Comment 53086

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2010 at 15:33:44

While I agree that architectural taste is somewhat subjective, we really need to start examining some of these structures along stricter lines. Is the City Centre (Eatons Centre) an example of public art circa 1990? In another twenty years will Heritage advocates be trying to save it?

The fact that the thing looks a little like a 1960s film set aside, the the Board of Ed bulding makes very little use of the property's footprint, most being totally unused "greenspace" and a parking lot. One could say the same of the the new Federal Building (though not the previous two, both some of the better examples of architecture downtown).

If you were new to Hamilton, or just visiting your old steelworker friend who suddenly has lots of time on his hands, which buildings would really impress you? The courthouse. The Pigott building. The Wright House. A number of the Churches and a whole bunch of streets like James North would easily do it. But most of the big, iconic building projects of the last 50 years - Jackson Square, the convention centre, all the Effort Trust/Homestead concrete towers...not so much. They're ugly, and while budget concrete & steel construction might be imposing if we were the only ones who did it, but we aren't, and it isn't. The fact that so many of these buildings fall into serious disrepair within decades is no surprise - if it's cheaper to build a new structure than maintain an old one, there's something seriously wrong.

Once upon a time, we built things to last and to age gracefully. Why did we stop? And how do we get back to that point?

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