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A proposed condo project on the site of Frank Gehry's grandparents' former home has not received the famed architect's seal of approval.
A proposed condo project on the site of Frank Gehry's grandparents' former home has not received the famed architect's seal of approval.

Gehry apologized for condo slight, developer says Add to ...

The Globe and Mail: Your company is demolishing the former home of Frank Gehry's grandparents, where the renowned architect spent a lot of time as a child, and putting up a condo that Gehry described as "awful." How did it feel when you heard what he had to say?

Tyler Hershberg: Frank Gehry favours curved spaces. I don't think you're going to find many condo buildings in this city or any other city that Frank Gehry would approve of.

The Globe and Mail: What's it like to be called out by the man some people believe to be the world's greatest living architect?

Hershberg: Actually, Gehry sent an unsolicited letter today to the building's architects (Core Architects) apologizing for what he said and explaining that he hadn't seen the building, just an early artist concept.

Globe: Does Frank Gehry have questionable taste in condos?

Hershberg: We're talking about art. It's people's taste.

Globe: The condo is called 12°. Why?

Hershberg: Because the building is tilted 12° towards the south relative to its podium and it serves as a gateway to The Grange neighbourhood.

Globe: What do you think of the AGO?

Hershberg: I think it's wonderful that someone like Frank Gehry would have made a contribution to the city. I think the AGO looks great.

Globe: Do you have a favourite section or room?

Hershberg: I like how the north façade looks.

Globe: Is it better or worse than the ROM?

Hershberg: I don't want to get into that.

Globe: What do you think of Toronto condo architecture in general?

Hershberg: Bland.

Globe: As a developer, how do you think the city could go about ensuring a higher level of architectural design for new buildings?

Hershberg: When cities reward design with density - developers are given additional square footage or more stories if certain design criteria are met - then more interesting architecture will emerge.

Globe: So it comes down to providing financial incentives?

Hershberg: If we want truly interesting architecture, then there has to be some reward for developers to do that. Everybody is in business. Most developers I've talked to really do care about architecture.

Globe: Do condo developers ever worry that they might be responsible for the architectural atrocities of the future? Is that something that keeps you up at night?

Hershberg: We talk about it. My partner and I look at some buildings and wonder what it's going to look like in five years, let alone if it will be standing in 20 years. Materials that stand the test of time are something we really think about.

Globe: So what materials did you use for 12°?

Hershberg: It's a glass and stone structure. The podium level uses a limestone imported from Indiana.

Globe: Was there a cheaper option?

Hershberg: Yes. Pre-cast concrete.

Globe: Do you think Gehry's comments will help or hurt sales?

Hershberg: We didn't have an advertising plan for August, so we got some publicity we weren't planning for. We're happy with how things are going.

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