Following the recent Toronto Heritage Awards, Bert Archer published an article in the Toronto Standard that questions the common usage of the word ‘heritage’, and pays tribute to the late Paul Oberman.
The kind of work Oberman did is known as adaptive reuse, and its widespread practice here sets Toronto apart from most cities in the world in its ability to not only incorporate old into new—most European cities do that fairly well—but have the new structurally, aesthetically influence the old without fundamentally compromising either. The Tate Modern is a gorgeous example of adaptive reuse in London, but it stands out in that city as an anomaly. In Toronto, it’s fast becoming the norm. It’s an approach to architecture and development that requires vision, dedication, patience, and a lot of money. Lucky for us, Oberman had all four in apparent abundance. Even luckier, so do a bunch of others.