As the name suggests, every Friday Spacing profiles Facebook groups that are using the social network to articulate their experiences and share information about Toronto.
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A city´s identity is largely defined by the aesthetic and functional integrity of its buildings. It is for this reason that I decided to search for Facebook groups that are informing Torontonians about, critiquing, and responding to current architectural issues.
Toronto Architecture as well as Urban Toronto Forum, for example, are providing up-to-date information on new building proposals as well as architectural endeavors that have recently been approved, built, or that are currently under construction. One issue under debate among group members is whether or not the new Trump building undermines the “Canadianness” of our city´s skyline.
Other groups, rather than covering a breadth of topics and offering somewhat objective information about Toronto architecture, are directly criticizing the city´s approach to urban development and the role of architecture in defining Toronto´s culture and peoples. Architecture and Esthetic in Urban Space – Are there any designers? is one such example as it discusses how uninventive glass and metal condominiums are destroying Toronto´s urban space; as a result, our city is becoming visually banal. Members of this group believe in the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural significance of urban architecture. In other words, they believe that the quality of the built environment is directly linked to the preservation of the natural environment; they believe that the quality of the built environment is a significant factor in creating a country´s local, regional, and international image and that this is essential to its economic activity; and, they believe that the atmosphere and cultural identity of a city directly influences immigration, cultural cohesion, and local business development.
Bad Buildings approaches these same issues in a light-hearted way as it encourages group members to share personal stories about their own four walls of badness – the homes and stores that contain their lives. An obvious bedate in recent months has been the new ROM Crystal as many feel that it has created a sense of boldness in Toronto´s city-scape, but without a sense of scale, proportion, material, or human spacial relationship.
Other groups, however, such as Bioclimatic Skyscrapers, are using Facebook to spread awareness about eco-friendly design and execution. Malaysian architect and writer Ken Yeangs is the source of wisdom for this group as he shares his ideas on how building design can be changed to help resist climate change. Members of this group are kept informed about current design projects, such as the one underway at Nottingham. There, a team of architects are exploring the logistics of tall buildings and how microgeneration might become a crucial factor in future green design.
Finally, groups such as Frank Gehry are simply celebrating Canadian ingenuity and the degree to which architecture should be about creating functional sculptures rather than boring buildings.
photo by Sam Javanrouh