Comment 71264

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted November 15, 2011 at 15:51:26

Jason, I beg to differ. It would appear that Hamilton is fast becoming the place to fight the wrong battles.

Any one with some knowledge of architectural history would affirm that the Board of Ed building is at best a highly quirky example of a phase in Hamilton's history where very little of architectural substance was ever built.

While this quirky building is being characterized as history and romanticized - the new medical use by McMaster is being lauded as bearing significant presence!

Both these building the current Board of Ed structure and the proposed glass clad medical facility share one common theme - 'lifelessness'.

One only has to walk around the Board of Ed building at any time of the day or night to experience its deadening impact. Just as one has to walk around Hamilton's many medical buildings to realize that these life-giving buildings don't necessarily spawn life around them.

Besides, true architectural value springs from an implicit sense of connectedness to the present and to history - which needs few words to substantiate it. Both of the above buildings and their uses requires way too many words to establish their rationale.

The Board of Ed has decided to move from the core. Let them go where they want to be. It is no longer a living institution, it has become a dead weight of bureaucracy and intrigue. It needs its privacy on the mountain, it is old and tired and simply not capable of bringing any kind of vibrancy to itself, let alone to the core. Just let it go where at least it will be happy.

But if you must fight, then fight to bring the School of Liberal Arts out from the suburban campus before it gets built there, into the heart of the city - and make it stand proudly on the same square as the art gallery, the theater and convention centre. In doing this you may finally see the youthful vibrancy you crave so much in the core.

About older buildings built in Canada over the last four to five decades, it is important to realize that most were not built well.

The coming shock of renovating these modern, stylistic white elephants that constitute our education complex should not be a surprise for they were all built not to last. They were after all in keeping with the times which abhorred history.

This may help in understanding the enormity of problems that face us and might also help put the Board of Ed Building in context: When Efficiency Becomes a Liability - Report 1, Report 2

There are similar reports for scores of school boards across the country.

So while we fight to save the Board of Ed building which is in poor shape already, we overlook the immense potential being lost by faulty planning which puts wrong uses in right places; or simply stand by and watch real architectural heritage that is worth saving being ravaged by wrong use at Mohawk College's old campus on Wentworth Street North - a fine green building designed and built to outlast the even greener new buildings yet to be built on the campuses of our education complex.

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-11-15 16:05:12

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