Comment 116857

By Selway (registered) | Posted March 05, 2016 at 23:04:50 in reply to Comment 116853

Not really. Character in this context arises from retention of unaltered instances of built form into a time when when those forms and their construction techniques have been superseded. It is additive. What gives the historic centre of Hamilton its "charm" is the dense historic layering of the area. It is not just the artistic merit of this or that particular building that we appreciate, it's also ordinary buildings that are typical of the period when they were built, including the more recent. It is the accumulated record of change that makes a place interesting to move about in.

If it were just a matter of character and charm, it would make more sense to keep that block ( people in the North End call it "the survey")because its a very good example of the architecture as social remedy thinking of the period in which it was designed and built. However, as a place to live the relation of the units to the surrounding streets probably needs to be reconfigured. The complex turns inward with results different perhaps from what the designers hoped. In any case, what you see there is not original either. A few years ago the facades were redone, and those odd gables added,so it looks like one of those towns from the television westerns where all the storefronts are made artificially higher to convey a false appearance of growth.

Anyway, the point is, are you looking at those buildings, or just reading them? By which I mean are you looking at a physical thing in the landscape and wondering why it is like that? Or are you reading a sign? It's the difference between reading these words, and looking at the typeface and wondering what style it is and how it happens to be on this page.

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