Bulldoze 24 Sussex Drive

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KenS
Bulldoze 24 Sussex Drive

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KenS

I was surprised when I first saw it.

"Souless" was what came to mind. And its not like I had high expectations.

I heard it was also decrepit long ago. Bulldoze it.

Turns out a lot of people have that opinion of it. Former resident, Maureem McTeer, for one.

KenS

Amd I'm not even thinking "what do we need an ostentatious residence for the PM anyway. Whatever our opinion, there will be e big residence for the PM.

So assuming there will be one- this one is souless and decrepit. Why spend many millions to save it?

 

quizzical

well i googled what 24 Sussex looked like and found a pic of Trudeau Sr and Margaret.

i had thought up til now the photo of Sophie and Justin bumping faces to be sweet and a real shot in time on election night. then I found the pic. Sophie and Justins pic was  obviously a planned photo op to mimic Justin's parents pic.  phoney baloney crap!!!!!

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

If it weren't for the atrocious carbon footprint, I'd suggest getting the PM a really, really nice motorhome.  He could drive across the country in it, meeting the peeps and seeing the sights from sea to shining sea.  When foreign dignitaries visit, they could have the really good bunkbeds at the back, and maybe take a shift or two at the wheel.

"ROAD TRIP!!  Buckle up, Your Majesty!!"

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Canada doesn't need any heritage buildings. Bulldoze everything over a hundred years old.  What a waste of money restoring old buildings when we can build a nice spanking new building designed to only last 40 years and then we would never have to look at anything that our ancestors cherished.

 

KenS

24 Sussex as well as being ugly, is not a heritage building

mark_alfred

quizzical wrote:

well i googled what 24 Sussex looked like and found a pic of Trudeau Sr and Margaret.

i had thought up til now the photo of Sophie and Justin bumping faces to be sweet and a real shot in time on election night. then I found the pic. Sophie and Justins pic was  obviously a planned photo op to mimic Justin's parents pic.  phoney baloney crap!!!!!

It's what Canada voted for.  P3s on borrowed money followed by divestments of assets and an expenditure review of the public service.  Oh, and a photogenic PM that reminds us of better times.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS wrote:

24 Sussex as well as being ugly, is not a heritage building

That I guess that must be a regional viewpoint. We seem to have different definitions of heritage building. I live in a historic village with many heritage houses but none of them were built before the 1880's. The government should restore it and put it to good public use if it is not suitable as the PM's residence. We bought it and should preserve it not demolish it.

Quote:

The house at 24 Sussex Drive was originally commissioned in 1866 by lumberman and Member of Parliament Joseph Merrill Currier as a wedding gift for his wife-to-be. He named it Gorffwysfa, Welsh for "place of rest."

In 1943, the federal Crown used its sovereign power of expropriation to divest Gordon Edwards of his title to the house, in order to consolidate public ownership of the lands along the Ottawa River. Edwards had fought the action, but eventually lost the dispute with the Canadian government in 1946 and died at the house later that year. After several years of uncertainty, in 1950 the government decided to refurbish the property as a residence for the prime minister, with Louis St. Laurent becoming the first to take up residence there in 1951.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_Sussex_Drive

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i spent some time in holland in a city called utrecht which is a 1/2 hr drive outside of amsterdam. it has almost the same population as amsterdam and there it was illegal to tear down bldgs. it's not that tearing down wasn't going on but there had to be a really really good reason for it. unlike the lower mainland where perfectly good living accomodations have/are a being replaced so that developers could reap greater profits. and in the case of apt bldgs being replaced by condos divests from any responsibility for it. i prefer the holland aproach....end drift

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

But weren't most historic buildings built for low density?

If we decide, for sentimental reasons, to retain "The Charleston" with its 16 units, rather than rebuild with "Charleston Towers" and its 240 units, who do we think is going to be able to afford one of the 16 units in the charming and quaint old "Charleston"?

Look at it in reverse.  If some municipality tore down a 240 unit building in order to replace it with a 16 unit building for the wealthy, would that be a problem?

mark_alfred

Mr. Magoo wrote:

But weren't most historic buildings built for low density?

If we decide, for sentimental reasons, to retain "The Charleston" with its 16 units, rather than rebuild with "Charleston Towers" and its 240 units, who do we think is going to be able to afford one of the 16 units in the charming and quaint old "Charleston"?

Look at it in reverse.  If some municipality tore down a 240 unit building in order to replace it with a 16 unit building for the wealthy, would that be a problem?

That could be the answer to both housing and employment.  Tear down a 240 unit building and build a huge 16 unit mansion.  The rich owning each unit could employ 15 people as maids, chefs, butlers, servants, manicurists, gardeners, etc., who could live in quarters of each of the 16 units to serve the elite owners 24 hours a day.  16 * 15 = 240. 

lagatta

Relatively high density in historic centre of Utrecht, from a photoblog:

http://amsterdamming.com/2015/10/20/autumn-colours-in-utrecht/

A surprisingly high level of density can be achieved without building tower blocks, which create environmental problems of their own.

Many contemporary urban designs in Northern Europe follow this type of urban form, or at least attempt to. Canadians will find a lot at spacing.ca

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs lagatta. your link brought back fond memories from 2007

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
That could be the answer to both housing and employment.  Tear down a 240 unit building and build a huge 16 unit mansion.  The rich owning each unit could employ 15 people as maids, chefs, butlers, servants, manicurists, gardeners, etc., who could live in quarters of each of the 16 units to serve the elite owners 24 hours a day.  16 * 15 = 240.

Well, if the concern is that we need more housing, I suppose there's no meaningful difference between 240 units for regular people, and 224 "servant's quarters" for the manicurists and butlers and suchlike.

KenS

getting a bit far afield.

But very nearby all those classic old urbanscapes in Utrecht, the modern ones are interesting too. At least to a North American it is amazing watching the density and order of the bike traffic, made possible of course by building for it.

My friends live in the 'new town' of Nieuwegain- since soon after it was first built up in the early 70's. The Dutch even do suburbs as if they are built for humams- what a novel idea. The design is around neighbourhood units that have everything you need within walking or [short] biking distance.

quizzical

thanks ken for putting the pics up. i was right pissed at myself for buying into the phoney face meld. sorry for the drift

 

back to the topic.

i like the house from the outside. the inside is a bit meh! but it's heritage and should be restored or maybe remodelled with just the gray brick remaining. the view is great.

they should call in Nicole Curtis and film it being restored to offset costs. ;)

quizzical

mark_alfred wrote:
quizzical wrote:
well i googled what 24 Sussex looked like and found a pic of Trudeau Sr and Margaret.

i had thought up til now the photo of Sophie and Justin bumping faces to be sweet and a real shot in time on election night. then I found the pic. Sophie and Justins pic was  obviously a planned photo op to mimic Justin's parents pic.  phoney baloney crap!!!!!

It's what Canada voted for.  P3s on borrowed money followed by divestments of assets and an expenditure review of the public service.  Oh, and a photogenic PM that reminds us of better times.

he was like what 30 years older than her? i didn't know this until today. this pic creeps me right the hell out.

pookie

I dunno.  They seem pretty affectionate.  I think some photog would have caught a move like that eventually.

 

quizzical

eventually? it was all most the first moment they walked on stage.

it's obviously staged and posed.

and i wanna know what were Canadians thinking back then to elect a PM who married a woman 30 years his jr? it makes me gag.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Or it's some a lot of couples do in photos. I've got some wedding photos with a very similar arrangement - and it was a candid shot. Also, two of my close friends are married and have a 27 year age difference - they also are very much in love with each other and have a great marriage (of quite long duration). Age differences aren't always wrong.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

PS - 24 Sussex *is* a heritage property, by virtue of its age (relatively old for Canada) and its history as the official prime minister's residence, whether its architecture is pleasing or not. It's a building of note and should be restored and upgraded.

pir pir's picture

quizzical wrote:
well i googled what 24 Sussex looked like and found a pic of Trudeau Sr and Margaret.

i had thought up til now the photo of Sophie and Justin bumping faces to be sweet and a real shot in time on election night. then I found the pic. Sophie and Justins pic was  obviously a planned photo op to mimic Justin's parents pic.  phoney baloney crap!!!!!

Good grief.  I can find you hundreds of similar photos with a rough image search; it's a very standard pose between affectionate couples; just about every wedding shoot contains at least one.

https://www.google.ca/search?safe=off&hl=en-CA&biw=1840&bih=943&tbm=isch...

And there is nothing creepy about consensual romance between people of different ages either.

Please hold the conspiracy sauce. One can dislike somebody's politics without besmirching their personal relationships.

 

As to 24 Sussex Drive, 10 Million is a lot of money.  I can't get all excited about preserving a building with a political history that just dates back to the 1950s; that kind of money could be put to better use.  Why not move the residence back to Laurier House?  At least that's been kept up, and it was originally meant to be the Prime Minister's residence, except some PM whose name I've forgotten didn't like the idea of Conservative PMs at Laurier House.  Twerp.  But I won't get my knickers in a knot over whatever they decide.

KenS

"Heritage building" is not from a national perspective. Everywhere' it is a local designation.   It also does mot get conferred only with age.

There is no way 24 Sussex qualifies. The original building is not old. The present veneer dates to 1950, and is just an ostentatious pile that reflects no period or building form. [Unless "Romantic British Pseudo-Noble" maybe ]

It cant even qualify as 50's kitsch.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The building dates back considerably further than 1950. It's been the official residence for nearly half of Canada's existence. And $10 million is not that much for that kind of restoration. I get that you don't like the building, but it still has a unique history.

lagatta

Modern urbanism sees values in preserving buildings that aren't necessarily architectural masterpieces; even "vernacular" buildings such as the working-class plexes of Montréal.

Ken, here are two blogs from tne Netherlands that focus on everyday utilitarian cycling, but also have a lot to say on the kind of urban planning you were speaking of, including several pieces from the outlying modern districts of Utrecht, and planning for walkability and cyclablity.

http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/ https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/

 

quizzical

pir wrote:
Please hold the conspiracy sauce. One can dislike somebody's politics without besmirching their personal relationships.

i can feel however i want about a creepy 30 year age difference. though i admit a lot my creepedoutness has to do with my just finding it out.

oh and stop the personal attacks. well maybe not continue to carry on as usually people attack people personally when there is truth they want discounted.

 

KenS

24 Sussex is not an expression of some kind of vernacular architecture. There are lots of examples of architecture that are special and transcend 'what is tasteful'.  And that would include a lot of stuff that the driving force behind it was crass upper class ostentation.

24 Sussex is not an expression of any of that. It is an expression of Canadians after WWII still worshiping a bygone Empire. And they can't even do that with any class. They came up with bland ostentation. "There will always be an England...."  [And here is my romantic notion of it, inst it inspiring?]

 

KenS

Heritage building, or just undesignated special, is all about context.

If 24 Sussex was in Regina or Kelowna it would be fantastic.

 

Or maybe with a commanding view in British Properties [West Van]. 24 Sussex comes from the same time period. And now that I think of it, its spirit speaks well to that overt race exclusion period of Canadian history that British Properties reveled in.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS wrote:

Or maybe with a commanding view in British Properties [West Van]. 24 Sussex comes from the same time period. And now that I think of it, its spirit speaks well to that overt race exclusion period of Canadian history that British Properties reveled in.

WTF KenS if you are going to try your hand at reciting history then get it right. The British Properties are from 1931, the The Chinese Immigration Act (AKA Chinese Exclusion Act) was passed in 1923.

This building was built between 1866 and 1868 by one of Canada's first MP's, fittingly from a political history viewpoint he was a rich lumber baron. Its been the PM's residence for over 64 years in a country that was founded less than 150 years ago. So its ugly and pretentious just like its original owner one of Canada's first oligarchy, that doesn't change the fact that it is a historic building.

 

jas

It's an inefficient and clunky building that costs taxpayers money either way. If no one likes it, buy a newer, more energy-efficient residence and turn Sussex into a museum. (Or bulldoze it.)

 

Re: staged photo ops. Pierre Trudeau was quite good at image politics. Maybe one of the first in the postmodern era. Probably the first in Canada.

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:
The building dates back considerably further than 1950. It's been the official residence for nearly half of Canada's existence. And $10 million is not that much for that kind of restoration. I get that you don't like the building, but it still has a unique history.

That isn't the price for restoration. The house was gutted in the 50s. The only thing left is the chanteliers and they could be incorporated into a new building.

The 10 million is for windows and electrical and kitchen and laundry and removing asbestos, basic work. It's just to make the building livable again not to restore it. That doesn't include any money for the interior.

On the other hand, 10 million could build us a beautiful home that would become a heritage building.

Consider what was done to Canada House in London.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-art-of-decorating-canad...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-art-of-decorating-canad...

With their totemic carved panels, Sabina Hill’s First Nations collaborations could be from nowhere else but the Pacific Northwest. Alongside Yukon Tlingit artist Mark Preston, the Port Moody, B.C., artist designed the evocative entry-hall Signing Table, carved from Western red cedar with a textured black walnut frame topped with glass. A bronze anodized-aluminum plaque under the glass features three Tlingit watchmen. “Their supernatural powers allow them to see far off into the horizon in both the natural and spirit worlds,” Ms. Hill says. Though her subject matter is steeped in tradition, Ms. Hill achieves her bold Northwest Cost carvings through CNC technology that guides a router to hone the wood, a merging of old and new that represents Canada House itself.

A new house could be a model of sustainability, a home of the future where visiting dignitaries would see the best of Canada represented in design and technology. We are still a young country building our history. Our PM's home would reflect that and would be cheaper than trying to restore an old house that was gutted in the 50s.

 

swallow swallow's picture

Quote:

The house at 24 Sussex Drive was originally commissioned in 1866 by lumberman and Member of Parliament Joseph Merrill Currier as a wedding gift for his wife-to-be. He named it Gorffwysfa, Welsh for "place of rest."

Here we've been calling the PM's residence 24 Sussex when we could have been saying "Gorffwysfa"? What a wasted opportunity to give some chracter to the soullessness of Ottawa. 

lagatta

The house isn't for us, it's for them.

 

Pondering

lagatta wrote:

The house isn't for us, it's for them.

Who is them and why does it matter?

mark_alfred

Pondering wrote:

lagatta wrote:

The house isn't for us, it's for them.

Who is them and why does it matter?

Hmm.  Another important question.  I believe we're talking about the prime minister's residence needing renovations (and whether it's a good use of money or not -- IE, is the structure worth saving or could another be built for less money).  So, "them" would be Trudeau and his family.  Why does it matter?  It's money we're spending, it's something to talk about, it involves what constitutes an historic building or not (so, it involves considerations of architecture and history).  Sure, architecture, history, well-placed expenditures, etc., may not matter to many, but obviously to some it matters a bit.

lagatta

Yes, of course we can't save everything, but a certain type of "business-oriented" rightwinger such as Mayor Régis Labaume of Québec City, tends to be very cavalier about destroying some very significant buildings.

Them is the Trudeau family, but also the political establishment. I really couldn't feel the residence is "ours", not even if the NDP were elected. Sort of along the lines of I'm not a country, young or old, Canada, Québec or anywhere else. I'm a human being. By that I don't mean that residents shouldn't fund official residences. There can be good reasons for those, such as representation or security. That is a matter for public discussion.

KenS

For better or worse, the 'rules' are not set here. The PM's residence is part of that thing called Canada, and for the time scale involved in the discussion of what to with the present one, that isnt going to change. [Not to mention its our resources that pay for it.]   So while I have mixed feelings about adding to the discussion of the PM's residence... what it looks like it is part of the capital area. So it matters to me, some.

I'd like if it was at least not a b;and pile paying homage to something that isnt even Canadian. The design for the Parliament did not predominately come from Canada, but we adopt it as ours.

24 Sussex ????

The built environment matters to a lot us. So much of what happens we have little or no say. With 24 Sussex popular will at least plays some role. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

30 year age difference? So what? The only question is how much in common could you possibly have? I'm 45 , a woman in her 20's would be too young for me. But different strokes for different folks.Whachu talkin' 'bout,Pierre?

Pondering

Like museums, it is "ours" in the sense that it is owned by Canada and Canada is owned by its citizens.

It is the National Capital Commission that has determined the building is no longer livable. It is outrageous that anyone was living in the building.

A 2008 audit by the federal auditor general said repairs had been put off too long and should be done as soon as possible or the country would face even higher costs and national embarrassment.

The house contains asbestos, a cancer-causing substance. Its windows, plumbing and electrical systems all need replacement, a sprinkler system must be installed and the building must be made accessible for disabled visitors.

Emails obtained by the Citizen in 2013 painted a grim picture of a cold, drafty house plagued by mould, leaky pipes and even a toilet that alarmingly moves when sat upon.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/is-this-the-time-to-finally-fix...

Harper refused to move out. The 10 million estimate is old and doesn't include decor for the interior. 10 million is just to cover the most basic upgrading to modern building standards.

Short of revolution we will have a Prime Minister's residence but it is used for government functions and the Prime Ministers are temporary residents not homeowners.

Even those who argue for it do so on the basis of symbolic value not architectual heritage value. Economically it's a waste of money. The repairs cost more than the value of the building.

Instead, we could build something new that does have architectual value and showcases Canadian talent and innovation. Starting from scratch it could have a zero carbon footprint.

KenS

kropotkin1951 wrote:

KenS wrote:

Or maybe with a commanding view in British Properties [West Van]. 24 Sussex comes from the same time period. And now that I think of it, its spirit speaks well to that overt race exclusion period of Canadian history that British Properties reveled in.

WTF KenS if you are going to try your hand at reciting history then get it right. The British Properties are from 1931, the The Chinese Immigration Act (AKA Chinese Exclusion Act) was passed in 1923.

This building was built between 1866 and 1868 by one of Canada's first MP's, fittingly from a political history viewpoint he was a rich lumber baron. Its been the PM's residence for over 64 years in a country that was founded less than 150 years ago. So its ugly and pretentious just like its original owner one of Canada's first oligarchy, that doesn't change the fact that it is a historic building.

24 Sussex as we know it dates from 1951. It has nothing to do with the lumber baron's building. The 50's were also the heydays of the British Properties, not much was there before the war.

And all across Canada in the late 1940s and early 50s there were No Blacks, No Jews, No Asians signs in front of public places [Indians were just expected to know and obey were they were exluded. No sign out front: you still get kicked out anyway]. Sure racist legislation existed before that, but open in your face racism flourished everywhere in Canada 75 years ago- no legislation required. In the case of British Properties, the exclusion was not just from public places, it was from the whole damn development.

quizzical

lagatta

It does look like a sorry mess.

KenS

Vaguely Victorian, with BIG 'bits' of Romantic Gothic bolted to the front. And that "front porch"[carport] looks so out of place even for this mess, that I'm guessing it was added on.

But no doubt the interior was high Victorian.

I once took a 2500 SF per floor mansion and seperated the 3 floors. Uncharacteristic of the late 70s the neglect included just tacking up dividers in the other wwise untouched Victorian interior. [Only Victorian on that showy floor.]

I liked the work. But when we were near finish of restoring the first floor, I asked the owners, who were going to live upstairs- "Its very interesting, and I'm glad you saved it; but as far as the plans to rent it to some rich retired couple.... who would want to actually LIVE in this?"

No problem.

lagatta
quizzical

Quote:
Could PM's home renos really be reality TV?

The report highlighted a number of problems, including cracked windows and problems with the plumbing and electrical systems, and estimated the cost of renovating the building at $10 million.

That price tag is now likely $15 million or higher, depending on what contractors are liable to find lurking behind the walls, said Baeumler.

No matter how the project unfolds, there should be publicity around it to give Canadians more of a reason to see it as an iconic symbol, he added.

"I think that would help to elevate the status maybe and make Canadians a little more proud of our democracy and our system and our infrastructure," he said.

"I think it's an opportunity to really create an incredible symbol and a legacy and set an example for our kids and the rest of the world that you have to take care of your own house, literally and figuratively."

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Could be fun to watch if Mike Holmes won the contract.  Because he'd spend about half of his airtime just ripping new ones on all the previous builders.

"Who the hell thought it was a good idea to install 3/8" copper?  If I found this guy I'd beat him with a length of tub chain!"

Timebandit Timebandit's picture


Maureen McTeer is a lawyer, not an engineer. We should take her opinion with a grain of salt.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

She did live there for almost three quarters of a whole year.  That's, like, three seasons.

lagatta

Agreed, Timebandit. I was just trying to get different views out on the place and the feasability of renovating it. I'd love opinions from architects and engineers. I'd prefer to preserve it if feasable.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Bulldozing 24 Sussex to build some sort of low carbon-footprint, broadband-enabled, modest, sustainable residence for the PM is a bit like abandoning the barbaric tradition of murdering a pine tree at the end of December and instead going with an aluminum Festivus Pole.

Though admittedly, it's hard to deny its "very high strength-to-weight ratio".

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