RNDSQR Block | 45m | 12s | RNDSQR | 5468796 Architecture

Just build it

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You haven’t burned bridges With me. I’m in favour of the project, but I don’t expect everyone else to have my opinion. I appreciate that you’re willing to chat with the developer and not just shoot it down because you don’t like it, or that you don’t like change - like some of the other opponents.
I’ll put my thoughts together after the weekend. I volunteered with ICA and BIA, and am against the proposal. I’ll be at the hub tomorrow talking about it. Your welcome to drop by Al , we can have a chew about it. Yes I live in Inglewood, no I’m not a NIMBY, and I am concerned about this project. It’s not about“ Fit where you Live“, it’s about this doesn’t fit where we live, and prescribed living. I’ve probably burned the few bridges I have here with this, but so be it, I’m fine with that. Keep in mind that this is part of a larger discussion that has at this point, prior to Council, is questioning due process. Anyway, look forward to chatting with anyone who wants to.
 

heritageguy

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Great looking building and a very expensive concept. RNDSQR will definitely need the bonus density to make this project feasible with this concept. I'm of the opinion that 9th Ave should have consistent height and the extra density should be for sites next to the lrt. If approved RNDSQR should have to pay for the bonus density in a in a meaningful way because it translates to millions of dollars of value to them.
 

Duck Lightning

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I personally don't understand the hate around this project. It's a 12 story building not a skyscraper and it's not a project that looks to be an eyesore so how will it be a negative to the community!? Really can you seriously imagine someone from out of town looking at this project after it's built and thinking: Inglewood's nice and all but its too bad about that eyesore? This project could be a whole lot worse, at least it's not THIS square monstrosity sitting in downtown Lethbridge.
 
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CBBarnett

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I personally don't understand the hate around this project. It's a 12 story building not a skyscraper and it's not a project that looks to be an eyesore so how will it be a negative to the community!? Really can you seriously imagine someone from out of town looking at this project after it's built and thinking Inglewood's nice and all but its too bad about that eyesore? This project could be a whole lot worse, at least it's not THIS square monstrosity sitting in downtown Lethbridge.
Agreed. I think that critiques of tall buildings (even 12 storeys) can be valid in all areas, including heritage streets, but they are hardly insurmountable. A good design - this one approaching iconic status - pulled off sensitively and tastefully can make a big difference and be a net benefit despite some drawbacks (e.g. shadows). As I previously stated, all this focus on height misses some of the other really critical or more critical dimensions to a successful corridor, street or community.

Richard White's comments - love them or hate them - on Inglewood offer some interesting thoughts:
https://calgaryherald.com/life/home...ler/wcm/1958d367-f8ee-4889-ae77-52cdaa57ef55/

The article describes the Marshall Drug building and the Spolumbo's buildings as leading the way in revitalizing the neighbourhood through being " both dark brick buildings not only fit seamlessly into the neighbourhood’s early 20th century architecture, but added much needed new retail and restaurant experiences". True both these buildings use bricks and provide good, pedestrian-centric retail, but both replaced empty lots (Spolombo's appears to replace a car dealership/parking lot just like the RNDSQR proposal). The RNDSQR building does this as well providing much needed 21st century retail, public realm improvements and critically residential capacity to help revitalize the area further.

Spolumbo's "success" also maintains half it's corner parcel for surface parking (definitely not a traditional heritage street form) and features one entire face that is blank and featureless, no doubt compromises of the traditional form to make the development more feasible and sustainable as was imagined by the developer/business at the time. Spolumbo's is a 1980s/90s design of a main street and it's limitations will increasingly show in such a prominent corner. But the building conforms because bricks + small scale = good, even if the design actually saps energy from the street rather than add to it (or at least leaves lots of potential on the table).

Unlike Spolumbo's or Marshall Drugs, RNDSQR's proposal saves and rejuvenates an actual heritage building. It replaces vibrancy-killing surface parking - unlike half of Spolumbo's - and does it with a cool design that is hopefully a major draw for residents, new industry office and retail alike. No heritage buildings are lost due to this development. While it's height is a challenge, but as compromises go it's a reasonable trade-off of risk v. reward as Inglewood transitions into hopefully a successful 21st century main street rather than a stagnant 20th century one.


Spolumbo's (1997)
1595258809305.png
 

Silence&Motion

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@CBBarnett: couldn't agree more! Spolumbo's is definitely an example of one of those buildings that checks off all the right boxes on paper, in terms of respect for heritage, but in practice ends up looking like something that would fit better into a suburban strip mall than a historic main street. You are absolutely right that this building "saps" the energy from the street.
 

people.talking

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It seems like the vast majority of us are in agreement that the proposal is favourable and would be perfect if the height was reduced by 3 or 4 stories. Inglewood has the capability of being a world class neighbourhood, with world class shopping, dining and living and this could be a perfect building for that vision. Once things like The Green Line and The Rivers District redevelopment are complete this area will be very attractive. Throw in a couple hotels and you got yourself an amazing community for tourists and residents. But that vision is also dependent on buildings similar to this being built over surface parking lots and abandoned lots.
 

Mountain Man

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I think Spolumbos building could fit into either Inglewood or a suburban high street strip. It's not over the top faux historical, but old enough looking to fit into Inglewood.
It's not a terrible building, but for that street corner it's a total waste. Kinda like the building the Pint was in on 17Ave and 14St, really underwhelming for such a prominent corner.
 

CCF

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It's also an entirely inefficient use of land. I recognize the conversation towards intensification has likely shifted some since that building was developed, but density along our main streets is sorely needed. It's like the new-ish retail development at 17th Ave and 4th Street SW. The retail spaces themselves are fine, but a single storey building at such a prominent intersection of activity, is again, entirely inefficient. To avoid these issues we need to set policy that stipulates minimum densities too. That's as important of a conversation as maximum density/height.
 
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CBBarnett

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It's also an entirely inefficient use of land. I recognize the conversation towards intensification has likely shifted some since that building was developed, but density along our main streets is sorely needed. It's like the new-is retail development at 17th Ave and 4th Street SW. The retail spaces themselves are fine, but a single storey building at such a prominent intersection of activity, is again, entirely inefficient. To avoid these issues we need to set policy that stipulates minimum densities too. That's as important of a conversation as maximum density/height.
Concentrate density on the main streets... or be prepared to really intensify all surrounding streets in all directions by a factor of 10 or 20 (over time). Ideally a bit of both.

Of course this kind of "radical" density is only required if the goal is to have a healthy, sustainable main street across a range of possible futures over decades or a century. If it's acceptable to let the street one-day return to obsolescence again you might not need to do as much.

Digging in the census data, it gets a bit weird at the tiny dissemination block level (all regular data and small area calculation caveats apply), but the block that this proposal is on has a total of 19 residents in 2016 for a density of 9 people per hectare. Surrounding blocks aren't much better and then you hit parks or train yards with zero people. Local people = local main street customers, they are the key to maintaining an area's vibrancy in all futures, including ones where tastes change and trendy becomes boring.
1595347712268.png


Put another 100 residents on this block with RNDSQR's proposal, you end up at 120 residents or a density of ~60 people / ha. Congratulations, Inglewood has it's first block that is approaching the lowest density block along the entire Osslington Avenue corridor in Toronto ranging from 50 - 150 people /ha. For those unfamiliar, here's a density map from censusmapper.ca and a street photo:
1595348366126.png

1595348545850.png


Note Osslington's lack of tall buildings and successful retail district through many ebbs and flows of tastes, consumer preferences and economic conditions. Only possible due to the incredible local density stretching for kilometres in all directions, most of which is low-rise and ground-oriented yet approaches and exceeds the density of the Beltline in many places. A place lucky enough to see a few centuries of growth, mostly under conditions of zero setbacks, zero parking requirements and almost no land use regulations will create this environment.

Now lacking magic powers, unfortunately we can't just wish a sustainably dense but low-height main street into existence in Calgary. Our history is different, our past and current development conditions are different. Inglewood doesn't have kilometres of possible infill to support it thanks to the rivers and train yards, both fairly insurmountable development barriers except in exceptional circumstances (if the redevelopment of a shabby old car dealership get's this kind of reception by the community, imagine attempting to redevelop one of the main underutilized park spaces in the area!). Inglewood (and the vast majority of Calgary) can barely build townhouses without resistance off the main street, let along 10x the density on every street in every direction that is required to support a main street sustainably.

So what can we do?

To save the main street and live in the complicated reality of city-building, we have to use the opportunities and hand we are dealt, there are no wishes and magic wands. The current plan for mid-rise density with effective design and good heritage integration is a pretty solid compromise to get us one step closer to a sustainable local population. Meanwhile, lets toss setbacks and parking requirements in the trash for low-rise and work to make it easier to infill with the types of developments that are less intrusive but still offer the local density boost desperately needed throughout the inner city.
 
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Silence&Motion

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Spolumbo's building is evidence that Beaux-Arts architecture is something that you actually needed to be trained in. You can't just stick a cornice on top of a brick wall and call it pretty. This is why so many faux-historical buildings look so ugly. The "architects" who design them have no skill. Spolumbo's is a genuinely ugly building because of its proportions, its ornamentation, its materials, etc. Unfortunately, Spolumbo's is also indicative of the typical faux-historical building (many of which you can find on 9 Ave).

Check out the PoMo building that has the knife shop a few doors down. It is a fantastic example of how blending in with historic buildings can be done correctly.
 

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