Comment 110702

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted March 30, 2015 at 09:12:58 in reply to Comment 110697

A few thoughts:

  1. The built form of James St. North didn't come around from one single time period but across over a century of architectural decisions by a wide range of people (including the brand new development across the road). So it's not just perpetuating one architectural idea but many interacting ideas.

  2. The value of perpetuating these ideas is pretty clear, since James North is a very successful urban space. The 3-storey street-wall is tight knit and has a human scale and variety that makes it enjoyable to walk, encouraging the kind of economic activity that has made it one of Hamilton's biggest success stories for revitalization. In other words, _it works_. Its not just about preserving historical ideas but preserving a successful urban space (I will grant that this point isn't strongly made in this letter).

  3. The objections here aren't really about height so much as about setback. The podium style of high-rise design is very popular precisely because of how it allows for tall buildings without destroying the intimacy of the street. It also reduces the amount of wind tunnelling that pedestrians experience as a result of high buildings, which makes the street more comfortable in winter. This proposal pays lip service to a podium design but the setback is too small to really be effective. As the letter states, they could literally move the tower back on the same lot and achieve an acceptable scaling.

  4. The Connolly site is not in an environment that has a successful, continuous human scale to it in the same way as James North. There is much less street activity, most buildings are 4+ stories with no setbacks, and there is a lot of variety already. There is no obvious urban form to conform to there; it won't be interrupting anything that works for a particular reason, which is why its a much better place for a tall, imposing structure with no setback or podium.

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