Van Der Rohe Plaza Adapted to Ward Off Skateboarders

In a privately-owned plaza designed by Mies van der Rohe in Toronto, owners have sliced into benches to dissuade skateboarding. Some call it an affront to the legendary designer's work.
November 3, 2008, 12pm PST | Nate Berg
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"The surgical incisions, as wide as a man's hand and deep enough to reveal a lighter tone of granite, have been made at regular intervals around the edge of each slab bench. Works that belonged to an epic story of 1960s minimalism in the downtown have suffered a slam - a bad, unexpected fall from grace. I'd rather see the disfigured benches removed from the plaza than witness the body blow."

"The benches once lined the flamed-granite plaza as singular, reliable places to sit or lie down during the lunch hour. The calculated defacement is an attempt by the landlord to forever prevent the grinding, fakies and fat tricks of skateboarders who occasionally invade the privately owned plaza."

"The landlord considers the incisions to be part of a necessary restoration more appropriate to the mess of people who increasingly want in on some downtown action. 'We're restoring our benches, rather than replacing them,' says Steven Sorensen, general manager of the Toronto-Dominion Centre."

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Published on Monday, November 3, 2008 in The Globe and Mail
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