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Let’s be Creative with Architectural Destruction

LOATHED: THIS article by Toronto architecture critic Christopher Hume tells of a developer who skirted the law by hiring thugs to deface a building that was slated for heritage protection. Now the building can’t be designated, so he’s able to just tear it down.


Gordon Matt-Clark, Conical Intersect, 1974-5. Image: thesprawlnetwork.com

Such little respect for our architectural heritage is astounding.

A more interesting option would have been to put out a call to artists to make work out of the old building. At least then it would ‘die’ with respect. Something similar to the excellent show the Leona Drive Project, which we blogged about HERE. That show was the result of a collaboration between developers and curators that gave soon-to-be-demolished houses over to artists for a week.


An image from the Leona Drive Project in Toronto. Image: Derek Flack/blogto.com

Of course, using architecture as art has been done by the late, great Gordon Matta-Clark, an artist who famously split houses in two, transforming their meaning from living space to wonder-inducing sculpture.

It reminds us of the young trees lining Toronto’s Bloor Street that were brutally beheaded last week to make room for other trees, with more soil, that will grow larger. Was it really necessary to kill all those trees? We hear they were mostly healthy.

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One of the beheaded trees on Bloor Street. Image: Remi Carreiro/Torontoist

Let’s look for creative, positive solutions to such issues. After all, according to Seth Godin and others, we are entering the age of generosity.

Thanks to Gareth Bate from whom we got Hume’s story on Facebook.

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