Cambridge residents question Galt post office redesign
A proposed renovation to the historic Galt post office in Cambridge is stirring up some opposition from residents, but an architecture professor with the University of Waterloo says wrapping the old brick building in a glass addition may actually be the best solution.
According to Rick Haldenby, who teaches at UW's School of Architecture, the proposed glass addition will enlarge the building and increase its possible uses. He also believes it will help bring the building closer to the river and provide a pedestrian-friendly environment while still preserving the original building for all to see.
"My feeling here is that the main imperative is to create more useful space, to bring the building to the river," said Haldenby in an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Wednesday.
"The building is less than 8000 square feet, there isn't enough space in the present envelope of the building to do anything meaningful, so they have to expand it."
But critics of the design say it does not seem to mesh well with the existing building, and that the charm of the old structure would be lost in the modern glass addition.
"My own view of course is that trying to mimic the original is fraught with more problems than creating a kind of contrast because the technologies are different, the materials are different, everything is different about the way we conceive and execute buildings, so to pretend that we can do it in the same way. I mean it is possible but the expense would be horrendous," said Haldenby.
However, Haldenby points out a debate over what to do with a historic building is a good problem to have.
"There was a time, until quite recently, when the general strategy was simply to demolish the old buildings and erase them from the urban landscape," said Haldenby.
He cited the old Kitchener post office, built in 1885 and was demolished in the 1960s to make room for a more modern building.
Here's what CBC K-W listeners thought about the proposed redesign.