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My workplace is getting renovated. I'm excited to see a young architecture firm take the weirdness that is our central library/farmers market building and integrate the spaces. There's a great focus on the social space and providing both a view of each other as well as areas for privacy. I'm looking forward particularly to the new reading room with fireplace and the public kitchen in the market! Also the two-way conversion of York Blvd out front as well as parking lanes that turn into places for farmers market vendor stalls in the summer.

The current 1980 building is a fabulous experiment in open concept and while being nice to be in has some flaws. Like being able to hear the children's department in the archives and staff quarters being, essentially, big cubicles added on to the peripheral as an after-thought. Or the fact that the first floor is presently large print, circulation, children's dept., conference rooms and a hallway. People generally expect books and computers when they walk into a library these days.

Preliminary work has already begun.


Rendering: Hamilton Farmers Market / Central Library Renovation from Raise the Hammer on Vimeo.

Bayfront

Jun. 13th, 2007 11:22 pm
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Bayfront, originally uploaded by nfotxn.

I met up with Jeremy in the parking lot of our building getting a boost from his Mom who'd been visiting. So we decided we'd go charge the battery by roving around town looking at buildings. One such place was the Lifesavers plant on Cumberland that, since Hershey's acquisition and subsequent closing of the plant, has laid derelict.

Jeremy and I ended up in the parking lot talking to the security guard. A dirty biker daddy type whom was just dirty enough to be less than hot. He was also a little crazy (or lonely) but pleasant enough to not totally invalidate anything that he'd tell us. We were mostly interested in the structural state of the building. It's made from brick, concrete and steel and however vandalized the structure is in good shape. It's three floors each 18,500 sqft with 12' ceilings on the 1st and 2nd and surprising 14' floors in the basement. It's a beautiful piece of well built and practical deco inspired architecture made from local red brick and limestone from sometime in the early 50's.

The place was as pristine as a theme park up until the day Hershey sold the building. It was heavily vandalized by some kids 8-12 years old a few years ago. They broke all but 6-8 of the brand new windows. They were caught by police right as a 12-year-old kid was about to hit an extremely high amp power main with a 4' steel pipe to "see the sparks".

We were given stories likely fed by the owner of the building to the security guard about possible plans for the place. However it became obvious that given the mention of "The City" that in all likely hood property standards by-law was being enforced upon them. And it's likely the city is threatening imminent domain. Which is a good thing for those in the city who have plans to adaptively re-use these spaces. Because the building will sell for a lark.

Afterwards we met up with Kim and Sarah and Captain Frackelton for some ice cream down at Hutches on Bayfront Park. There were city people there showing off the latest preferred plan for the West Harbour Waterfront. Which is already a bustling place on any non-inclement day during the summer. The Park already exists but the improvements they have in mind are currently seeping through City Hall.

Even if they complete 1/2 of the improvements on the map I will be as pleased as punch. Because I live a block away.

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