Recently, I posted a comment on the facebook page of City Square Condos (Thistle Club) stating how I loved the design of their condo, but wished it was 25 or 30 floors tall.
The developer replied by giving me the 'thumbs up' and asked me to email Mayor Bob Bratina and Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr to share my thoughts. Reading between the lines, it would appear as though he too would like to go taller, but I'm sure is being squelched by Hamilton's aversion to tall buildings.
I realize the Durand Neighbourhood Association was formed due to the beautiful mansions being destroyed for what I like to call 'commie blocks' in the 1970s, but we need to be sure that we don't miss grand opportunities to give our city a new look and a modern skyline now in the 21st Century.
The Thistle Club Site represents one of the best sites anywhere for a tall tower that can rise above the blandness of the '70s and help change our image. If we can't build a 30-storey building next to many other highrise buildings, where can we?
Nicolas Kevlahan recently wrote a fabulous overview of the rise of Vancouver as a model urban centre during the past 40 years. Hamilton should be looking to follow their lead as we begin to develop our massive glut of surface parking lots.
Highrises are not bad. Bad highrises are bad.
This brings me to my next point - Darko Vranich. Unlike many of the comments I've heard recently, my point is simple: Let's ensure that his design is urban, glass and modern (as shown in his renderings) and let's give him permission - or even encourage him him - to go 30 or 40 floors if he were to desire so.
Again, our skyline needs a modern change, and would have massive impacts on our city's image. The Pan Am Games are coming. What better way to show the world that we're current, modern and booming than seeing state-of-the-art condo towers being built here?
Mississuaga is receiving rave reviews from around the world right now because they held an international design competition and ended up with this:
Absolute World Towers, Mississauga (Image Credit: Design Build Network)
When the architect finally arrived here to see the location for his winning design, he was perplexed. He had thought he was designing for a mid-sized city trying to shake up its image and inject new life into itself - not a suburb.
Hamilton should be looking for an opportunity to host an international design competition with the goal of seeing a new landmark tower built downtown.
I hate Hamilton's plethora of parking lots as much as the next guy, but I'll hate them even more if we only fill them up with two- and three-storey bland buildings. The land is available along the B-Line route and right downtown for us literally to build a new skyline that will be modern, clean and green in its technology.
I urge our Mayor and Council to please take another look at the restrictive height bylaws in Hamilton. As a famous high-rise architect for Stanford Downey once said, "You'll never get new towers in Hamilton because City Hall won't allow them".
City Square at the Thistle Club may be a place to start. Their second phase could go much taller than planned. Let's get the DNA on board and show them that rejecting towers shouldn't be their goal - rejecting ugly, poorly designed towers should be their goal.
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