Monday, March 07, 2005

The Tabletop

K. and I have been in discussion over the The Sharp Centre. He thinks it's a daring piece of architecture and sent me pics to prove his case:

ocad addition


I think it is an oppressive blight on the drab Toronto landscape. I also think it's corny, circa '50s avant-garde, crayola stilted, design was old on the drawing board. But that's just me.

I decided, in order to get a better perspective on the situation, to google this fortress in the sky to find out what others are saying.

Canadian Architect had an article about it last year that seems objective...
Design (OCAD) as shocking might be to overstate the case, but not by much. Designed by London architect Will Alsop in collaboration with Toronto's Robbie/ Young + Wright (RYW) Architects, the Sharp Centre delivers some 7,000 square metres of much-needed program space in a decidedly unconventional package. Alsop and RYW project architect Gregory Woods--who, along with interior designer Caroline Robbie-Montgomery, recently left RYW to co-found Alsop's Toronto office--have designed an audacious and playful addition that challenges conventional notions of institutional architecture along with the city's sometimes smug urban politesse. Supported by 12 multi-coloured steel stilts that raise its underbelly 26 metres above the ground, the new building--nicknamed the Tabletop--looms like a gargantuan steel-clad trailer above McCaul Street to the east, and, to the west, Grange Park, a landscaped open space of historic significance that the college shares with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), soon to get its own makeover at the hands of Frank Gehry.

Audacious is a good word. Underbelly was also well used here. Why create relationships when you can rise above the neighbourhood?

There were other official words about the building in architectural digests and so forth, but I was particularly smitten with the discussions going on at Delta Tango Bravo. There are many comments, both fer and agin. I liked this one:
I think you guys are all missing the point here ... the design is brilliant. See, when the Roadrunner passes under the big flat part ("A"), Wile. E. pulls the rope attached to the pillar ("B") ...

This is an old discussion, I know. The addition has been up for some time. I am hopelessly out of step.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, your second "it's" should be "its".

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne - Check out

A group of Toronto-ian/Canadian established artists (including Geddy Lee from Rush?) have launched an online vote of the aesthetic qualities of the metropolis' skyline. Topics include creating a judging body that would designate "appropriate" buildings for urban T.O. They might want to consider the needs of city residents (all of them) and the pragmatism of building needs rather than the "pugly-ness" of the vistas.


7:41 PM  
Blogger Anne Walk said...

hi J,

thanks for the link! i checked out the pugly award site and did my voting.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i currently go to OCAD, and you may not know this, but the archtech is having a lil fun with the design. Maybe its too abstract, but the building demonstrate one animal(doglike) humping another animal. i dont know about you, but how many of those have you seen?

2:01 PM  

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