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2006 02 16
A new streetscape
Here’s a fantasy; I wish there were a block in Toronto that had two rows of modern attached townhouses facing one another. So you could live in a nice house—and then LOOK at the same architecture out your window. There is project in Amsterdam that I saw in Architectural Record: townhouses along the water each designed by a different architect. And it seemed the perfect thing for Toronto’s cityscape, which like Amsterdam is so identified by a housing stock of narrow attached townhouses.

It would be like an architectural park, showing the work of different architects. The street would be great marketing for architects like a showroom or a fashion show to inspire buyers. People might come and just stroll through the streets to look at the houses; in which case there should be a café/bar to capitalize on the potential commerce. It would be a version of the Venice Canals, where California’s best architects—such as Michael Saee-- are building exciting, beautiful expensive houses. Since it’s LA, of course, they’re not touching each other, and they’re superexpensive. But the display of buildings has created a special destination. Now visiting the Canals is a standard stop of architectural tourism. My sister just took a commercial tour by segway a few weeks ago.

People I know who live in the canals say not only do they get to look at good architecture, but they also appreciate the community of like-minded and like-eyed people. So too, the concentration of Torontonians who desired such an environment would create an interesting community. I grew up in a modernist suburb—the houses with floor to ceiling windows were filled with Bertoia, Saarenin and Eames furniture. Across the street, you didn’t have to see a conventional house. I must say, there was a special unity we felt from our senses of shared asthetics—and politics. (I called those outside our boundaries “shutter people”.) Actually, maybe that wasnt' a good thing.

Once I heard of a TTC yard that was going to be sold off for development—and so I fantasized. I wished I could get the land, get the money, and get architects to build my vision. But I’m rather busy, could someone else do it?
[email this story] Posted by Amy Cross on 02/16 at 04:47 PM

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