The other day, on my morning walk to the office, I spied this clumsy piece of signage on top of what I knew to be an elegant building:
The Ontario Power Generation building is not perhaps a landmark piece of architecture, but it is simple and impressive, and its front echoes the curve of Queen's Park crescent a little further north. Across College Street, Norman Foster pays it a compliment by continuing its lines in the University of Toronto's new Pharmacy building, which doubles OPG's colonnade with a reflection of its own.
What then did it do to deserve this?
It looks like amateur fixup by a DYI householder. I feel hurt that a Dutch bank would do this to Toronto. Aren't we supposed to be friends? Didn't Canada help liberate Holland after the war? Didn't hundreds of Dutch men and women come over here with their Canadian spouses? And then they do this?
Some of my friends remark that the ING signage is merely an expression of the Toronto craze to brand buildings. That is part of it, no doubt. But there isn't anything seriously bad about the S on top of this building, is there? (Aside from the logo itself, of course.)
The rule in Toronto is that the eye is not allowed to fall unpunished upon a pleasant thing. The Dutch, whose cities are gorgeous even though built by bankers and shippers, should have done better.
Here, by the way, is ING's world headquarters near Schiphol in the Netherlands:
Now, that's a building and a half. Note the signage.