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-   -   [Halifax] Queen's Marque | 30 m | 10 fl | U/C (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum//showthread.php?t=145372)

Keith P. May 10, 2016 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark (Post 7436672)
I think that's a valid concern, actually. I've often wondered if the Marriott Hotel is the reason that waterfront pedestrian traffic pretty much stops at the north end of the boardwalk, even though it continues around the perimeter of the building. The hotel feels like a barrier to the pedestrian rather than a continuation of the boardwalk.

That said, there's not much to do beyond there, except to go to the casino (which is more easily accessed through the pedways IMHO). So it may not be blamed entirely on the hotel's layout.

When the Marriott was built in the early '80s, was there even a boardwalk?

The entire thing is ill-conceived IMO. This is one of my long-standing complaints about the ballyhooed waterfront. The newer sections at the south end are better because they were actually conceived from the start as a boardwalk, but there is little of interest along the way. Once you hit Summit Place there are more points of interest but there are a number of dipsy-doodles you need to take along the way or else you will tumble into the harbour. Then you hit the Ferry Terminal area and Historic Properties and it all falls apart. A narrow passage behind the terminal leads you into a bottleneck behind that little park, then you bang square into the ill-conceived food court building that makes you go inside it to pass through unless you want to go all the way around. Then the former Bluenose slip at Historic Properties requires another detour before you run into the Marriott and pretty much the end of the line. I think the whole thing needs a rethink. Not that it should be a completely straight line but there are a number of changes that are needed to improve flow and make it more welcoming.

counterfactual May 10, 2016 3:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beyeas (Post 7436595)
Yeah that I was what I was trying to get across in my post above as well. Massing on Water Street aside, the other big issue is how people access and flow through to the plaza space. Right now it really doesn't feel like this would have any continuity with the boardwalk space, and instead is its own separated area. I respect Mackay-Lyons comment about have a sheltered space, but if it is so sheltered that it becomes uninviting to flow through it, then we have effectively a barrier separating a non-contiguous North and South boardwalk area.

This is a very good point; I like the design overall, but it needs to be opened up so it's inviting for people to continue walking through the main plaza onward along the waterfront without having to zigzag out along the wharfs.

Also the massing on the main block needs to be reduced in the center -- if not separated totally than maybe have a low connector there, so it doesn't look like this monolithic block all along there. Needs some variation there.

Drybrain May 10, 2016 3:26 PM

I think the Historic Properties boardwalk and patios work pretty well, and the rest of the boardwalk does too, but the ferry terminal disrupts the flow between the two, and the Historic Properties suffer as a result.

The Marriott doesn't work at all. As far as I'm concerned, the waterfront ends at the Lower Deck, though it does technically extend to the casino. (Hey, why don't we blow up the casino and put Queen's Marque there? Talk about Maritime kitsch...)

OldDartmouthMark May 10, 2016 4:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 7436705)
When the Marriott was built in the early '80s, was there even a boardwalk?

I can't remember for sure, but I don't think that there was a boardwalk in the area when the (then) Sheraton Hotel was built. I'm pretty sure it was an afterthought.

Quote:

The entire thing is ill-conceived IMO. This is one of my long-standing complaints about the ballyhooed waterfront. The newer sections at the south end are better because they were actually conceived from the start as a boardwalk, but there is little of interest along the way. Once you hit Summit Place there are more points of interest but there are a number of dipsy-doodles you need to take along the way or else you will tumble into the harbour. Then you hit the Ferry Terminal area and Historic Properties and it all falls apart. A narrow passage behind the terminal leads you into a bottleneck behind that little park, then you bang square into the ill-conceived food court building that makes you go inside it to pass through unless you want to go all the way around. Then the former Bluenose slip at Historic Properties requires another detour before you run into the Marriott and pretty much the end of the line. I think the whole thing needs a rethink. Not that it should be a completely straight line but there are a number of changes that are needed to improve flow and make it more welcoming.
Great points. I've never been a fan of how bleak it feels walking around the back of the ferry terminal behind the Law Courts building (which wouldn't break my heart if it were some day torn down and replaced) and then having to go through the old food court building is preposterous. The dock with the criss cross pattern behind the hotel is a nice space, and I've never understood why they haven't done something more with it, like having food vendors or something (awesome spot for a Stillwell-type beer garden, except for the possibility of drunks falling off the pier). Building the boardwalk out in the old Bluenose docking area would alleviate that bottleneck and perhaps allow the Lower Deck to extend its patio somewhat as well - then carry the walkway straight through to link up with the one behind the hotel better. :hmmm:

So, yeah, a complete revamp should be done of the north end of the boardwalk, and it could become a great place to spend an afternoon (though admittedly, it's still quite popular as-is).

Boardwalk on Bing Maps birdseye view

Ziobrop May 10, 2016 4:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eastcoastal (Post 7436671)
To be fair, I think some of what he points out is pretty funny: a pre-occupation with being local (I DO really appreciate that the architects are local, something that's missing from the Convention Centre, and sorta missing from the library where the headliners were fancy come-from-aways who were supported by local joes) contrasted with illustrative photos that are the antithesis of local.

Noel Fowler Did the Nova Center - He is local, though he is associated with IBI (which is based in Toronto)

The fluf about the development is pretty meh - so Tim was right to mock it. as for this - MLS is known for their modern vernacular. im not sure im seeing it in this. I generally like it - but the ramp thing on the pier with the art tower bit needs to go. just leave us a straight pier.

Keith P. May 10, 2016 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark (Post 7436777)
The dock with the criss cross pattern behind the hotel is a nice space, and I've never understood why they haven't done something more with it, like having food vendors or something (awesome spot for a Stillwell-type beer garden, except for the possibility of drunks falling off the pier). Building the boardwalk out in the old Bluenose docking area would alleviate that bottleneck and perhaps allow the Lower Deck to extend its patio somewhat as well - then carry the walkway straight through to link up with the one behind the hotel better. :hmmm:


I was told back in the '80s that the dock you refer to near Purdy's was massively overbuilt by the Navy way back when and was designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Although what you would do with it afterwards is perhaps a moot point. Still, I agree that it seems woefully underutilized.

teddifax May 10, 2016 5:29 PM

There was a proposal MANY years ago for that concrete pier, but it was shot down as it wasn't wide enough to provide fire protection should the need arise to have fire engines on that pier. I can't remember the proposal, but I think it involved townhomes being built on it.

someone123 May 11, 2016 12:24 AM

The Historic Properties wharves have a similar configuration as far as the circulation of pedestrian traffic is concerned. I don't think they are much of a barrier, and the courtyard space is arguably the most architecturally interesting spot along the waterfront. It also functions pretty well as an event space; a larger courtyard would be better and that's what the new development has.

I agree somewhat with the massing complaints but then again variety is important too. Most of the waterfront, Bishop's Landing included, feels too low slung and open if anything (the Salter block is a huge open space). Windswept park-like waterfronts are a dime a dozen whereas this development is somewhat unusual for North America.

Keith P. May 11, 2016 1:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 7437445)
The Historic Properties wharves have a similar configuration as far as the circulation of pedestrian traffic is concerned. I don't think they are much of a barrier, and the courtyard space is arguably the most architecturally interesting spot along the waterfront. It also functions pretty well as an event space; a larger courtyard would be better and that's what the new development has.

I have no idea what you are talking about here.

Quote:

I agree somewhat with the massing complaints but then again variety is important too. Most of the waterfront, Bishop's Landing included, feels too low slung and open if anything (the Salter block is a huge open space). Windswept park-like waterfronts are a dime a dozen whereas this development is somewhat unusual for North America.
Well, the Salter block is undeveloped space, the last of the old parking lots left from the clearing that took place in the early '70s. Given the glacial place of WDC in getting spaces developed perhaps that will remain that way for the remainder of our natural lives.

It is interesting to look back on 40 years or so of WDC actions regarding the waterfront. I cannot help but feel that it has all been terribly squandered. Nothing built over all that time is particularly impressive or even all that interesting.

counterfactual May 11, 2016 1:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 7437445)
The Historic Properties wharves have a similar configuration as far as the circulation of pedestrian traffic is concerned. I don't think they are much of a barrier, and the courtyard space is arguably the most architecturally interesting spot along the waterfront. It also functions pretty well as an event space; a larger courtyard would be better and that's what the new development has.

I agree somewhat with the massing complaints but then again variety is important too. Most of the waterfront, Bishop's Landing included, feels too low slung and open if anything (the Salter block is a huge open space). Windswept park-like waterfronts are a dime a dozen whereas this development is somewhat unusual for North America.

Always thoughtful, someone123. These are very good points, particularly on the latter re: massing.

I think this would add a very interesting new dimension to the waterfront, which is why I like it overall.

I don't mind the ramp pier at all; again, it offers some variation, a bit of a modern touch. We have regular pier for the rest of the waterfront.

someone123 May 11, 2016 3:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 7437475)
I have no idea what you are talking about here.

I'm talking about the area around the Lower Deck, Salty's, etc. If you don't want to enter those long buildings it's a bit of a walk to get around them; the distances are about the same or maybe longer than the distance you'd have to walk to get around Queen's Marque, since Queen's Marque has passageways for pedestrians on the Water Street side and below the "finger wharf" portions of the building.

The blocked views don't seem to matter either. If you're in the courtyard east of the building formerly labelled "Morse's Teas", you can't see up and down the waterfront, but that doesn't seem to stop people from exploring. There are people walking around that area because it has things worth visiting (unique buildings, shops, and museums), not because of its sight lines. I think the broken up space and the contrast between open and enclosed space makes the waterfront much more interesting than it would be as a large open area.

The more I think about the Queen's Marque proposal the more I see it as a huge step forward. I think it'll really tie together the central part of the waterfront and downtown. Downtown Halifax used to be very shabby and hit-or-miss; some stretches were nice but others were full of parking lots. Soon however it'll be more or less evenly built up, with few surface lots and a much greater density of things worth seeing on foot.

counterfactual May 11, 2016 4:31 AM

I agree, I don't see anything here that will stop pedestrian flow. There are already some awkward blockages all along the waterfront, which doesn't deter people walking; and certainly the big parking lot / vacant lots don't either further up the boardwalk. This will add a really interesting dimension to the waterfront.

I actually really like the graduated pier as a new kind of public gathering space near the water, beyond the typical benches on traditional piers.

I also love the idea, suggested by others above, of putting a big arch right in the middle of that central massing along Water street. That would break it up, and also bring a historic aspect to the design.

And the fingers jutting out -- they're different, but again, really add something we don't have. Imagine a cafe up top there with stunning views of the waterfront? I love that, and beyond the Halifax Market roof, there's nothing similar along the waterfront for the public (the old Harbour side had something like that where you could buy a coffee and sit in that shared space, but now that's been closed off by the Hart and Thistle and now Gahan Pub).

beyeas May 11, 2016 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by someone123 (Post 7437546)
... since Queen's Marque has passageways for pedestrians on the Water Street side and below the "finger wharf" portions of the building.

I hadn't noticed that until I was looking much more closely at the renderings last night. It isn't exactly entirely obvious that those are passageways at first glance, but once I realized that there is some sort of direct route and some sort of linear sightline along the boardwalk through those passageways I felt a bit better about this.

Jonovision May 12, 2016 9:50 PM

I've been concerned about those bottlenecks as well, but the DRC agenda has been updated online and their presentation for tonights meeting is now up.

http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/drc/...reet-8.2.1.pdf

You can see if you look closely that the two passages under the building are directly in line with each other and are also 45 feet wide, much wider than any of the other significant bottlenecks along the boardwalk at the moment so I don't think this will be much of an issue.

While at first I really liked the idea of putting in a large arch as the main entrance off of lower water, it would be a very awkward design as those types of formal entrances to a space should be located at the foot of a street, and not facing a big blank wall on a tight street, which is what would happen here.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7058/...607a75d1_h.jpgqueen4 by Jonovision23, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7055/...fddd5680_h.jpgqueen2 by Jonovision23, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7238/...8b5a68b9_h.jpgqueen3 by Jonovision23, on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7334/...56378e4a_h.jpgqueen by Jonovision23, on Flickr

portapetey May 12, 2016 11:05 PM

If you think about it, in many ways the overall form is similar to Bishop's Landing.

I don't think I realized when looking at the original pics that this thing is actually about 9-10 stories tall. That'll be sure to cause a ruckus.

someone123 May 12, 2016 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by portapetey (Post 7439919)
If you think about it, in many ways the overall form is similar to Bishop's Landing.

Bishop's Landing's design was also based on the "finger wharf" footprint. I would consider this one to be an evolved and improved version of that. Bishop's Landing has a parking lot and private space (pool, etc.) where this one has open public space. Bishop's Landing doesn't have open paths for pedestrians. On a more subjective front, I think this new proposal has more elegant design and they seem to be proposing nicer materials. There's also a bigger public art component and/or more interesting public space, depending on how you want to look at it (the lighthouse thing and the steps down into the water).

Bishop's Landing was a pretty big win for the waterfront despite its shortcomings so I think this one will be too.

Quote:

I don't think I realized when looking at the original pics that this thing is actually about 9-10 stories tall. That'll be sure to cause a ruckus.
Presumably it conforms to HRM by Design though so opposition based on height won't be grounds for appeal. Maybe some of the BANANAs can instead show their opposition in the meetings by holding their breath until they turn red in the face and pass out, giving the rest of the city a break for once.

ns_kid May 13, 2016 11:11 AM

The Queen's marque proposal earned rave reviews at Design Review Committee last night. An approval vote is months away but members gave full marks to the concept. Quoted by ANS, committee member and architect Anna Sampson said, "It is a pleasure to look at the renderings of a building and understand what you were trying to do with the architecture. That was a beautiful moment."

Keith P. May 13, 2016 11:29 AM

That sounds like celebrity-architect-swooning from one architect to another. I find it odd that the general reaction I have heard is not very positive yet the DRC loves it.

Ziobrop May 13, 2016 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith P. (Post 7440272)
That sounds like celebrity-architect-swooning from one architect to another. I find it odd that the general reaction I have heard is not very positive yet the DRC loves it.

you know - its growing on me.
my initial reaction was its good - i like it, but meh

the more i look at it - the more i like it

portapetey May 13, 2016 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ns_kid (Post 7440266)
The Queen's marque proposal earned rave reviews at Design Review Committee last night. An approval vote is months away but members gave full marks to the concept. Quoted by ANS, committee member and architect Anna Sampson said, "It is a pleasure to look at the renderings of a building and understand what you were trying to do with the architecture. That was a beautiful moment."

Well, what do WE armchair critics know? :shrug:


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