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2006 05 21
Toronto Waterfront Innovation - Comments 2
Another reader comments on our previous posting about the five waterfront finalists:

I read your article on the five finalists vying to design Toronto's new waterfront. I must say that I and a large majority can not understand where you're coming from. Personally, I can't stand the themes of the West 8 scheme at all - it's crass and silly, playing to the tired clichés of "Canadianess" that frankly have little or nothing to do with Toronto. And why bother putting that quite frankly ugly and tacky Maple Leaf marsh in the centre of the Inner Harbour, when one should encourage intensified usage of *real* environments like the Islands?

I have to root for Foster - their scheme mirrors/meshes well with the dignified approach that aA used for the Harbourfront boardwalk. I don't necessarily buy all their design moves, but as a whole, it is calm and classy. I can't see them losing, in my mind they were just far above the other entrants. What I saw as their strongest selling features are the iconic buildings at THE END OF THE PIERS thus drawing out users of all sorts. Beautiful structures that would instantly evoke 'Toronto' upon viewing in pictures. They give the waterfront a fresh, crisp, clean feeling. Foster acknowledged the difficulties of wind off the lake, and offer a relative clever solution of screens with seating on either side. They assume the smart pedestrian will stop and rest/relax on the bench facing the calm, with their backs and a screen protecting them from conditions. A desire to bring neighbourhoods to the water was a major selling feature for me. Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, it's how we define ourselves, and to have Foster's team acknowledge this, and seek community consultation to make each section relevant and desirable to the communities north of each section, shows class and intelligence. They don't micro-plan the details, because they want uses and projects that connect "the city to the water and the water to the city." There was talk of an amphitheatre in the water, which sparked my imagination of what one could do with water and lights for celebrations such as Canada Day.
On the whole, I'm having difficulties finding fault with their plans. Their phasing of work seemed logical, and they were the most professional of the groups.

I hope that you're able to see Foster's design differently now and appreciate it for the work of art that it is. It is exactly what Toronto desperately needs to usher it into the 21st century. Finally.


Matthew did not provide a link or last name. Also, I am not sure who the "large majority" he mentions are. Still, his feedback is appreciated and this kind of open discussion is an important part of any design competition where it is easy to lose sight of critical objectives.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/21 at 12:45 PM

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