As far as people’s choice awards for architecture go, the Argyle Authentic Lofts (above, top) were all but a shoo-in. Old and new, pretty but reserved, the project was predictably named the most-loved entrant in this year’s Pug Awards on Wednesday night, with an overwhelming 91.4% of the more than 50,000 voters saying they loved it. And why not? As Philip Preville put it this morning, the building is “pure heritage preservation.” Though Preville uses it as something of an insult, there’s a good reason why Torontonians have a fetish for old (looking) buildings: they keep disappearing.
The biggest losers? The spectacularly boring and unbelievably beige 76 Shuter (above, bottom), with only 14.7% of voters saying they loved it, presumably because those 14.7% don’t know what love is. The beige-painted, orange-bricked, green-tinted Battery Park didn’t do much better, scoring a 15.2%. Perhaps most telling: of the twenty-one nominated buildings, only eight scored higher than 50%, and only four scored higher than 60%.
Almost a year after it officially opened, the ROM Crystal unsurprisingly divided voters, with 62.0% saying they loved downtown’s latest behemoth. The Crystal’s lackluster showing points to the biggest problem of a people’s choice award in which the percentage of positive votes determines the winners: the most risky and interesting buildings are doomed to the middle of the pack, while the tamer choices gravitate towards one end or the other. The people have chosen, and they have chosen safely.
Photos by Joy von Tiedemann, courtesy of the Pug Awards.