Saskatoon has a reputation, literally within North America, of raising up creative leaders with a strong work ethic. We have a healthy arts community. There have been a number of recent examples of innovative new and infill residential developments however the number of innovative commercial examples are few. Why do you think we are lacking in this area?
Where did they get it right?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Two people can argue whether a building design is attractive or ugly. It is however easier to reach a consensus on the creativity of a project, whether you like it or hate it.
Feel free to call me biased, but it won’t change my opinion of an extraordinary new office building we are marketing called Timber Pointe on Queen. Duco Developments had the courage to develop this upscale office building which can be described as a nod to West Coast style and charm. It is unlike anything we have ever seen in Saskatoon.
The Remai Modern Art Gallery got it right. Its landmark location on the riverbank in the heart of our city is an ideal spot to showcase this award winning design.
Undoubtedly one of the most interesting pieces of architecture I have ever seen is Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. To me it is a work of art. It left an impression upon me that will never be forgotten.
Where did they get it wrong?
Would you like to see a great example of an industrial looking building in a new retail development? Drive by Motion Fitness on Betts Ave in Saskatoon’s Blairmore District. It’s a great of example of what you get when you try to save money and at the same time lack vision!
To be fair, the new $122M Saskatoon Police Station which was completed in 2014 had some design challenges to fit with the nearby warehouse district and the historic industrial buildings that remain in the area. I do believe however it would be easy to mistake this for a twenty year old development.
When comparing Saskatoon’s more recent commercial construction with that of other Western Canadian cities, we have a way to go.
It is easy to argue that due to higher rental rates in other cities, there is more money to be spent on architectural design. I believe however it has more to do with a lack of willingness to be different; to be bold and step outside the box.
It simply takes more patience and time to explore the options out there. It does not always mean “reinventing the wheel.” Plenty of examples of cost effective, innovative construction can be found in many other cities throughout our increasingly smaller global village.
Will things change?
I believe they are changing. We are travelling more and sharing information at a speed that is rapidly increasing. Our city is growing and along with that growth we are seeing the migration of people from all over the world with new ideas and a desire to invest in our future.
Do you believe?
Posted by Barry Stuart