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  #61  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 4:59 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Approved by the Design Review Committee in their December 17 meeting: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/boa...mittee-special
Great news! I look forward to seeing this done as it will clear up what IMHO is the biggest eyesore empty lot downtown, that has been left vacant for far too long.
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  #62  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 5:53 PM
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Here are a couple items from the report.

Nice visual rhythm of medium height buildings along Granville here. Presumably the plan is still to eliminate this Province House surface parking when the underground parking is added.


Interesting how the streetwall height variance relates back to the demolished 1912 building. Reminds me of how the NFB redevelopment would have required a variance to rebuild the original Victorian structure.
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  #63  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 6:14 PM
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The new building portion will have the blank wall facing Barrington St. Maybe get a mural on that huge wall to replace the one that will be covered up facing north on the existing Barrington Storefront buildings. I don't want to see a blank wall forever there!
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  #64  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 6:45 PM
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Here are a couple items from the report.

Nice visual rhythm of medium height buildings along Granville here. Presumably the plan is still to eliminate this Province House surface parking when the underground parking is added.
I think this will be good ultimately, but it is a bit more facade-y than ideal. Basically, the Acadian Recorder and Dennis will be demolished altogether, with the exception of the first 4.6 metres of their front facades (and in the Dennis' case, its north facade as well).

There's a bit of that "new building using an old one as wallpaper" feel here. Not as bad Founder's Square, for example, but still noticeable. I would rather see the Acadian Recorder restored, and this building wrapped around it. (The Dennis doesn't suffer much from that wallpaper effect since it's larger, but it would still be nice to see the new development cede a bit more space on the north side.)

Still looking forward to it, but my enthusiasm is a little qualified.
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  #65  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 6:54 PM
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I think in most cities the Dennis Building and Acadian Recorder would be restored and the infill would be built on the empty footprint.

Not sure if the Acadian Recorder and Dennis will have their own entrances. I am also not sure if Founders Square is all mall/lobby inside with the one entrance or if there are some empty storefronts with unused entrances on Hollis. If the Acadian Recorder had a small commercial space on the ground level with a functional entrance but the rest of the building were incorporated into the complex that wouldn't be bad.

I wonder how much of this "dead facade" effect is due to the developments and how much of it is due to the low pedestrian traffic and commercial demand of the Hollis/Granville area. I could see the demand picking up in a couple years as a lot more people move into this area. Many seemingly marginal or empty/dreary ground floor spaces may become reanimated with shops. Press Block is not tall but it has a significant amount of new space; same with Queen's Marque. And the number of new residential units around Sackville Street is considerable. I could see more people living along a few blocks of Sackville in 2025 than were in all of the old part of downtown in 2005.
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  #66  
Old Posted Mar 4, 2021, 11:01 PM
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Not sure if the Acadian Recorder and Dennis will have their own entrances. I am also not sure if Founders Square is all mall/lobby inside with the one entrance or if there are some empty storefronts with unused entrances on Hollis. If the Acadian Recorder had a small commercial space on the ground level with a functional entrance but the rest of the building were incorporated into the complex that wouldn't be bad.
If I recall from the only time I was in Founders Square, it's basically just a series of taxidermied facades stitched onto the larger building--it opens into a big 80s office lobby.

I think the Dennis is better suited to this treatment because it's A: larger, and B: Already a hulking building with one major entry point, rather than a series of narrow commercial storefronts awkwardly affixed to a larger building. In the renderings, the main entrance is indicated as being part of the new construction between the facades, but the Dennis also has some new doors in the rendering, so hopefully it will be a secondary entrance.

But the Acadian Reporter building has the potential to look pretty goofy. The documents don't indicate what the developer is thinking, but it would have been nice if the DRC had stipulated that the facades' existing entrances should be functional. Otherwise it really does reduce it to a decorative element.
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  #67  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 1:26 PM
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The new building portion will have the blank wall facing Barrington St. Maybe get a mural on that huge wall to replace the one that will be covered up facing north on the existing Barrington Storefront buildings. I don't want to see a blank wall forever there!
No murals please! We have enough bad public art on display already.
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  #68  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 1:32 PM
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I think in most cities the Dennis Building and Acadian Recorder would be restored and the infill would be built on the empty footprint.
The problem is of course that the floor heights of the Dennis are very low, and so you end up with compromised interior spaces. As it is there will likely be floor plates bisecting window openings. The Acadian Recorder is a very small building which makes no sense to shoehorn into this.

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Not sure if the Acadian Recorder and Dennis will have their own entrances. I am also not sure if Founders Square is all mall/lobby inside with the one entrance or if there are some empty storefronts with unused entrances on Hollis. If the Acadian Recorder had a small commercial space on the ground level with a functional entrance but the rest of the building were incorporated into the complex that wouldn't be bad.

I wonder how much of this "dead facade" effect is due to the developments and how much of it is due to the low pedestrian traffic and commercial demand of the Hollis/Granville area. I could see the demand picking up in a couple years as a lot more people move into this area. Many seemingly marginal or empty/dreary ground floor spaces may become reanimated with shops. Press Block is not tall but it has a significant amount of new space; same with Queen's Marque. And the number of new residential units around Sackville Street is considerable. I could see more people living along a few blocks of Sackville in 2025 than were in all of the old part of downtown in 2005.
Founders originally retained many of the entrances to the old buildings along Hollis. Aside from a failed hair studio or whatever there was no demand for retail spaces along there and over time that gradually became office space backing onto the interior elevator lobby. With no parking along Hollis, retail would be very challenged anyway. Being unable to pick up/drop off goods is generally not a good thing for retail. Nor is being unable to let customers come and go easily.
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  #69  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 2:58 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Here are a couple items from the report.

Nice visual rhythm of medium height buildings along Granville here. Presumably the plan is still to eliminate this Province House surface parking when the underground parking is added.


Interesting how the streetwall height variance relates back to the demolished 1912 building. Reminds me of how the NFB redevelopment would have required a variance to rebuild the original Victorian structure.
It would be nice if they included some type of cornice to the "Cragg" section of the building, though in honesty I'm not sure how that would play out on a modern building that's giving a hint as to what was there before.

I think it's time to put the Citadel viewplanes to rest. As much as it's nice to have a good view from the Citadel, those are mostly gone now, thanks to the Nova Centre mostly. The ramparts viewplanes seem to be asking a lot for very little benefit, and as you point out, it seems ridiculous to not be able to build to previous historic heights because of some quaint touristy concept of not being able to see a building from inside the Citadel grounds.
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  #70  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 3:03 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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I think this will be good ultimately, but it is a bit more facade-y than ideal. Basically, the Acadian Recorder and Dennis will be demolished altogether, with the exception of the first 4.6 metres of their front facades (and in the Dennis' case, its north facade as well).

There's a bit of that "new building using an old one as wallpaper" feel here. Not as bad Founder's Square, for example, but still noticeable. I would rather see the Acadian Recorder restored, and this building wrapped around it. (The Dennis doesn't suffer much from that wallpaper effect since it's larger, but it would still be nice to see the new development cede a bit more space on the north side.)

Still looking forward to it, but my enthusiasm is a little qualified.
I agree with you in concept, but my expectations have lowered substantially since I started reading this board a number of years ago. While I think it would be good to restore the historic buildings and respect them by how the new construction interacts with them, at this point I'm just glad they didn't decide to level them both.

Honestly, I've come to the conclusion that Halifax just doesn't care about its historical structures, other than to keep a couple of facades around, so it's a little like a photo of what was there transposed onto new buildings. I'm not sure why that is, but it seems like our politicians are all caught up in the image of Halifax being progressive while ignoring its rich and deep history, other than a few storybook type historical notes.
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  #71  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 3:10 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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The problem is of course that the floor heights of the Dennis are very low, and so you end up with compromised interior spaces. As it is there will likely be floor plates bisecting window openings. The Acadian Recorder is a very small building which makes no sense to shoehorn into this.
How tall are the floors in the Dennis? I have never been in the building, but didn't it have a 1970s or 1980s office maker with dropped ceilings hung from the original ceiling?

As an aside, I recall attending a Doors Open Halifax visitation at the Halifax Club, where it was explained that the reason for the low door handles, etc., were because people didn't tend to grow as tall in the late 1800s/early 1900s. If the Dennis ceilings are really that low, could that be a reason for it?
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  #72  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 3:30 PM
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I think it's time to put the Citadel viewplanes to rest. As much as it's nice to have a good view from the Citadel, those are mostly gone now, thanks to the Nova Centre mostly.
The viewplanes are more important than ever, precisely because the city has grown up around them. As the rest of the city fills in, the viewplanes provide nice windows through it all.

But that's separate from the ramparts requirement, which I agree is silly and should be nixed.

Edit: The Nova Centre complies with the viewplanes. That's why it has the angled point on the Sackville side.
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  #73  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 3:34 PM
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No murals please! We have enough bad public art on display already.
I saw something in today's paper of a design etched into concrete which I thought was amazing. I just don't want another bland, blank wall facing us forever...
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  #74  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 4:59 PM
Saul Goode Saul Goode is offline
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No murals please! We have enough bad public art on display already.
Heartily seconded. There is some serious dreck masquerading as public art in HRM, particularly of the mural sort - not to mention some of the nonsense on electrical boxes and such. A decent mural can be a marvelous thing, but apparently not that easy to execute.

Of course, we all have our own tastes and we can't all be pleased simultaneously, but seriously - some of this stuff is just plain awful. The original "Tall Ships" mural on the north wall of the Freak Lunchbox building looked like it was done by a four-year-old with no depth perception or appreciation of perspective. I'm sure some folks hate its replacement, but to me it's 100% an improvement.

I wonder how many I will have offended with this post...
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  #75  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 5:34 PM
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The viewplanes are more important than ever, precisely because the city has grown up around them. As the rest of the city fills in, the viewplanes provide nice windows through it all.

But that's separate from the ramparts requirement, which I agree is silly and should be nixed.
This is my thought as well. The viewplanes are generally good, the ramparts bylaw is generally not worth it.

One problem I have with the viewplanes is that they create artificial looking negative spaces with hard edges carved through the cityscape. There should be allowances for decorative elements or small intrusions along the lines of the old Victorian NFB building tower or Salter's Gate dome to make it more interesting.

In the same way ramparts creates an unappealing slanted tabletop effect, but we wouldn't have to worry about that if it were just scrapped.
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  #76  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 7:04 PM
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I saw something in today's paper of a design etched into concrete which I thought was amazing. I just don't want another bland, blank wall facing us forever...
That is quite impressive, teddifax. The building is the new First Baptist Church on Lancaster Drive in Dartmouth. Its prefab concrete walls went up almost overnight, it seemed. Since it probably belongs there more than here, I'll post a pic over in the General forum.
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  #77  
Old Posted Mar 5, 2021, 8:24 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by IanWatson View Post
The viewplanes are more important than ever, precisely because the city has grown up around them. As the rest of the city fills in, the viewplanes provide nice windows through it all.

But that's separate from the ramparts requirement, which I agree is silly and should be nixed.

Edit: The Nova Centre complies with the viewplanes. That's why it has the angled point on the Sackville side.
I've always been in favour of the viewplanes, and I can recall when you could see pretty much the entire harbour from the Citadel. However I also recall that significantly being reduced to the point that I didn't bother bringing visitors from elsewhere to the Citadel to see the view... mind you, I haven't been up there in a few years, so perhaps my memory is not accurate. But based on that, I figure there's not much left to protect, so why bother - I'll have to drive up to the Citadel one of these days to look at it with a fresh perspective.

Having another look at the viewplanes, I'm assuming this project is requesting a variance in viewplanes 4 and/or 5. And I can also see that the Nova Centre appears to be between 5 and 6. I recall that it seemed to block a lot of the harbour off, but if it's not protected I suppose I shouldn't have expected that view to be retained.

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Mar 6, 2021 at 3:02 PM. Reason: Forgot to add link to view planes document... and grammar
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