Monday, November 26, 2012

Let It Go

Next week another request for demolition goes before Planning Committee. Labatt's wants to tear down an office building they own at 75 Bathurst Street in order to create more parking. The office was built about 1950.

Already, admirers of 20th-century buildings are getting themselves worked up. Apparently this is a Priority 1 on London's Heritage Inventory. Who'd have thought? Turns out the structure was once used by Silverwoods Dairy and is a prime example of International Style architecture.

This raises a number of questions:

  • Is the International Style really a style or just a replacement for style? Ever since it was created it's been criticized as stark, sterile and just plain boring.
  • Aren't there enough examples of the International Style internationally?
  • In a city that can't bring itself to save something really sweet like  Locust Mount, is anyone at City Hall going to listen if we try to convince them they need to save this?
  • If heritage conservationists try to save every single building, aren't our pleas for conservation taken less seriously?
  • Who's going to renovate this for some other use? And why would Labatt's sell it to them?
Frankly, the only good reason to save this building would be the general principle of reusing all structures instead of tossing more construction materials into landfill sites. That's not likely to convince Planning Committee. Let this one go.

Update, November 27: Planning Committee has OK'd demolition.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there,
    I think it's important to recognize that these buildings are a part of the city's history, even and even though the style isn't pleasing to you.

    One thing London has is a surplus of parking lots, and the thought of destroying a perfectly good mid-century building to create more parking spaces seems deplorable to me - and it should to you as well.

    Yes, we need to fight for historic Victorian buildings, but we should be fighting for all buildings of decent quality: if London wants a vibrant, mixed-use downtown, we have to stop carving it up for more parking.