Cities exhibit two principal types of behavior; they are either elastic or inelastic. Change, impermanence, engagement with the social complexity of culture(s) is often the index of informal smooth cities. Meanwhile, other cities are becoming more and more fixed in their identity, from Venice, Italy to Santa Barbara, striated cities have developed a strong bias against change, against complexity and offer instead an identity that is permanent.
Toronto is a highly elastic city, it favors change. In this light consider new buildings by Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Morphosis, and Will Alsop. Additionally its politics are progressive, and it sees itself as inclusive and forward looking. Toronto, however, values its diverse history and encourages urban amalgamation rather than singular and exclusive objects. Seen in this light, Will Alsop’s Ontario College of Art building is a precedent for both the radicality of the contemporary object and the preservation/maintenance of distinct portions of existing buildings.
Status: School Project
Location: Southern California Institute of Architecture