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#21 aastra

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 08:36 PM

So which is more insufferably evil? Renovating/repurposing an old building, as they're proposing to do in this instance, or refusing to renovate/repurpose an old building, as in the case of the Janion?

#22 aastra

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 08:39 PM

They're both insufferably evil, I understand that. I'd just like to know which is worse.

#23 aastra

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:02 PM

We all know that adding an additional story or two along Fan Tan Alley would destroy Chinatown utterly and completely, but did we all know that the buildings lining Fan Tan Alley are not of uniform heights? The buildings on the west side are shorter than the buildings on the east side. They want to add a story or two on the west side nearest to Pandora, yes? Remind me, what were the catastrophic consequences when that rooftop addition shown in the pic below was added to that building on the east side? Does adding a new level on the roof really void a building's heritage value, as stated by the fellow in the article?



#24 Rob Randall

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:04 PM

^As much as I hated seeing Kramer's building's deteriorate, I enjoy looking at the Janion and all the original unrestored detailing, including the virtually untouched ground floor. It's like a museum piece. Many heritage buildings have had their street-level frontage radically altered or completely rebuilt.

The old archival photos we have been enjoying prove that heritage buildings are very fluid. They often start out as wood frame, get a stone or brick cladding, detailing is added and taken away, extra storeys are built, demolished and rebuilt, the exterior is stuccoed, then restored.

In the Chinatown case, restricted sunlight is one reason residents are angry about the Fan Tan addition. Yes, it will affect the views of the west-facing apartments and businesses but not many people enter Fan Tan Alley looking for sunshine.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#25 D.L.

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:05 PM

gawd, I wonder of the ancient Romans dealt with such petty issues when building their cities. or the ancient Chinese for that matter.

#26 Bingo

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 09:57 PM

So which is more insufferably evil? Renovating/repurposing an old building, as they're proposing to do in this instance, or refusing to renovate/repurpose an old building, as in the case of the Janion?


The city lost a chance to preserve something of heritage value, besides some crumbling brick buildings, when it decided to replace a mechanical structure like the Johnson Street Bridge.

When the new bridge is plunked down next to the Janion, it will be the wedge that will likely continue to invade Old Town.

#27 amor de cosmos

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:05 AM

what if those buildings were just restored though, like lower Johnson? That wouldn't really be so bad would it?

#28 Rob Randall

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:24 AM

There has been a lot of grumbling with people saying if Chris LeFevre can make a profit without adding on to his heritage buildings why do these people require additional storeys. But LeFevre has additions to some of his projects, too. Each building has its own economics.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#29 D.L.

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:53 AM

it looks like a couple of buildings in Fan Tan alley have already had rooftop additions



#30 aastra

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:26 AM

what if those buildings were just restored though, like lower Johnson? That wouldn't really be so bad would it?

It would be fine by me, but methinks the two key questions are:

1) is it viable in this instance?

and

2) what's the big deal about adding an additional floor? Do people not realize that floors have been added to/removed from several buildings in downtown Victoria, and that it's something that's been going on pretty much from day one? Some of the commenters to that article seem to think the very suggestion of manipulating the height of an old building is bizarre and ridiculous.

For me, the main concern would be the format of the proposed commercial spaces within the alley itself (if that is indeed what they're proposing).

Also, this notion that Chinatown is somehow serving as a "historically accurate museum"... if that were the case then the folks concerned with heritage would be demanding more residential units in Chinatown. The historic Chinatown was old Victoria's most densely populated neighbourhood, by far.

#31 aastra

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:41 AM

But the counter-argument is that there's more to preserving heritage than simply freezing it in a point in time. It must also be allowed to flourish as a living culture. Chinatown can't survive as a museum, its curators handcuffed.


Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz1Vh2ofb27

See, this is what really bothers me. The "moment in time" that we'd be freezing would be the year 2011. Don't people get that? Don't they realize how much Chinatown has changed over the years and decades?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Chinatown as it currently is. If you're going to freeze an image of Chinatown for some lengthy period then I understand why you'd choose the current incarnation. But let's not kid ourselves into believing the gentrified/tourism-oriented Chinatown that we enjoy today is somehow a step back in time to a hundred years ago, and that we'd surely spoil it by laying so much as a finger on it.

#32 Bernard

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:44 AM

Go over to Vancouver and see what Chinatown looks like - yes there are heritage buildings, but there are a lot of modern buildings and a sense of living and thriving culture. Chinatown in Victoria looks nice enough, but certainly does not seem to a vibrant community hub.

#33 Bingo

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:27 AM

Go over to Vancouver and see what Chinatown looks like - yes there are heritage buildings, but there are a lot of modern buildings and a sense of living and thriving culture. Chinatown in Victoria looks nice enough, but certainly does not seem to a vibrant community hub.


Once the vegetable vendors and the restaurants are forced out, our Chinatown culture will dwindle away. Modern buildings encroaching into that space will hasten that process.

#34 gumgum

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 11:35 AM

Yes, modern buildings destroy a person's desire for vegetables.

#35 Bernard

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:08 PM

Vancouver's central Chinatown is more modern buildings than old buildings. The stores are all oriented towards the Chinese community. The other Chinatown in Richmond has no old buildings at all.

#36 LJ

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:45 PM

Nor does the Chinese night market.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#37 aastra

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 09:30 PM

Pound for pound, I much prefer Victoria's Chinatown to Vancouver's. I appreciate that Vancouver's is a functioning ethnic neighbourhood in the heart of the city, and there are some nice historic buildings here and there as Bernard says, but it just seems to lack that... magic. It's charmless by comparison to Victoria's.

I think Victorians should really be careful about how they redevelop the various parking lots and empty lots in and around Chinatown. Those empty properties should be redeveloped, absolutely. Fill in the gaps. But for the love of God, don't build more buildings like the Streetlink building or that office block behind Market Square on Pandora. That's the kind of "sensitive" architecture that just wants to suck the romantic soul out of a special district (much like this building in Vancouver). I hope the "Union" isn't more of the same.

#38 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:58 PM

But for the love of God, don't build more buildings like the Streetlink building or that office block behind Market Square on Pandora. That's the kind of "sensitive" architecture that just wants to suck the romantic soul out of a special district (much like this building in Vancouver).


Somehow, in that consensus-and-design-by-committee methodology which somehow often wins out (sadly), it's not impossible that drab, dark brown brick ends up as a preferred material - and even comes across as a "winner": Oh, it's so much nicer than Hardiplank!
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#39 slinkyo

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:18 AM

Just went by there yesterday. There are no words to describe how disgusted and horrifying the sight was. Go look for yourself. Outside I saw one rat come out from under a concrete slab that was broken. ok, that's kind of brazen in the middle of the day...just one eh? But inside Turner's..oh my, I've never seen sooooo many rats in one room. They are climbing around everywhere!! They've eaten holes into all the walls and are basically using the place as a rat party palace.

Does anyone know about this? Shouldn't the city do something about it? This is friggin' reDONKulous!:confused:

#40 Bernard

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:31 AM

Just went by there yesterday. There are no words to describe how disgusted and horrifying the sight was. Go look for yourself. Outside I saw one rat come out from under a concrete slab that was broken. ok, that's kind of brazen in the middle of the day...just one eh? But inside Turner's..oh my, I've never seen sooooo many rats in one room. They are climbing around everywhere!! They've eaten holes into all the walls and are basically using the place as a rat party palace.

Does anyone know about this? Shouldn't the city do something about it? This is friggin' reDONKulous!:confused:


I lived in the neighbourhood in the 1980s and spend many an hour at Ian's. I have been wondering why the building is being left to decay to nothing.

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