Is it true: We like boring architecture when it comes to condo development?

I was having a conversation recently with a colleague of mine, as I am in the process of searching for a new home. She herself is about 12 months away from making a move from living in a house (a large one at that) to that of a condominium apartment.

We got to talking about the architecture of certain buildings scattered throughout the city, and which ones were our individual favourites. As we began to name building after building we quickly went from “oh, I love that buildings facade” to “yeah, that ones okay. I guess??”

With the explosion in condo development over the past 15 years in Toronto, is it surprising that many developers follow a traditional approach to their builds with the dominate use of glass, brick, and concrete design?

Probably not. But the exterior looks of many buildings are boring and drab and the push for better views and natural light in more units had architects going floor to ceiling glass crazy, to appease developers and consumers alike.

BILD President and CEO David Wilkes recently wrote an article in The Toronto Star titled ‘Denmark and Sweden are creative when it comes to urban design and architecture’

In it he gives hope by stating that “In Canada, we tend to have a rather conservative appetite for architecture. But this is starting to change in Toronto, with more developers commissioning international architects and some young local firms growing in confidence.”

This would be great and welcome news to many, including my colleague and I, as Toronto is poised to become an even more prominent world class city in the years to come.

Having more exciting architecture in our condo buildings that are stealing light and sky from passerbys below, will even possibly foster better goodwill for those so opposed to our rapid development. Not that I have any empirical evidence of such, but optimistically thinking, if we build towards an exciting downtown where pedestrians can take in multitudes of green space alongside architecturally creative and pleasing development, while on their way to work or play, would make for an exciting part of the city to live in.

It sounds like our developers want this, now our city needs to get behind it and be supportive. If not, development is going to happen anyway, and then we might become known as Glassville instead of Hogtown.

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