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Waterloo Region's Top 10 Buildings
#1
What would you say are the 10 most important buildings in Waterloo Region?  


I just stumbled across this article about Toronto buildings and got to thinking what our 10 most important buildings were.

So what's your list?  The 10 most important buildings in Waterloo Region selected for their physical and cultural presence?  Name one, name two, name ten.  When we get a lot of responses I'll put together one big comprehensive list of our top 10.
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#2

  1. The Kaufman Building (1908)
  2. The Mutual Life building on King and Union (1912)
  3. Seagram Museum (1984)
  4. The Davis Centre (1988)
  5. Kitchener City Hall (1993)
  6. Clay and Glass Gallery (1993)
  7. Burt C. Matthews Hall Addition (1997)
  8. Perimeter Institute (2004)
  9. Bauer Lofts (2009)
  10. CIGI  (2011)

I don't personally like the Davis Centre much but it was the first attempt at architecture this town had seen since the Mutual Life building in 1912, so it's in the list. The Bauer Lofts make it in account of the fact that it was the first residential highrise within the downtown core ever and also the first mixed use development approved in decades. It really marked a turnaround from the planning department which has yet to fully unfold (3 story height restriction on Uptown any one?)

Near misses:
  • The Old Economical Building (16-20 Queen St. N.)
  • Waterloo regional museum
  • Quantum nanocentre
  • The 42 
  • The new courthouse
  • Centre in the square
  • The Kitchener Library
  • The Laurelwood YMCA
  • RIM Headquarters
  • School of Architecture
  • The Cambridge Mill
  • Cambridge city hall
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#3
I suppose it depends on what "importance" criteria you are going to apply, but I think CITS would have to be among the top ten, not for its architecture but as the Regions premier cultural venue. In that sense, I would place it ahead of the Clay and Glass Museum. I could also see a case for putting the Quantum-Nano centre ahead of Bauer Lofts, again depending on what "importance" criteria one prefers.
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#4
Absolutely, if you focused solely on architecture and design your list would be very different than if you focused on heritage or culture.

Ideally our list is a combination of everything.
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#5
Nothing important got built between 1912 and 1984?

Dana Porter Library at UW represents the 1960s.
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#6
On second thought, I might drop CIGI from the top 10 and replace it with Cambridge City Hall. Others that I forgot to mention are The Tannery, the School of Pharmacy, Seagram Lofts, the Old Courthouse, 165 Claremont Avenue, 44 Rusholme Road and the original City Bakery cafe.

As you can see I'm judging the buildings for their architectural/urban value, not for what goes on inside. I find CITS a bit too cookie cutter to make the list, though it is a perfectly functional and a very nice concert hall.
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#7
(11-06-2014, 12:31 PM)ookpik Wrote: Nothing important got built between 1912 and 1984?

The Old Kitchener City hall opened in 1924, but is now gone. Some of the old Westmount houses were built in the 1930s but yes, I have to say that 1940-1984 was a rather bland period. UW was growing like crazy and architectural considerations were not a priority.
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#8
(11-06-2014, 12:37 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: I have to say that 1940-1984 was a rather bland period. UW was growing like crazy and architectural considerations were not a priority.
Which is why something from that era bears consideration. The Dana Porter library, especially before they added the top three floors, is surely an exception. In those days when the university was smaller the DP library was not only more prominent in the skyline but also was symbolic of the university itself. See the photos at Dana Porter History.

Incidentally the rest of the photo collection at that link presents mining opportunities. Would Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower qualify for the list?
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#9
In no particular order, I base this list on my personal likes.

1. Suddaby Public School
2. Sunlife King @ Union
3. Galt Post office
4. Perimeter Institute
5. Elizabeth Ziegler Public School
6. The Courthouses (including the former jail across the street).
7. Preston Springs Hotel
8. Castle Kilbride
9. Seagram Lofts
10. Lang Tannery

* Future top 10 will be the multimodal transit centre Victoria St @ King St W (I hope).
_____________________________________
I used to be the mayor of sim city. I know what I am talking about.
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#10
Which Galt Post Office - the closed one or current one?
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#11
(11-06-2014, 12:31 PM)ookpik Wrote: Nothing important got built between 1912 and 1984?

Dana Porter Library at UW represents the 1960s.

Interestingly, that building was supposed to be two stories taller, but the architects neglected to calculate the weight of the books in their design, so it had to lose 2 stories.
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#12
Campus history — debunking the myths 
Quote:The Dana Porter Library (DP, LIB) is the arts library. When it was originally constructed in 1965, it was only 7 stories tall. (They added 3 more some years later). Despite what your frosh leaders may tell you, it is not sinking into the ground due to the weight of the books (that’s the same urban legend that many university campuses have).
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#13
(11-07-2014, 01:31 PM)ookpik Wrote: Campus history — debunking the myths 

Quote:The Dana Porter Library (DP, LIB) is the arts library. When it was originally constructed in 1965, it was only 7 stories tall. (They added 3 more some years later). Despite what your frosh leaders may tell you, it is not sinking into the ground due to the weight of the books (that’s the same urban legend that many university campuses have).
It's been quite a few years since I've had any "frosh leaders". I'll check again with my construction friends who claimed to have read it in one of their industry publications.
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#14
Just a few things that were built between 1912 and 1984 that could merit some thought:
- The Kitchener Memorial Auditorium
- some of the local schools (some of the high schools in particular have striking 1960s elements to them)
- the original Waterloo Public Library (pre-1987 addition)
- the original Kitchener Public Library (pre-addition)

I would also rank Galt Collegiate and KCI among the more striking buildings in the area, though their main sections were built before 1912.

Does the perceived lack of architectural adventurousness speak the Regions origins of where function was more important than form? One explanation for the box-like architecture of the early UW buildings is that since the Board of Governors was originally primarily local industrialists, they gravitated towards factory-like architecture that was efficient in its use of space and materials.
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#15
One should also add the local Mennonite heritage which frowns into displays of "vanity". Anyways, whatever the causes were it explains the lack of representatives from that period. The Davis Centre really seems to have brought back the focus of the region to architecture and Kitchener city hall reinforced the message.

p.s. Dana Porter, the city libraries and the court houses tried a little bit by incorporating what were, at the time, modern touches: white/greyish facades with small windows of weird aspect ratios and saddle roof touches (hyperbolic paraboloids) which dated faster than 1950's car fins.

p.p.s. Galt Collegiate, absolutely, what an oversight on my part!  KCI it's not to my liking, while rather ornate to me it feels like they were just going through the motions until the facade was sufficiently baroque.
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