We were shaking our heads in disappointment when Mayor Miller announced that the city would support empowerment of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. (TWRC), but only if he was placed on its board- a familiar story of bureaucratic stalemate. The recent announcement of the Waterfront Design Review Panel, however, is surely a sign of hope in repairing this city’s post-war urban planning faux pas.
The best part? Bruce Kuwabara, an eminently talented architect’s architect, will chair the committee, which is the first of its kind in Toronto and will advise the TWRC on development matters, specifically the quality of architectural and design projects before they’re implemented. Think of the design review panel as Toronto’s very own Committee of Elders.
TOist recently had a chance to check out Mean City, John Martins-Manteiga’s postwar Torontonian architecture exhibit at the Dominion Modern Museum, which proposes to defend the, er, steel age of architectural modernism in this city typified by glassy projects such as the Bloor Colonnade, Pearson Terminal One and University Ave. office towers. Martins-Margiela is hoping not only to deliver a swift comeback to sweet English rose (and OCAD architect) Will Alsop’s comment that ours is “an incredibly ugly city” but to celebrate the most forward-looking era in Toronto design history. In a city of Victorian preservationists, Martins-Manteiga’s argument is a refreshing one. Mean City will be at Dominion Modern, 59 College, until May 29, and is free.