West Village Towers | 150m | 41s | Cidex Group | NORR Dubai Yahya Jan

General rating of the project

  • Great

    Votes: 6 6.9%
  • Very Good

    Votes: 12 13.8%
  • Good

    Votes: 24 27.6%
  • So So

    Votes: 12 13.8%
  • Not Very Good

    Votes: 13 14.9%
  • Terrible

    Votes: 20 23.0%

  • Total voters
    87

GoVertical

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gsunnyg

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I know I'm going to get some flak for this, but generally speaking I like how the towers look in the skyline. I don't know if the intent was to make the crown mimic the Rockies, but in that last shot they kind of do.
Again I can live with the towers, the body is actually nice, its the podium that should've been castrated in the start.
 

Calgcouver

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The podium looks absolutely awful when driving by, I don't think there is any saving it now. Really, really disappointed by the brutal design and material choices there! NORR and Cidex should not work together anymore after dropping this abomination on us.
Honestly I partially blame UDRP. Isn't this the exact kind of thing they should be actively deterring? They let them get away with murder on that podium. However, I do think that could be partly because UDRP's mandate may not go far enough.
 

Beazley66

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Honestly I partially blame UDRP. Isn't this the exact kind of thing they should be actively deterring? They let them get away with murder on that podium. However, I do think that could be partly because UDRP's mandate may not go far enough.
I would concur. This has been a frequent discussion between myself and my partner. If you consider process, the UDRP is actually more important than CPC, and there has to be a vested recognition in that importance, which I don't think is happening. Also, all things considered, if there were a stat based on analyzing attendance at UDRP, it would probably indicate that there were a lot of empty chairs around when important recommendations about design were needed. Anyway, it's a pretty big discussion that needs to be had.
 

Urb

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I agree. Council needs to provide UDRP with the power to push back on design. Currently, they are more of a formality. What's more frightening to me is the podium CIdex & NORR have proposed for the Elbow River Casino site. They intend to put a bunker adjacent to the river. It's deplorable.
 

Calgcouver

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I would concur. This has been a frequent discussion between myself and my partner. If you consider process, the UDRP is actually more important than CPC, and there has to be a vested recognition in that importance, which I don't think is happening. Also, all things considered, if there were a stat based on analyzing attendance at UDRP, it would probably indicate that there were a lot of empty chairs around when important recommendations about design were needed. Anyway, it's a pretty big discussion that needs to be had.
I think you're right. It is amazing how many areas this podium falls short on, particularly from an urban design perspective.
  1. It has a massive loading bay through the centre of the site;
  2. has zero articulation or fenestration to break up the massing of the podium;
  3. It has drive-in bays along 9th Avenue (could be shops or otherwise);
  4. the public realm is tight and does nothing to calm the interaction with 9 Ave being essentially a freeway;
  5. doesn't appear to have any tree line assignments or landscaping or other design interventions that can soften a harsh, uninviting streetscape;
  6. has terribly cheap looking materials at-grade;
  7. has a generally monolithic and oppressive street feel and scale.
  8. surely there are more issues that will arise when complete.
I truly can't find a single redeeming quality about the podium and it worries me when development professionals on UDRP look at those obvious shortcomings and flawed design decisions on the part of the applicant and just let them slide. I don't care what the towers look like at all, they are fine. But the podium should not at any point have ever passed muster with anyone looking at it, especially a panel of professionals.
 
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MichaelS

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Keep in mind that in Calgary, UDRP is an "Advisory" panel, and not a binding approving authority the way CPC is. I don't know if we can still access the CPC minutes when this was approved, which might contain the UDRP commentary, but maybe the panel did push back on all of these items? But, due to the advisory nature, Cidex could have said "thanks, checked the attendance box, now onto CPC" and there is nothing UDRP could have done about it.

Also keep in mind, depending on when the panel saw the project, they might have seen a version that still had a transparent crown and large visible indoor forest. Podium renderings may not have represented what the final product is, similar to the crown.
 

Beazley66

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Keep in mind that in Calgary, UDRP is an "Advisory" panel, and not a binding approving authority the way CPC is. I don't know if we can still access the CPC minutes when this was approved, which might contain the UDRP commentary, but maybe the panel did push back on all of these items? But, due to the advisory nature, Cidex could have said "thanks, checked the attendance box, now onto CPC" and there is nothing UDRP could have done about it.

Also keep in mind, depending on when the panel saw the project, they might have seen a version that still had a transparent crown and large visible indoor forest. Podium renderings may not have represented what the final product is, similar to the crown.
Correct, which is why I used the term recommendation. There is a valid point about the "terminus ante quem vs. post quem" (before vs after). I'm less concerned about Cidex checking the attendance box, but the actual UDRP members. There have been some recent high profile projects, of major architectural consequence, that have lacked architectural input from UDRP. I admire what traffic engineers do, but I don't think they are equipped to comment on how a design fits a site, or offer perhaps other architectural considerations. The other thing I have noticed is that the UDRP score is sometimes redacted from the public document. I believe now, the city requires an email request to obtain past files from cpc agendas.
 

Calgcouver

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Correct, which is why I used the term recommendation. There is a valid point about the "terminus ante quem vs. post quem" (before vs after). I'm less concerned about Cidex checking the attendance box, but the actual UDRP members. There have been some recent high profile projects, of major architectural consequence, that have lacked architectural input from UDRP. I admire what traffic engineers do, but I don't think they are equipped to comment on how a design fits a site, or offer perhaps other architectural considerations. The other thing I have noticed is that the UDRP score is sometimes redacted from the public document. I believe now, the city requires an email request to obtain past files from cpc agendas.
It is just surprising to me because Urban Design Panel in Vancouver murders projects a lot of the time. I don't think UDRP needs the same level of mandate that UDP in Vancouver has, but it certainly needs a lot more clout than it seems to have had in recent years.
 

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