Bad Buildings Begins
Welcome to Bad Buildings, Torontoist’s new resident (anonymous, outspoken) architecture critic. Bad Buildings will appear every Wednesday.
Hi there. So glad you could make it. Then again, you didn’t really have a choice, did you? This being Toronto, bad buildings, alas, are all around you. Which is why we at Bad Buildings exist—not merely to chastise, decry, ridicule and spite (though there will be plenty of that) but, ultimately, to make our own selves obsolete.
Here’s the thing: We believe in a better built Toronto. But we look around, from the grotesquely disproportionate green glass condo forests of Cityplace to the ill-advised, inappropriate, insensitive and, frankly, architecturally ass-end proposed condo-fication of the Queen West Triangle, to any number of egregious aesthetic and contextual failures in this, our beloved city, and we despair.
Bad Buildings believes the time for polite discussion is passed. Bad Buildings is pissed—at slapdash developers who sell out our neighbourhoods with cheap condos to make a quick buck (are you listening, Liberty freakin’ Village?), at lazy architects who do their bidding, and worse, use their award-winning portfolios for the occasional half-assed job and chuck crap on our streets on the public dollar (are you listening, KPMB?), and maybe most of all, at simple-minded, high-level bureaucrats who bigfoot our city planning department and stick us with senseless, context-free construction all over our hometown (are you listening, Ontario Municipal Board?)
Bad Buildings believes in a simple credo: Build Better. We don’t know why that’s so hard to do. Some have: Bad Buildings sees hope in scant few projects around town, like the proposed, long-awaited do-over of the Lower Donlands, won by a team lead by Michael Van Valken Associates. The good lord knows when we’ll actually see any of this stuff, but Bad Buildings believes in credit where credit is due. It has vision, of a better city for all. That takes balls—something this town has always lacked.
Until our planners, designers and architects can grow a set and get with that oh-so-simple program, we’ll be here to remind them when they’re not. But don’t worry, folks. Bad Buildings really wants to be your friend. Build better—please—and we’ll be buddies in no time. Bad Buildings loves you. But it’s a tough love. A hard love. At times, an ugly love. The time for molly-coddling has passed. (Bad Buildings always wanted to say “molly-coddling”).
More than anything, Bad Buildings implores you, the caring citizen of this town we try so hard to love, not to remain silent. Get angry. Say something. Do something. And tell us: You set ’em up, we’ll knock ’em down. Maybe together, we can make this burg a better place to be.
If you like what we do, you can be a friend of Bad Buildings on Facebook, and/or catch our semi-regular rants at the Bad Buildings blog. Participation encouraged!
Photo by sevenine from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.