urbanism – landscape – ideas – theory – whimsy



The influence of the Drake Hotel continues. Whichever side of the issue you fall on, you can’t argue with the results – changes along Queen West between Ossington and Dufferin have been both pronounced and rapid, from cafes and bars to boutiques and Starbucks.

Those changes are just the tip of the iceberg – a couple of significant condominium development proposals are currently in negotiation south of the Drake in the area dubbed the West Queen West Triangle – and this bizarre sales centre for the “West Side Lofts” (stuck right beside Woolfitts) is the harbringer of things to come.

While it’s exciting that they’ve broken with the staid and obviously temporary standard typology of the sales centre, the flip side is that the aestheticisation of architecture and design in this case is entirely for the sake of attracting attention in the form of sales – once that function has been fulfilled, the building will disappear. This seems a more and more common “programme” of contemporary architecture (read ROM, AGO), one which almost of necessity neglects the other responsibilities of buildings towards the urban fabric.

I suspect that the debate over the influence of the Drake and the nature of gentrification along Queen West is just getting started.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I read somewhere that this building may be kept and converted to condos itself. I can’t remember where I read it though… sorry. Great site.

Yeah, it’s more than a sales centre. It’s a Happening, man!

Likes the moniker “west queen west” btw. “Where do you live?” “Oh, I live in northeast west queen west.” (overheard in Starbucks).

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>