Bulldoze 24 Sussex Drive

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quizzical

Mr. Magoo wrote:
bulldozing 24 Sussex to build some sort of low carbon-footprint, broadband-enabled, modest, sustainable residence for the PM..

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Quizzical, Falling Water was built 80 years ago. I doubt you'd get any similar design now. Certainly not with any input from bureaucrats. Better to leave well enough alone. Also, there is environmental value in repurposing existing structures rather than building new. New build are much more wasteful.

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:
Quizzical, Falling Water was built 80 years ago. I doubt you'd get any similar design now. Certainly not with any input from bureaucrats. Better to leave well enough alone. Also, there is environmental value in repurposing existing structures rather than building new. New build are much more wasteful.

Not in this case. Asbestos has to be taken out, the electrical system and the plumbing needs to be replaced, all the windows, the heating system, air conditioning, the estimate is higher than the value of the building. It is said to be 15 million by now and that doesn't include decorating.

Sustainable homes can be magnificent. If we are going to spend 15 million I would prefer that we end up with a showcase for Canadian design and innovation.

jjuares

According to Wiki this house is almost 150 years old. The house has been the PM residence for 75 years. It would be a shame to tear it down.

quizzical

Timebandit wrote:
Quizzical, Falling Water was built 80 years ago. I doubt you'd get any similar design now. Certainly not with any input from bureaucrats. Better to leave well enough alone. Also, there is environmental value in repurposing existing structures rather than building new. New build are much more wasteful.

isn't it amazing for its time? reading magoo's comments it popped into my mind is all. i love some of Wright's housing designs.

i'm on the restoring side of 24 Sussex with a series being done to off set costs.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yes, Falling Water is a work of art.  Assuredly. No argument from me. It was also a feat of engineering.

That said, the vast majority of eco homes out there are fucking hideous.  Add bureaucracy and you're guaranteed a worse Frankenstein monster of a house than we've already got.

So I'm with you on the restoration.  And I would produce the living crap out of a tv project on it!!!  :)

Pondering, I have read about the extent of the work.  I'm sure there will be an updated estimate, but it's difficult to know what the true extent is until we hear from some engineers and builders.  None of what you mentioned are impossible obstacles.

Also, when you're talking about the "value" of the house, you're referencing the real estate market.  If the decision is made to fix the building up, it's not like the same calculus that you'd apply to a private home where what you put in shouldn't exceed what you get out if you decide to sell. They won't be putting it up for sale and worrying about ROI.

 

quizzical

Timebandit wrote:
Yes, Falling Water is a work of art.  Assuredly. No argument from me. It was also a feat of engineering.

That said, the vast majority of eco homes out there are fucking hideous.  Add bureaucracy and you're guaranteed a worse Frankenstein monster of a house than we've already got.

So I'm with you on the restoration.  And I would produce the living crap out of a tv project on it!!!  :)

i've seen a few i wouldn't mind living in. there's a couple of adobe hay bale ones around here and several log ones, some with geo thermal heating, and others with gravity fed water systems and their own hydro electric power.

they would have to open up the series to bids wouldn't they? and all the revenue from sponsors and product advertising? :) but i know nothing about how it works in other series so i'm just guessing.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I did a documentary on an eco-village in SK - spent a year and a half checking in on progress on a group of off-grid houses, two of which were haybale construction, and another haybale retrofit.  They can be pretty cool, but none of them struck me as particularly prime-ministerial.  I also did a little show on a three day eco-friendly cottage build by a really amazing architect. 

I'm not saying it's impossible for an attractive eco-house to be built - just that it's not the usual, and it's something that I feel sure a committee of bureaucrats will muff up. 

No, a broadcaster doesn't have to take bids.  They'll talk to a couple of well-established, larger prodcos who work in the lifestyle genre and pick one. That's how they handle formats for things like The Bachelor (Canada), etc.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

The only problem I could see with building an ecologically responsible, low carbon-footprint, natural and sustainable residence for the PM is that people would just naturally start referring to it as the "green" Prime Minister's residence, and I feel like we taunt Elizabeth May enough as it is.

swallow swallow's picture

Timebandit wrote:

I'm not saying it's impossible for an attractive eco-house to be built - just that it's not the usual, and it's something that I feel sure a committee of bureaucrats will muff up. 

They probably would. We have mandated art in large public buildings in much of Quebec, and you van usually tell that a committee of bureaucrats made the selection. 

Judging by his Hallowe'en costume, our new PM would probably prefer an ice house to a haybale house. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Or just sleeping inside a gutted Tauntaun.

Pondering

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/william-thorsell-why-its-time-to-...

“It has no fire sprinklers. Its walls are lined with asbestos. Its plumbing and wiring would not pass muster in any other house in Ottawa. It is drafty. Its air conditioners make a racket....

24 Sussex is a brick pile from 1868, built by a lumber baron for a third wife. It’s been the PM’s residence only since 1951, when Canada was still enthralled by trappings of colonialism. Copy-cat colonialism, third-rate colonialism — Old Europe! 24 Sussex.

The house is derivative, ugly and insensitive to its wonderful location on a bluff overlooking the Ottawa River. It is fussy, cramped and cluttered inside, hopeless for public functions and claustrophobic in its Victorian details. The stair carpeting is indeed hideous....

Our money would be far better spent on Canadian architecture and engineering using contemporary ideas and materials to create a marvelous residence and public space. The program should include a guest wing, and rooms for public events and entertainments. Of course, the building should also take far better advantage of its location, be energy-efficient and secure in the context of modern threats. And, oh yes, it should have central air-conditioning.

A competition among Canadian architects based on a smart program would produce superb options for 24 Sussex, and ultimately a government house worthy of Canada’s individuality, responsibility, creativity, diversity — and youth.

 

I'm shocked that so many people here think that a sustainable modern building must be ugly.

24 sussex is already hideous.

lagatta

As we look at what is feasable in terms of restoration or reconstruction, one thing I'd really like avoided is muscular bombast about "Young Canada" and "Old Europe", or attacking a building because its funder was far from a sterling icon of progressivism. That is so ... 1915, or perhaps redolent of a date a bit before or after the Great War.

Nowadays most European cities have approaches to urbanism that are far more progressive than stuck-in-the-1950s and the cult of the car Canada. This is not limited to the Nordic countries and other Northern European areas, though of course they are more relevant here as they have to deal with snow and cold.

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Pondering wrote:

I'm shocked that so many people here think that a sustainable modern building must be ugly.

24 sussex is already hideous.

That's not what was said. 

Sustainable modern buildings don't HAVE to be ugly, but on balance, most of them are.  Add bureaucrats and you've got a 95% chance of disaster.

The aesthetics of eco buildings is an interesting subject, though.  Clearly, it's not a style that will appeal to everyone overall, or in particular.

ETA:  I don't find 24 Sussex particularly hideous, actually.  Not spectacular, but not unattractive.  Certainly more modest than most official residences for leaders of government in other countries - not a bad thing. 

Of course, we could build a glorified quonset hut, which is what some sustainable designs most closely resemble.  That might reflect the character of some parts of Canada. Nice and utilitarian. ;)

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I'm shocked that so many people here think that a sustainable modern building must be ugly.

24 sussex is already hideous.

That's not what was said. 

Sustainable modern buildings don't HAVE to be ugly, but on balance, most of them are.  Add bureaucrats and you've got a 95% chance of disaster.

The aesthetics of eco buildings is an interesting subject, though.  Clearly, it's not a style that will appeal to everyone overall, or in particular.

ETA:  I don't find 24 Sussex particularly hideous, actually.  Not spectacular, but not unattractive.  Certainly more modest than most official residences for leaders of government in other countries - not a bad thing. 

Of course, we could build a glorified quonset hut, which is what some sustainable designs most closely resemble.  That might reflect the character of some parts of Canada. Nice and utilitarian. ;)

All true but just because something is old doesn't make it worth while saving. It was gutted in 1950 and it's not like it would be cheaper to keep it.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Again, you're thinking like a real estate developer.

If the historic significance is deemed worth preserving, the "cheaper" argument isn't much of a consideration.

I'm also not sure why previous renovations are a bar to restoration - I know several private homes that had weird things done to them anytime from the 1950s on through to the present day that have been restored to period style.  If they've got to do a lot of tearing out for structural work, there are any number of options available for how the building can be redone.

Paladin1

Good zombie defensive position.

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:

Again, you're thinking like a real estate developer.

If the historic significance is deemed worth preserving, the "cheaper" argument isn't much of a consideration.

I'm also not sure why previous renovations are a bar to restoration - I know several private homes that had weird things done to them anytime from the 1950s on through to the present day that have been restored to period style.  If they've got to do a lot of tearing out for structural work, there are any number of options available for how the building can be redone.

That's the point, it is not a historically significant building and it was never a good example of period style. It only became the PM's home in 1951.

What is the point of the Leap Manifesto? Making the Prime Minister's home off the grid sustainable would illustrate that we have the technology now.

It would be an example to Canada and to the world. It would be entering the 21st century as a country of the future not the past. Harper was all about past glories, putting the "royal" back in the name of our armed forces. "The Prime Minister slept here" has no value to me. I couldn't care less where the PM slept. Canada is a young country still forging its identity. This is an opportunity to look to the future rather than the past and to create a home for our Prime Ministers that reflects the mosaic of our multi-cultural country so that when they walk around in it they will be reminded of indigenous peoples and everyone else who has contributed to this country.

quizzical

Pondering wrote:
Timebandit wrote:
Again, you're thinking like a real estate developer.

If the historic significance is deemed worth preserving, the "cheaper" argument isn't much of a consideration.

I'm also not sure why previous renovations are a bar to restoration - I know several private homes that had weird things done to them anytime from the 1950s on through to the present day that have been restored to period style.  If they've got to do a lot of tearing out for structural work, there are any number of options available for how the building can be redone.

That's the point, it is not a historically significant building and it was never a good example of period style.

what point? who said other than you it's not a good example? and it is historically significant and you'll see why in second

Quote:
It only became the PM's home in 1951.

Canada only became a country in 1867 so it's been home to the PM for 1/3rd of the time.

Quote:
What is the point of the Leap Manifesto? Making the Prime Minister's home off the grid sustainable would illustrate that we have the technology now.

it can do right in the form it's in now.

Quote:
It would be an example to Canada and to the world. It would be entering the 21st century as a country of the future not the past. Harper was all about past glories, putting the "royal" back in the name of our armed forces. "The Prime Minister slept here" has no value to me. I couldn't care less where the PM slept.

blathering. no one said a damn word about  the prime ministers inhabiting the house as a value. stop making up shit and then responding to it.

Quote:
Canada is a young country still forging its identity. This is an opportunity to look to the future rather than the past and to create a home for our Prime Ministers that reflects the mosaic of our multi-cultural country so that when they walk around in it they will be reminded of indigenous peoples and everyone else who has contributed to this country.

you see pondering part of the "everyone else who has contributed" is the lumber baron who had the house built back in the 1800's and it's a reminder of the multi-cultural component who contributed.

not going to address your continued racism. yet.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Interesting that you're concerned about sustainability, Pondering, but want to build new. The exec director of the Sierra Club actually disagrees with you. Please have a quick listen to her speaking with Carol Off: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.32...

Pondering

Timebandit wrote:
Interesting that you're concerned about sustainability, Pondering, but want to build new. The exec director of the Sierra Club actually disagrees with you. Please have a quick listen to her speaking with Carol Off:
">http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.32...

That it can be done that way doesn't mean it should be done that way.

She doesn't seem aware that the estimate isn't 10 million anymore and didn't mention how much the retrofit would add to that so I don't see how she can make the judgement that it would be cheaper to keep it rather than replacing it. She also doesn't tackle the issue of enlarging it so that it would become suitable for receptions which is one of the reasons supporting replacement.

There don't seem to be any architects claiming that it is a heritage building.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

You've heard an updated amount?  I haven't.  In any case, if you listened carefully, you would have noted the interesting point about new material - in and of itself because it has to be made and/or transported - is less energy efficient than using the material already there.

Bad environmentalist!  Wasteful!  ;)

lagatta

John Lorinc, an urbanist and senior editor at spacing.ca , on what a sustainable reno of 24 Sussex should look like:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/24-sussex-wha...

quizzical

great article lagatta. i could almost visualize it taking shape from their decriptions.

Pondering

lagatta wrote:

John Lorinc, an urbanist and senior editor at spacing.ca , on what a sustainable reno of 24 Sussex should look like:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/24-sussex-wha...

That was a good article but I would still like to see a comparision between teardown versus retrofit.

quizzical

what type of comparison?

Pondering

quizzical wrote:

what type of comparison?

A cost benefit analysis. Say the retrofit would cost 15 million (or whatever) what would we get for the same amount if we did a tear down, or just incorporated the original facade saving the 2 chandeliers and I think one ceiling?

The original quote 10 million cost in 2006 dollars only includes what it would cost to make the needed maintenance repairs to stop it from falling down or burning to the ground. Replacing the windows, taking out the asbestos, replacing the plumbing and wiring, installing central air conditioning, the basics, are all that is included.

 

 

 

 

 

lagatta

Here's another article on options for 24 Sussex from the virtual pages of Spacing.ca by architect Scott Weir:

Scott Weir is a Principal at ERA Architects Inc. The firm specializes cultural heritage, with an interest in adaptive reuse, improving the public realm, and conserving heritage architecture. Follow Scott on Twitter: @southofbloor

http://spacing.ca/national/2015/11/05/overhaul-demolish-24-sussex/

Every 50 years a building generally requires a series of updates to repair its failing systems, make alterations to suit current ways of living, and generally to return it to relevancy. With renovation, additions, partial demolition and replacement of systems the best of a building’s design can be altered and augmented with a new architecture to build something that ties Canada’s current culture to the efforts of previous generations. 24 Sussex is no exception.

Pondering

lagatta wrote:

Here's another article on options for 24 Sussex from the virtual pages of Spacing.ca by architect Scott Weir:

Scott Weir is a Principal at ERA Architects Inc. The firm specializes cultural heritage, with an interest in adaptive reuse, improving the public realm, and conserving heritage architecture. Follow Scott on Twitter: @southofbloor

http://spacing.ca/national/2015/11/05/overhaul-demolish-24-sussex/

Every 50 years a building generally requires a series of updates to repair its failing systems, make alterations to suit current ways of living, and generally to return it to relevancy. With renovation, additions, partial demolition and replacement of systems the best of a building’s design can be altered and augmented with a new architecture to build something that ties Canada’s current culture to the efforts of previous generations. 24 Sussex is no exception.

I could go with that.

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