I came across another example of my favourite Toronto architectural style today. This one, however, isn’t executed particularly well. The architect followed the style closely in use of materials but the general vision and the scale is all wrong. Take a look.Just walking by, you might think that the buildings aren’t attached at all. It looks rather like an architect obsessed with neo-modernism but who wasn’t able to buy up all the land for the project of his dreams. But if you snoop around a little, you will discover the elegant solution to the problem of merging these to drastically different buildings, the portal between the 19th century and the 21st.Okay so maybe it’s not so elegant. The architects elected to leave a foot-wide gap between the two buildings and put a tiny staircase in it. There may be a practical reason for this tiny hallway but all I know is that it is rubbish design. It seems like very little thought went into this.
It may not surprise you to know that the addition on this building belongs to the Rotman Business School. The Capitalist-minded don’t tend to spend great sums of money on world-class architects. Even still, they did get a few things right I thought. The architect understood the value of juxtaposing the textures of masonry and glass, of contrasting traditional ornate detail with stark minimalism.I also thought the architect did a pretty good job with the new part, if you consider it on its own. It is simple, easy to put lots of cubicles into, and pleasingly asymmetrical. But they failed to achieve symbiosis. Like a tailor making a pair of trousers, without a pair of legs, the architect copied a very cool architectural style without understanding that the old and the new components are of equal importance.