I love my hometown of Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada (a.k.a. Texas of the North), but sometimes I just have to throw my hands up.
Edmonton is apparently the largest city in North America to not have an architecture school. There are good architects there and a decent art scene, but there just isn't a strong enough design community or general literacy about the built environment to prevent abominations like this:
But it looks like they're pretty pleased with themselves.
This building sits on Churchill Square, which is also bordered by Edmonton's City Hall, the main branch of the public library, a theatre (which, with its atrium/greenhouse and flowing terraces, is a wonderful indoor public space) and a major downtown shopping center. The square hosts many of the downtown festivals that take place in the summer. It is by far the most important public space in the city's small downtown.
The project replaces a late 1960s brutalist building that, admittedly, didn't let enough natural light in and didn't have the most inviting presence on the square. But in no way does that excuse this kind of ignorant and self-indulgent bullshit. The worst thing here is that I'm afraid that, for ordinary people in Edmonton, this project will stand in for what architecture is, and will turn people off from wanting to invest in design or to trust architects at for anything at all for years to come. And who could blame them?
I am inconsolable.
P.S. Thanks, mom, for sending the news article.
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