Canada Architecture

With increasing commitment, architecture in Canada in recent years has seen the focus on interventions in existing urban contexts. On an unprecedented scale, a series of issues concerning multiple systems of social relations have been addressed, as well as problems of re-functionalization of urban areas, or even more specifically, if not in terms of restoration and conservation, issues and interventions concerning the historical heritage. construction of 19 0century. The achievements, which often involved stretches of high economic value in major urban centers such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, resulted from the energetic and considerable action both public and private, investing interests, mixed together, commercial and social, of efficiency and relation.

On the formal level, the consolidated internationalist language has assumed, in the work of the best Canadian architects such as A. Erickson, J. Parkin, E. Zeidler, J. Diamond and B. Myers, an increasingly convinced freedom of forms, materials and spaces, looking for a relationship both with the image of the urban landscape and with the natural one.

According to listofusnewspapers, even in urban planning research, the first plan which the city of Montreal is acquiring (1988) bears witness to an identical multiplicity of objectives ranging from human needs to the recovery of the distinctive character of the city and its economic recovery. Likewise, the interventions of ” urban restoration ” cannot be traced back to a single address, always taking place in particular as re-functionalizations according to current needs.

One case is that of Halifax, with the so-called Promenade (1981), where it renounces the demolition of buildings of 19 0 century the port area, if it decides the restructuring and the pedestrian entire area. Similarly, in Toronto the historic Harbourfront area, made up of large warehouse buildings, is undergoing a renovation, implemented in such a way that it can be used for the current life of the city.

Still among the urban redevelopment interventions is the reorganization of Granville Island in Vancouver. After a study commissioned in 1972 by the federal government on the island that housed an industrial area, the Norman Hotson Associatesgroup was entrusted with the design of the services and the renovation of roads and street furniture to redevelop the island; all this by making existing industries coexist with a public market and various equipment, and connecting it with pedestrian crossings. The industrially produced materials such as the ribbed steel infill, the bright colors, the exposed pipes are used in the new intervention in a decidedly technological language.

In addition to the widespread theme of re-functionalization (see also Queen’s Quay Terminal, Toronto 1984) there is that of adding a new intervention to historical architecture that alludes to it, while reaffirming its individuality and functionality, as in the case of Innis College in Toronto by the Diamond & Myers studio. Abandoned areas in the urban centers of Toronto and Montreal provide the opportunity for the construction of shopping centers with a strong urban and social value.

In Toronto, the Eaton Center (Bregman-Hamann-Zeidler, 1981): two identical and opposite office towers, but oriented differently, are at the two ends of a gallery (274 m long), covered in glass and lined with shops on three levels. An office complex (Parkin Partnership, 1982) concludes the ensemble built in an area where there were historic buildings and a church, which are partially reabsorbed. In Montreal, the Complexe Desjardin (La Société la Haje-Ouellet) was built, financed by a group of banks and insurance companies: four towers of different heights that rise on a three-storey podium inside which the Place is housed, an air-conditioned area with shops, banks, restaurants.

The success of these experiences as urban places testifies to the importance attributed primarily to civic and commercial interests.

Still on a level of urban value we must read some creations by A. Erickson, the best known Canadian architect, whose attention to the artificial or natural landscape creates narrative sequences rich in visuals and suggestions. So it is in the civic center of Robson Square (1980) in Vancouver, where a low building extends from the square bordered by restaurants that reaches the new courthouse. The composition is played on a sophisticated series of elements such as ramps and fountains. Also by Erickson are the Yorkdale station of the Spadina Subway in Toronto and the Roy Thompson Hall (1984), a large concert hall set up in a truncated cone.

Finally, it is necessary to mention the relevant story of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, which began with a competition in 1976 and ended in 1988 with the creation of the controversial work by M. Safdie, in which the attempt to make it a “microcosm of the city “takes place in an excitedly allusive way to the history of architecture.

Canada Architecture