Vivian Smith rocks -- she hits all the right points in today's T-C
commentary on the silly "blue ribbon" task force plan for Belleville Street. See [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=899e6ce1-7f47-47ab-8782-c505da2b1c29:cc5c9]Words or art: Either would improve old CP terminal[/url:cc5c9]. Here are some key excerpts:
Inside Seattle's Central Library on a summer Saturday morning, local people are absorbed in content: Books, magazines, the Internet.
For the rest of us, the tourists, it's context.
Right there, bingo!, the sign of intelligent life in journalism! Yes, the locals are up to their noses in content, the visitors are savouring the context.
Please, City Council: write this on a flash card.
She continues, further down (and do click through to read the whole thing):
Not everyone loves the library's cube look [note: she is writing of the Seattle Public Library], but this is how smart cities serve taxpayers and tourists. The building combines what locals need with what travellers hope to experience: Beauty, function, respite, excitement, a sense of discovery, a sense of place and what that particular place is all about. Corporations get on board, too: Inside the library, visit the Starbucks Teen Center or the Microsoft Auditorium.
Where prime downtown space is involved, what we choose to build reflects how we feel about our community: What do we value, what do our spaces say about us?
She is absolutely spot-on: "combine what locals need with what travellers hope to experience."
Here's the bulk of the rest of Smith's article, but click through to read the whole thing...
I like to see the Coho in the harbour: I don't think the parking area is grim, as its critics insist. Let the Coho stay with all the other craft. It's a working harbour, for Pete's sake, not a movie set.
But what I care about more than the Coho is what happens to the CP building, which now houses a wax museum. Nothing shrieks "West Coast magnificence" like a wax museum, I guess.
Here is a chance to create a building that would tell visitors instantly what Victoria is about: A place where unparalleled natural beauty meets a rich (in so many ways) society.
How can we show them, and each other, that we deserve to live here?
A grand library -- the building already conveniently looks like a grand library -- imbued with the kind of boldness that inspired the Seattle library, and as reflective of its surroundings, would show the world that we take our cultural wealth seriously.
I do love libraries. But when it comes to celebrating place, artists win, hands down. Think of how Emily Carr captured the drama and vibrancy of our rainforests -- and then think of the dull little room where a bit of her work sits at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on Moss Street, too far for any tourist to walk anyway. Picture how E.J. Hughes brought his beloved Cowichan Valley and nearby coast to life for 50 years. The bulk of what the public can see of his original work is a ferry ride away, in Vancouver.
We are a green jewel, a capital city on a wildly beautiful island. A building to honour our words or art, it doesn't matter which. Just make it for us to use, make it spectacular, and the tourists will love it too.
Here's the full link again
: [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=899e6ce1-7f47-47ab-8782-c505da2b1c29:cc5c9]Words or art: Either would improve old CP terminal[/url:cc5c9].
Too bad the Times-Colonist doesn't have more reporters/ journalists of Smith's intelligence and calibre...