Is This The Best We Can Do?

May 1, 2012

On April 30th, Council passed an ambitious and inspiring vision for the future of our downtown —  the Downtown Secondary Plan. It calls for preservation of the heritage core, enhanced public realm and parkland, commercial and residential intensification, and demands a high degree of urban design for new buildings.  It calls for us to “build beautifully”.

The vision is a great one. Now we have to prove we can deliver….

Next week — Monday, May 7th — will be the first test. An application for an 18-storey residential condominium development for 148-150 Macdonell is coming to Council for a decision. Here is what it looks like (images from City of Guelph development file):

View from Allan's Bridge

View from John Galt Park

What do you think?   Is this an example of building beautifully?

Each successive generation leaves its mark on the city through its architecture.  The Georgians, Victorians and Edwardians left a recognizable presence in our downtown.   A great city is built in layers — it includes well-maintained heritage buildings left in place, and leaves room for the current generation to add its own layer on undeveloped sites.  This is what we are trying to do with the Downtown Secondary Plan.

So the question is — is this the signature architecture we want to leave behind?   What does this building say about our community?   Does it live up to the Downtown Plan?  Is it massively inspiring?   Will you drive by and point it out as a fine example of the greatness of our city?  Is this the best we can do?

Would love to hear your thoughts…