasons's Hall restoration is a very encouraging sign. This is also supposed to involve a recreation of the mansard roof, which was lost in the fire.

fenwick16 Mar 16, 2013 3:29 PM

This will be a big plus for Barrington Street. I think that the old NFB building has an impressive facade.

someone123 Mar 16, 2013 5:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6054333)
The fact that the owner and architect were both involved in the Freemasons's Hall restoration is a very encouraging sign. This is also supposed to involve a recreation of the mansard roof, which was lost in the fire.

Yes, I think this is why they mention 4 floors.

Keith Hall also originally had a mansard roof and it is in the process of being restored. Many buildings in Halifax have been stripped of their ornamentation over the years. One big example I can think of is the former post office, now AGNS, which used to have a cupola. The courthouse on Spring Garden had a cupola too.

someone123 Apr 30, 2013 2:30 AM

An open house is going to be held on May 8 for this development (exact details might be on the HRM website somewhere).

The plan is to begin construction this summer.


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