Innovation Park

By Jason Leach
Published November 03, 2005

Diamond+Schmitt Architects Inc. are the design consultants for McMaster's Innovation Park at Aberdeen and Longwood [see here and here for information on the FORH public discussion featuring architect Donald Schmitt - Ed.].

I am unable to attend that evening, but wanted to pass on my opinion and suggestions for the Mac park.

This site is highly visible along hwy 403 and from Hamilton Mountain parks and lookout points. It has residential around it, but not immediately due to railtracks and other industrial uses that buffer the land from the residential neighbourhoods.

I would like to see this site developed with a few signature buildings in mind as opposed to the small, squat, unimpressive designs that dominate McMaster's main campus.

I would expect that a few post-modern office buildings in the range of 8-16 stories could be built here closer to the highway and centre of the park and then gradually scale down to lower heights near Aberdeen and Main Streets.

This would provide more new office space on this small piece of land instead of just building a bunch of four storey buildings, and would be a visible symbol to visitors and folks going through Hamilton that our city is changing.

Also, I would love to see some good public spaces and pedestrian friendly feel to the streets, especially Longwood.

I don't know if Mac will allow some café/­restaurant/­gallery/­boutique space in the street level of some of the buildings, but it would be nice to build a new neighbourhood in our city, not just another drab, boxy clump of buildings that are isolated from the city and feel distant and cold (again, see Mac's main campus).

A few areas of parkland or public plaza space with fountains, etc., would be a wonderful addition to this project. And by building a few taller buildings, the "loss" of land for things such as public sitting areas or parks would be offset with the gain in office space available in taller buildings.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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