Continued from last week: I was invited for an absolutely fabulous meal tonight. The food was creative. It had been chosen and cooked with care. Beautifully smoked chicken, mini cucumber and blue berry salad with a rice wine vinegar dressing. The desert was goats cheese-milk sweetened sorbet with mango chunks.
A meal is architecture. A meal like this sews the seeds of a very fine notion of shared energy in the form of food. A meal like this is very fine architecture. The architecture of relationships; food, friends, loved ones.
Now imagine this lovely food served in the midst of a warm rain storm, on a white pine picnic table, on a platform little cedar platform, nestled under a suspended house in the middle of downtown Toronto protected from the rain. Warm conversation amidst the patter of the surrounding drops.
So the question gets asked of me, how can we afford something like this? [a well designed little home on a little piece of land in Toronto?] I swear this was the question asked of me. And the one who posed the question was persistent in asking.
My response was short. Almost too short. But I believe it was reasonable. But it was not short enough for my friend. My answer; Toronto has many many thousands of pieces of unused or under utilized pieces of land, with and without buildings. Unfortunately present zoning has made it unnecessarily tough for the individual person, families or small developer to build here especially even creative ones. Secondly, the fact that Torontonians and Ontarians, in general (not all) are aggressively conservative when it comes to their design preferences in housing that often leads them disregard many good solutions from other countries and jurisdictions let alone from home grown talent. Jurisdictions such as New York, Japan, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco and so on. Thirdly, banks and other lenders are highly resistant to any variation on the present Ontario housing aesthetic (style), plan layouts, building methodology and use of current building mechanical strategies that also, by the way, cripple good creative appropriate solutions that perform the same or in many cases better.
BTW dinner was lovely. My friend’s question was genuine and important. I hope he can forgive the fact that I could not give him a one-line answer.
So, is Architecture dead in Toronto? More next week …..