Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Architectural Silliness at the University of Toronto Mississauga

The CCT Building at the University of Toronto Mississauga is an elegant pile, and is praised by many as a fine example of Canadian architecture in the newly prosperous era. Which it is:

The building also serves as a passageway to the Library:

which is a long way down this foyer/passage. Beautiful light, isn't it?

The foyer displays the Canadian love affair with unadorned concrete. Is that what we want that beautiful light to play on?

Well, one could argue about that.

But here's something you can't argue with. The building does have oddities that make one wonder what the architects were thinking. Walk up that pleasantly angular stair-pile, and one gets to a student reading/surfing/smooching area on top . . .

But then . . . how do you get to the third (or fourth) floor??

Turns out: you have to push a heavy fire door, which leads you to claustrophobia:

No light, no openness here. What a let-down on the way up! (Wish I could convey the smell of damp concrete.)

Not only that . . . but these stairs don't open out into the foyer. If you take them all the way down, you end up at an exterior door, and out in that cold, cold snow.

The stairs are at one end of the building and the elevators in the middle. If you're in the middle, and want to take the stairs up one floor, you have to walk all the way to the end of the building first. If you're at the end of the building, you have no elevator option.

Isn't traffic flow something architects are supposed to care about?

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