Casey House, the Toronto AIDS hospice where PWAs do not always go to die, plans to expand its building. And obviously the way to do that is to graft on an appendage of cuboids curtain-walled in glass.

Self-evidently, every heritage building has to be updated to the very latest in Modernism circa 1920. In Toronto, an old building can’t be considered modernized until it has been sodomized and parasitized by glass and metal.

Modernism represents arrested development on the part of architects, which is bad enough, as it constitutes professional misconduct when misapplied this way. For clients, especially arriviste homeowners and ‑renovators, Modernism is nothing more than a way to prove to your neighbours you’re not just rich, you’re rich and smart. The problem here is if you actually understood anything about Modern architecture, you’d know that if you can see your neighbours through your plate-glass windows, you’re too close to civilization to build a Modern structure.

But those rectilinear lines – so clean. Such a welcome geometric relief from the blood and guts of the Great War, for example.

Imagine you’re a patient with AIDS residing in Casey House. By definition, you are sick, perhaps terminally. What Hariri Pontarini Architects has in store for you is a complex with no walls, only windows, so your every lesion, hump, sunken cheek, IV, catheter, and bedpan will be on full display for everyone in the neighbourhood.

When I asked why this suicidally inappropriate design language was “chosen” for an AIDS hospice, I eventually received four paragraphs from Kathleen Sandusky that is such a load of bullshit that, to save her embarrassment, I will not quote it at length. She did insist that “[w]e have yet to design the building,” despite having released high-resolution renderings to Xtra for publication, which renderings she later claimed they were “not able to release.”

(Sandusky Cc:ed her top-posted E-mail to two other people. Maybe this topic makes people nervous. And I won’t even bother linking you to the site that shills for $10 million in community donations, given its inability to run a simple video or simply tell me about the project.)

In Toronto, AIDS patients, even those on death’s door, can get any colour of wall they want as long as it’s transparent. This odious misapplication of architectural style, so redolent of Toronto’s status-climbing and mediocrity, is a complete non-starter and needs to be stopped in its tracks.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.11.07 13:42. 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:

(Values you enter are stored and may be published)



None. I quit.

Copyright © 2004–2024