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Harbourfront Centre

kkgg7

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I have always been thinking "what's wrong with Toronto's waterfront"? I mean, besides those hideous and tacky condominium towers around CN tower and Gardiner that make all waterfront photos instantly downgraded?

Then I realize it is the "Harbourfront Center". The name sounds beautiful, but the first time I went to Queens Quay, I was not able to locate it, as it is so easy to miss. You can easily walk by it without realizing it is just on your left hand side. The name evokes imagination such as the Sydney Opera House, or something more realistic and less glorious, the Canada Place in Vancouver. but in reality, the Toronto Harbourfront center is really some two (or three?) storeyed structure that holds no architectural value or even pleasing to the eye. It looks like any community center - the St Jamestown community center looks nicer than it, or a primary school in Thunder Bay, yet occupying a large space and the best location in Toronto.

I don't know its history. Maybe at the time it was built, Toronto never had any vision or desire to be a great or just nice looking city, and just want to be a mediocre lake side town, thus allowing such structures -- I can't say ugly, it is just no one will never notice or remember how it looks like -- to be built there and name it "Harbourfront Center".

We can talk about the vibrancy or how many cultural activities happening by the lake in the summer any way we want, but the Harbourfront Center essentially represents the ultimate mediocrity when it comes to Toronto's waterfront planning and design. It is like, we need a center to hold events, why not ask a cheap builder to put some concrete and drywalls on Queens Quay, name it "Hourbourfront Center" and call it a day. Has anybody ever cared the beauty of our city?

It does echo nicely with the old condos on the other side of Queens Quay.

Queens Quay needs a lot of work, but nothing will change if the Harbourfront center doesn't.
 
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Harbourfront Centre goes back to the beginning of the redevelopment of the waterfront (1972). It uses original structures that were there when it was all a post industrial wasteland. Queen's Quay Terminal is another old industrial building that was redeveloped in 1982.

I quite like the theatre and Power Plant buildings. Part of being "green" is using what you have.

Besides that, Harbourfront Centre is a cultural powerhouse few venues anywhere can compete with.
 
Above all, use Canadian spelling. "Centre", not "Center".

And yes: the core of Harbourfront Centre (the York Quay facilities) is the reuse/transformation/reconfiguration over time of a late 1940s pier building. It's not meant to be a self-conscious "monument"--which, ironically, makes it the perfect monument to the Crombie/Jane Jacobs 70s Toronto. If you're looking for oh-wow, it's in the contents, not in the premises--and "contents" more in the real-time sense of talks, symposuims, art shows, art classes, etc.

Perhaps a problem here is the over-*ahem*centralizing label "Centre", which it adopted some 20 years ago; before, and from the time it started as a fed crown corporation in '72, it was just known as "Harbourfront", and was commonly understood to encompass the whole waterfront zone from about Bathurst Quay to Harbour Square--not just the York Quay facilities. And back then, the post-industrial Harbourfront-in-toto truly *was* magical--so I can see how those conditioned in strict terms of York Quay may ask, "is that it?" So: yes, that's it; what's it to ya.

So: once again, kkgg7 so lustful for bleached-blonde-silicone "Holly Madison" urbanism that he finds "Feist" urbanism plain and boring...
 
Speaking of, did any UT members go to last night's panel discussion at Harbourfront Centre featuring Peter Clewes,
Bruce Kuwabara and Richard Witt...part of their fall architecture exhibition..."TOO TALL?"
 
Above all, use Canadian spelling. "Centre", not "Center".

And yes: the core of Harbourfront Centre (the York Quay facilities) is the reuse/transformation/reconfiguration over time of a late 1940s pier building. It's not meant to be a self-conscious "monument"--which, ironically, makes it the perfect monument to the Crombie/Jane Jacobs 70s Toronto. If you're looking for oh-wow, it's in the contents, not in the premises--and "contents" more in the real-time sense of talks, symposuims, art shows, art classes, etc.

Perhaps a problem here is the over-*ahem*centralizing label "Centre", which it adopted some 20 years ago; before, and from the time it started as a fed crown corporation in '72, it was just known as "Harbourfront", and was commonly understood to encompass the whole waterfront zone from about Bathurst Quay to Harbour Square--not just the York Quay facilities. And back then, the post-industrial Harbourfront-in-toto truly *was* magical--so I can see how those conditioned in strict terms of York Quay may ask, "is that it?" So: yes, that's it; what's it to ya.

So: once again, kkgg7 so lustful for bleached-blonde-silicone "Holly Madison" urbanism that he finds "Feist" urbanism plain and boring...

yeah, I figured I would get responses like this. There has never been a shortage of excuses for the lack of good design among many folks here. We don't need it to look good, we only need it to work (and yes, it works better than anywhere else)! If you want to look nice, you are by definition a bleached-blonde silicone bimbo with no content whatsoever. I guess Paris and Barcelona with their world class architectures are in your mind, just boring silcone implants. The more vehemently one protests against constructive criticism, the more insecurity it shows. Members like you can't handle any nagative comments about this city and only want praises like "first class", "most livable" "vibrant" "diversity".

Speaking of Canadian spelling, well isn't it "British spelling" to be precise? If you are so proud of the British heritage, why do you folks spell "airplane" like the Americans, rather than "Aeroplane" like the Brits, or similarly, "aluminum" instead of "aluminium", "cozy" instead of "cozy", "tire" vs "tyre"? Canada uses kilometer istead of miles yet still sticking stubbornly with pounds and square foot. It is more like stuck in the middle without being able to really find an indentity. so save your preach about spelling.
 
Have to agree with kkgg7 on above post, you should not be defending bad architecture due to the fact that it provides sufficient shelter for outstanding cultural content. Why can't we have both? And doesn't great architecture reflect culture the way great art does?
 
I don't know its history. Maybe at the time it was built, Toronto never had any vision or desire to be a great or just nice looking city, and just want to be a mediocre lake side town, thus allowing such structures -- I can't say ugly, it is just no one will never notice or remember how it looks like -- to be built there and name it "Harbourfront Center".

What do you mean by allowed? It was already there. Surely that much would have been obvious? Just because it's not making a self-aggrandizing statement about the city architecturally, does not make it worthless.
 
First, are you aware that they're redeveloping the area? http://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/explore_projects2/central_waterfront/york_quay_revitalization

Second, I find it pretty funny that you're calling out Adma for supposedly wanting "first class" design (which, he actually is probably the least likely person to suggest that, and his post above says nothing of the sort), and it is in fact you yourself that is trying to compare Toronto to Sydney, Paris and Barcelona.

Anyways, I'm not sure how one building ruins an entire waterfront. Especially one that brings more people down to the waterfront than any other building. What makes for a great city or neighbourhood (and that is what Harbourfront is) isn't architecture. You only need to look towards such cutting edge architectural wonders as Dubai to understand that. People don't flock to Paris or Barcelona for the architecture (ok sure, maybe some do but...). They go because they're both extremely vibrant and culturally rich centres (kinda like harbourfront centre actually). In fact you could make a pretty good argument that the monotony of Paris is the antithesis to what you want, since you seem pretty disturbed by buildings that don't stand out and Paris is a city almost entirely comprised of them.
 
So Paleo, all of the beautiful architecture built through-out history around the globe can just be classified as braggadocious, self-aggrandizing statements? lol
 
I'm sure Harbourfront Centre would be pleased to replace that particular building with a "better" one. But since they are a non-profit organization, who's mandate is to provide a wide diversity of quality cultural events, they will have to wait for someone to step up with the big bucks to donate to such a building. In the meantime, they will have to make do with what they have. And if the quantity and quality of events that they put on is any indication...they make do very nicely (it's a shame they lost Soulpepper to the Distillery though).

Strangely enough, despite the howls of bad architecture, I find Harbourfront Centre to be a very pleasant space to experience...both inside and out.
 
Second, I find it pretty funny that you're calling out Adma for supposedly wanting "first class" design (which, he actually is probably the least likely person to suggest that, and his post above says nothing of the sort), and it is in fact you yourself that is trying to compare Toronto to Sydney, Paris and Barcelona.

And you know what, it isn't so much a matter of "good" vs "bad" design that's the tripping point here; rather, it's a miserable, hyperactively anal zealot's insistence upon "good design". And if that's the case, ironically enough, the likes of kkgg7 would probably be miserable and excessively circumscribed pricks to be with in a Sydney or Paris or Barcelona. Because ultimately, oh irony upon irony, that kind of overinsistence upon "good design" is desperately parvenu: an amateurish striving beyong the amateur. It's the obverse version of the kinds of art fans who are obsessed over "painterly technique" above all else. If you took pricks like that on psychogeographic-or-whatever wanderings into the nether regions of Paris where starchitecture does not lie unless by accident, they'd probably be screaming bloody murder.

Therefore the bimbo analogy's apropos--in the parlance of the sex industry, there's the "girlfriend experience" (GFE) and then there's the "porn star experience" (PSE). To a kkgg7, the ideal experience of the urban environment is a PSE, fake Herbal Essences moaning and all. And Harbourfront's not PSE enough. It's GFE, right down to the natural body imperfections and unwaxed pubic regions and the real-time performance that's far clumsier than what you see in porn clips. Of course, the default "ideal" erotic mode for unseasoned youngsters is PSE; it's only through experience and intimacy with the proper partner that they discover that GFE is far richer--yeah, a GFE that may contain elements of PSE, but isn't martyr to it...
 
Hey....I thought the Wave Deck was supposed to supply the sexy curves to those not interested in wasting time listening to world famous authors spewing whatever in the very un-Barcelona like Brigantine Room.
 
Yeah, but to the kkgg7-esque casual visitor, that's not part of Harbourfront Centre. More like Harbourfront Periphery. (Which, again, may illuminate the wisdom of the old just-plain-Harbourfront labelling, i.e. a concept that can be inclusive of anything wave-decky or music-gardenny or malting-siloey. Wisdom in decentring.)
 
Speaking of Canadian spelling, well isn't it "British spelling" to be precise? If you are so proud of the British heritage, why do you folks spell "airplane" like the Americans, rather than "Aeroplane" like the Brits, or similarly, "aluminum" instead of "aluminium", "cozy" instead of "cozy", "tire" vs "tyre"? Canada uses kilometer istead of miles yet still sticking stubbornly with pounds and square foot. It is more like stuck in the middle without being able to really find an indentity. so save your preach about spelling.

The Canadian spelling of the English language is a mish-mash of British/Commonwealth and American spellings with a few Canadian innovations thrown into the mix (ex. "yogourt"). The -re spelling of "centre" is almost universally recognized as the proper Canadian spelling. More importantly, where this thread is concerned, the name of the topic discussed is officially the "Harbourfront Centre" (and not the "Harborfront Center," regardless of how we spell "tire").
 
Therefore the bimbo analogy's apropos--in the parlance of the sex industry, there's the "girlfriend experience" (GFE) and then there's the "porn star experience" (PSE). To a kkgg7, the ideal experience of the urban environment is a PSE, fake Herbal Essences moaning and all. And Harbourfront's not PSE enough. It's GFE, right down to the natural body imperfections and unwaxed pubic regions and the real-time performance that's far clumsier than what you see in porn clips. Of course, the default "ideal" erotic mode for unseasoned youngsters is PSE; it's only through experience and intimacy with the proper partner that they discover that GFE is far richer--yeah, a GFE that may contain elements of PSE, but isn't martyr to it...

While your analogy is apt, you are also disturbingly knowledgeable about the porn industry :p
 
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