The proposed addition to the Chateau Laurier simply begs to be seen in the light of
“elites” vs popular opinion.
The architectural and heritage elites seem to like the idea that every building must be in current architectural styles. And to blend in or match or be similar to an existing structure is labelled “faux” or mimicry or otherwise sneered at. Thus the historic Chateau Laurier addition must be in some modern carbuncle style, with some more abstract concepts applied to claim it is consistent in massing or texture. Unless of course, it is of contrasting massing or texture. Or of radically different materials glued onto the original, being claimed to pay “homage” to the original.
We know the results. There is the “sympathetic” condo building right beside the Chateau.
Whichever way it goes, a modern addition is pretty much guaranteed to tee-off a large part of the great unwashed public who might like an addition that looks pretty much the same as the existing Chateau. Same way as folks like those art-deco-inspired condo buildings by Charlesfort, including the Merit right across from City Hall.
Enter Bhat Boy.
I was at the Orange Gallery in the trendy City Centre in December and was immediately attracted to this Bhat Boy painting on the wall:
Yup, it’s the original Chateau Laurier. All the rest of the current Chateau Laurier is addition(s). And those additions are waaaay bigger than the original building. So much bigger that to scale properly they had to have bigger turrets, bigger towers, grander roofs. But the style looks to elderly unbathed me to be consistent with the original. It all looks like one building. A happy view, IMO.
The Chateau style may or may not have been the contemporary architectural style of when it was built. And perhaps styles changed so slowly, the later addition was still current. Or maybe it was a throwback style in the first place. Or maybe the owner of the building was all wet. Whichever, it looks great to me. Absolutely Ottawa iconic.
So go ahead and build an addition on the north side. Build it in one or two wings. Bring it out closer to Sussex Drive if you want. It might even be higher than the current building. But keep it in the Chateau style, without excessively modernizing it to suit the tastes of ….
And if you like the original Chateau, Bhat Boy’s art may have been sold by now. But I expect he is creating more. I love it.
BTW, I addressed this topic once before here http://www.westsideaction.com/ok-high-rises/ and I think it is worth a re-read, and the comments are really good too.