Toronto is building big. Now try beautiful

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Toronto is building big. Now try beautiful

Toronto is building big. Now try beautiful

During Toronto’s recent scuffling about what’s to become of the aging Gardiner Expressway’s east end, advocates of a tear-down have argued that their plan would free up sizable tracts of land, currently occupied by ramps and other infrastructure, for high-density residential development.

It’s reasoning that makes sense to citizens (including me) who welcome the intensification of the downtown core south of Union Station. Thousands of new housing units would be available to the many people who want to live within steps of the financial district and the revitalized shoreline of the inner harbour. The city’s coffers would benefit from new sources of property tax revenue and developers would get to put up new towers. On the face of it, the demolition option sounds like a win all round.

But if and when they get busy with the post-expressway harbourfront, will designers and developers merely produce new incarnations of the same old skyscraper formulas that have prevailed since Hogtown’s condo boom began? Is Toronto’s art of building tall in a rut?

Probably, thinks the design collective known as Partisans, which has won the Ontario Association of Architects’ 2015 prize for best emerging practice.

Or at least that’s what I gathered they think after listening to several members of the group talk about their work last week. []

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