Urban Fold

Dismissing 'Utilitarian' Building May Hurt Ottawa

Plans to quickly rebuild the historic Lansdowne Park in Ottawa instead of spending time on a design competition have spurred hot controversy in the city. Architecture critic Christopher Hume says the fast approach is bad for the project and the city.

Ottawa councillor Gord Hunter ruffled feathers when he suggested that the design competition would be a waste fo time for what is simply a "utilitarian" building.

"The fact is the utilitarian structures Hunter dismissed so casually comprise the very stuff of which cities are made. Yes, there is a hierarchy of use, location and meaning, but every building, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, contributes to the city

There's no denying we live in an age of architectural degradation, but let's not blame it on 'utility.' Still, the Hunters of the world have had an effect. The pressure not 'to waste time and money on design' is enormous, and it goes well beyond competitions."

Full Story: Hume: Good design sets a city up for success

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