Not that beauty is necessarily a criterion (let’s start with function), but why not compare two sources half a decade apart?

Katherine Ashenburg, “Motion pictures: When commuters board the subway on the new Sheppard line, they’ll ride through stations notable not for their architecture, but for their public art, each stop like a visit to a neighbourhood gallery,” Toronto Life, August 2002

When it was built, in 1996, Downsview [station] raised alarm bells at the Ministry of Transportation. David Lawson[, architectural coordinator of the Sheppard line,] summarizes the bureaucrats’ reaction to the chic, column-free layouts: “How much did this flash cost?” The designer details – what they considered “fripperies” – had accounted for 10% of the total, so when it came time to plan the Sheppard line, the ministry cut the budget accordingly. The austerity meant much less high-end terrazzo and much more exposed concrete on the floors and walls.

University Subway Stations Renaissance: Design Enhancement Initiatives, Museum Station” (sections reordered)

In 2006, funds of $600K have been approved… with $500K to be accommodated from under expenditures in other programs. A further $1.5M was also included in the years 2007–2009 for this project…. Approve the award of the Museum Station detailed design assignment to Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. (DSAI) on a sole-source basis for an upset limit amount of $500,000 which includes detailed design and design support during construction….

The conceptual design was developed prior to the agreement being reached between [Toronto Community Foundation] and TTC in consideration of the best use of funds within the agreed capital limit of $5M. […] The DSAI workplan was submitted May 30, 2006 and indicates a total fee requirement not to exceed $500,000, which includes approximately $250,000 for design and $250,000 for design support during construction[.]

Art in the Sheppard subway was capped at 0.5% of budget and “design” (undefined in Ashenburg’s article) at 5.4%. Howard Moscoe allegedly wanted to increase the art budget to 1%.

What else could we do with that 0.5% increase? What could we do with $1.5 million misdirected to a station redesign? (It is a station redesign, moreover, that nobody needs and that only the Toronto Community Foundation [who?]; its mink-stole, Bill Thorsell–style backers; and TTC management want.)

And here’s another question: If the TTC can “sole-source” a half-million-dollar contract to a star architect, then turn around and sole-source a merchandising contract, why does it refuse to talk to the Spacers until some unspecified other tender is in place? They’ve grossed more from subway buttons in two years than the merchandising contractor did from its entire line in one year.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.01.09 17:53. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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