It has been a very busy summer for me with some very exciting business opportunities moving forward, and the result has been a rather neglected blog. With the fall upon us I intend to move into some new projects and rejuvenating this blog is one of those. I am back on the air again, Monday nights 9-10 on CFBX 92.5 with Bruno Mazzotta wreaking havoc on the airwaves and creating a new music community on campus. In addition I hope to document some of my personal favorite and least favorite architectural pieces in Kamloops. The inspiration for this piece however was lifted from “The City in Mind” written in 2003 by James Howard Kunstler, dedicated to the famous Andres Duany. This copy is signed infact on loan from visionary proffessor Billy Collins at TRU.

This is what JHK had to say on page 31 regarding ‘the tyranny of the straight line’ referring to attached buildings with mandatory specific setbacks:

Haussmann [Paris ‘prefect of the Sienee or city planner] also attempted to compensate for the tyranny of the straight line by carefully terminating vistas along his boulevards at compelling public monuments. He used the Arc de Triomphe to terminate twelve street (creating a future automobile circulation problem). For public buildings he encouraged more exuberant decoration than the apartment blocks, but within the same classical vocabulary. Though the emperor [Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous dictators grand-son] was an Anglophile, he loathed the kind of romantic dark, poly-chrome gothic architecture the England was producing at the time. The prefect of the Seine was not afraid to use the new technologies of steel and glass frames in assembling grand neoclassical works like the Gare du Nord or the main reading room of the National Library. Classicism therefore was identified with being modern. Conveniently, it also re-invested the recollection of history, so that Parisians’ feelings about the future (their hope) could exist in continuity with their feelings about the past (their memories).

 

At this time Paris was burgeoning on about 500,000 people with only a half of those participating in the middle or upper classes. It is important to note that preservation of historic buildings for beauty was not the purpose here as Haussmann also circumvented the law to expropriate and demolish over 44,000 buildings in his 20 year rule; Hausmann was paving the way for the new, but maintaining a continuity, or a vocabulary in which the citizens of Paris would have comfort, and understanding within. It was already assumed that buildings could not be isolated in space, but that buildings needed to create the space in which we conducted our lives. In that way there needed to be continuity in the city to create the dynamic public amenities that citizens flocked to cities for.

In reflection of our city of Kamloops, little of this continuity remains. How many fascinating, durable and multi-use buildings in our city core we’re abondoned for the ‘higher-use’ of surface parking, destroying the contiuity that once spread the length of Victoria street. Not surpirisingly these missing teeth are undesirable, and attract many persons particpating in un desireable activites. The benches across from Hello Toast adjacent the large parking lot being a famliar one. Similairly so for the parking lot adjacent the Kamloops Inn on the 300 block. It is few the times of day one would allow their young daughter to pass that parking lot unchaperoned.

This article should not be misconstrued as a sentimental plea for the past, but understood that civil citizenry need a coherent architectural vocabulary within which diversity and experimentation is encouraged. A modernist building between a brownstone and a wood construction need not be out of place–as long as continuity is maintained.

 

The Gard du Nord with its modern iron and glass against its classical fascade:

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