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Posts Tagged ‘king building’

I am not sure what to think about the deal reached between Bedford Investments and the City of Winnipeg to build a parkade behind the North and East façades of the King Building at King and Bannatyne.

Ryan Block - c.1895

Ryan Block - c.1895

Ryan Block - 2004

Ryan Block - 2004

(both images from Heritage Winnipeg)

The new structure will apparently span across the surface lot to the south of the King Building.  I have not seen any architectural renderings of this structure (I’d love to see some if anyone knows where to look), so I’m uneasy about the end product.

I believe wholeheartedly that we will need redevelopment along with preservation in order to have the Exchange District reach its full potential, and I think that some parking will always be needed in these areas.  My concern is that we will see an ugly example of façadism, where we just have two brick fronts attached to a concrete parking monstrosity.

Here are some nice examples of parkades designed to fit into their historic neighbourhoods:

New Street Parking Garage - Staunton, Virginia

New Street Parking Garage - Staunton, Virginia, This is new construction meant to match the style of the surrounding historic properties.

(more info)

Justice Center Parking Garage - Chester County, Pennsylvania

Justice Center Parking Garage - Chester County, Pennsylvania. Another new construction.

(more info)

Parking Garage - Fredericksburg, Virginia

Parking Garage - Fredericksburg, Virginia

(from http://flickr.com/photos/army_arch/2482996361/)

Hoboken Automatic Parking Garage

Hoboken Automatic Parking Garage

(more info)

I believe it would be possible for the King Building to be rebuilt with an innovative design (whether with masonry or glass) that makes the historic components the focus of the structure.  I hope that masonry from the rest of the building could be reused as a component in the new construction, so that we don’t just have two mismatched pieces of building sitting beside one another.  If we are unable to hide parking underground (or reduce demand for parking) in our downtown, then at least we can have parking garages that respect their surroundings.

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