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Glass dome over temporary Canadian House of Commons
February 19, 2011 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Politicians who live in glass houses, etc. ... The Canadian House of Commons is in need of repair, and while it's being done, a dome will cover the elected gabbers. It might cost as "little" as $42 million or as much as $1 billion. The pre-construction vacuuming has already begun.
posted by anothermug (29 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
they can't rent a school gym like everyone else? is this that gravy train rob ford keeps talking about?
posted by ameliaaah at 5:42 PM on February 19, 2011


Five Billion? Its historic, but not exactly an architectural gem. Seriously, I'd rather have a new parliament building at that price.

Its essentially a meeting place really... Doesn't a new dome stadium cost like 500 million?
posted by Deep Dish at 5:47 PM on February 19, 2011


Doesn't a new dome stadium cost like 500 million?

Only if you build it new. The trick is to buy it used from a bored government.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 6:02 PM on February 19, 2011


The project was officially unveiled by commission architect MunchingZombie, who said to his husband that the spectacular basement is necessary to "provide my Dungeons and Dragons game with a dignified chamber and quality facility worthy of Portland's most heroic institution."
posted by munchingzombie at 6:04 PM on February 19, 2011


Am I allowed to complain that it's a hideous eye sore? I'd honestly be happier if it were a a true "temporary" building, as from the article it's going to be a permanent installation for holding meetings. Ooooh, yurk, yech!
posted by Phalene at 6:28 PM on February 19, 2011


If we have a spring election, I hope like HELL there is a big stink made about this.
posted by flex at 6:34 PM on February 19, 2011


Transparency in government!















[^not!]
posted by mazola at 6:41 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, Canada, on preserving your national igloo!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:48 PM on February 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


when i was in ottawa last, it was kind of shocking how ugly that building was
posted by PinkMoose at 6:59 PM on February 19, 2011


The pre-construction vacuuming has already begun.

The $42 million version is the version that can maintain a decent vacuum against normal atmospheric pressure. For $1 billion, the contractors will bend their principles a bit and let in oxygen.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:22 PM on February 19, 2011


How does this impact the Parliamentary Cat-House?
posted by ovvl at 7:45 PM on February 19, 2011


ovvl, $42 million to $1 billion, same as in town.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:24 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


wow wow 5 billion total for restorations? Someone is getting paid under the table during this work guaranteed. They should just hire investigators now if they haven't already. Enric Miralles was crucified for a construction budget of 650 million for the Scottish Parliament Building, and that was a contemporary masterwork built from ground up. Buildings don't cost 5 billion dollars, corruption and bureaucracy do.

That said, "42 million - 1 billion" is a ridiculously vague cost estimate for the atrium, and I'm not sure where that information is coming from since only the lower bound is in the article.
posted by tmthyrss at 9:25 PM on February 19, 2011


Its historic, but not exactly an architectural gem. Seriously, I'd rather have a new parliament building at that price.

when i was in ottawa last, it was kind of shocking how ugly that building was

This is shockingly ugly? This. Ugly. I'm actually offended here. Fucking Canadians have no god-damned taste at all. Maybe you'd prefer some new and modern Canadian architecture like Mississauga City Hall? Yeah, that piece of shit is the best they could come up with out of 250 submissions. Be careful what you wish for with this "new Parliament buildings" stuff. Parliament Hill is comprised of some of the most beautiful buildings in the entire country. By Canadian standards, Parliament is not just an architectural gem--it's the Hope Diamond.
posted by Hoopo at 10:02 PM on February 19, 2011 [10 favorites]


If any comparison can be made - Australia's provisional parliament building [pdf] was built in 1927. The final parliament building was completed 61 years later in 1988 at a cost of (at the time) A$1.1bn.

*resists urge to make pejorative comments about politicians*
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 10:53 PM on February 19, 2011


I don't mean to suggest that Parliament should meet in a dump, or some rented convention centre (though my sentiments are more of a reflection of the dignity of the Canadian people rather than their MPs), but...

42 to 100 mil (if only that) seems a hell of a lot for a roof and temporary bleachers.

Offhand, Bard College paid 63 mil for a Gehry theatre. Brand new, ground up, not everything they wanted, but a steal for the relatively-modest money. Roughly the same money as what we're talking about here.

Gehry is Canadian. Gehry is a starchitect. I'm sure he could have come up with something nice for that same money (and not necessarily him, either -- just by way of example).

A brand new theatre, or a brand new small gallery, something that could be turned into an adjunct of the National Arts Centre or a National Portrait Gallery, or a new non-leaking National Library -- fuck. Some legacy building of more use than three fucking meeting rooms you can find at any fucking Ramada if you're really stuck.

There was a much better solution to this problem for the money involved. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though, that it wasn't found.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:57 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once the Chinese drywall and American lumber were barred from the bids, the contractors all realized money was no object, as long as they'd take loonies and toonies...
posted by paulsc at 2:22 AM on February 20, 2011


Mississauga City Hall?

That's a decoy. Any true Mississauguan knows that Sqaure One is the real city hall.
posted by srboisvert at 5:31 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mississauga is a Post-Modern, not a Modern masterpeice, and I would v. much prefer it. As for late victorian or robertson romensuque or whatever that style is, Queens Park is v. nice, as is the Alberta Legistature, I don't have a huge love for gothic revival, i spent some time last summer living in Knox, and I kind of hated it, but it is not really useful for anything but churches (i.e St Albans and St Bartholemew's in Ottawa, St Patricks in Halifax, St James and Redeemer in Toronto, First Pres in Edmonton.) Anything that wasn't a church---Well Hart House is passable, some of the buildings in the RMC have the soulless rigour that is required of the style.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:16 AM on February 20, 2011


Post-modern masterpiece, indeed. How's this: we keep the Parliament buildings, and you can have the masterpiece of post-modern box store-laden strip malls in South Keys and your delightfully contrarian views on architecture.

I agree this proposed glass dome looks ugly and too expensive, and $5b sounds high for renos to me, too. But I don't actually know how much that sort of thing should cost anyway, and it would be a shame to lose some of Canada's most iconic buildings. I'm glad that's not on the table and no one is seriously suggesting that.

BTW, the Alberta Legislature bears quite a resemblance to US Congress and is a pretty strange choice for a legislature in a country that struggles with identity issues. Citing examples from the GTA and Alberta however sounds to this Ottawa native like more of the same Ottawa-bashing sour grapes I've heard from Torontonians and Albertans for years.

Also, Leafs suck.
posted by Hoopo at 10:34 AM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes. The Leafs do suck.

The use of Sandstone marks it as truly and deeply albertan. I also mentioned places in Halifax and two in Ottawa. It was funny that you mentioned this American identity thing about the Missiuaga city hall, because the Gothic Revival was a slavish devotion to Anglophillic aesthetics and an attempt to historicise (and by that i mean make European) a country whose heritage was much more complicated then messanging over the blueprints from Oxbridge. (Literally in the case of Knox) (This making European's instincts are found most in the baronial inappropriateness of the CP hotels in Lake Louise and Banff, a clustefuck of Scottish Castle, English Country House and Swiss Chalet that belongs nowhere except in a fevered colonials desperate attempt to make mama love him just a little bit.

I find the unseemliness, and completely anti-canadian instinct of this practice all over Ottawa. It's also why with very few exceptions (all of them vernacular), architechture that reflects the polyvalent values of Canadian people were absent until 1967, and then blossomed completely. Erikson in Vancouver, Douglas Cardinal on the prairies, Safdie starting in Montreal, etc.

In fact, if I was going to look at what makes a truly canadian parliment, there are so many examples that would reflect our values that are not the ubiqutious transparent garden tent (something like a long house, or the rooms in fur factories where descions were made, or something that reflected the spirit of a kitchen party, or the justice circles of the cree or the kiva of the inuit, or a vancouver special from the 1960s, or or or or...)

For about 4 years we had a sense of adventure, excitement, joy, and intelligence about our built spaces in this fucking country, and its collapsed into baleful nimbyesque wailing...
posted by PinkMoose at 7:19 PM on February 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was funny that you mentioned this American identity thing about the Missiuaga city hall, because the Gothic Revival was a slavish devotion to Anglophillic aesthetics and an attempt to historicise (and by that i mean make European) a country whose heritage was much more complicated then messanging over the blueprints from Oxbridge. (Literally in the case of Knox) (This making European's instincts are found most in the baronial inappropriateness of the CP hotels in Lake Louise and Banff, a clustefuck of Scottish Castle, English Country House and Swiss Chalet that belongs nowhere except in a fevered colonials desperate attempt to make mama love him just a little bit.

I find the unseemliness, and completely anti-canadian instinct of this practice all over Ottawa. It's also why with very few exceptions (all of them vernacular), architechture that reflects the polyvalent values of Canadian people were absent until 1967, and then blossomed completely. Erikson in Vancouver, Douglas Cardinal on the prairies, Safdie starting in Montreal, etc.


Exactly right. I'm a Canadian of Euro-descent but I am not too convinced we need to try and keep our own little copies of that European architecture/institutions at all. I see a couple of Douglas Cardinal buildings everyday, and I think he could design a parliament we'd all be proud of for a hell of a lot less than the 5 billion it would take to renovate the old parliament.

Hell if the Canadian security state continues to move along at the pace it has built up over the last ten years, her majesty's cowboys will be tasing anyone who gets even close to parliament or the PMO and whatever the public thinks about architecture or public spaces will be completely moot.
posted by Deep Dish at 7:35 PM on February 20, 2011


Which Cardnials do you see every day Deep Dish?
posted by PinkMoose at 8:28 PM on February 20, 2011


Which Cardnials do you see every day Deep Dish?

First Nations University of Canada and the RCMP Heritage Centre.. Cardinal also drew up a really interesting idea for a stadium in Regina
posted by Deep Dish at 8:37 PM on February 20, 2011


Also some of the photos of parliament linked upthread feature Chateau Laurier (a hotel) rather than the parliament buildings... also its kind of weird that some of them don't show the building from the front (where visitors and tourists would enter).

It also looks vastly different in the summer.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:43 PM on February 20, 2011


Turns out I was wrong about the RCMP Heritage Centre.. that was another architect..
posted by Deep Dish at 9:00 PM on February 20, 2011


the Gothic Revival was a slavish devotion to Anglophillic aesthetics and an attempt to historicise (and by that i mean make European) a country whose heritage was much more complicated then messanging over the blueprints from Oxbridge

It's a fairly faithful re-creation of the original pre-Confederation buildings. They were designed while Canada was under British control. I'm not trying to get into an argument about the Britishness of pre-Confederation Canada, it's hardly a secret that Great Britain was historically the largest source of immigration into Canada. John A Macdonald is quoted as having said "as for myself, my course is clear. A British subject I was born; a British subject I will die," in 1891! This idea that architecture in British and French colonies artificially imposes European-ness is revisionism. We still have the Queen as our head of state and our government is classified as a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. It's hardly like the influence is just superficial.

BTW I was talking about the Alberta Legislature resembling Congress, not Mississauga.

Exactly right. I'm a Canadian of Euro-descent but I am not too convinced we need to try and keep our own little copies of that European architecture/institutions at all

I'm not sure I understand you--are you saying we should raze buildings that hint at our history? Why? It's hardly a fault that the designers of buildings in the 19th century were unable to anticipate what Canada might look like in 300 years.
posted by Hoopo at 9:35 AM on February 21, 2011


200 years. 200. crap.
posted by Hoopo at 9:39 AM on February 21, 2011


Also some of the photos of parliament linked upthread feature Chateau Laurier (a hotel) rather than the parliament buildings...

Nope, they show both as they form a beautiful part of Ottawa's skyline because they're right next to one another. Look left. Here's the front view. Here's the East Block, with the Chateau off to the bottom right in the background. I can tell you it's even better when the roof turns green. I'm not trying to hide shit. I chose those pictures because they're particularly beautiful and show how they fit into their surroundings. Buildings like that aren't meant to only be seen from the front anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 9:50 AM on February 21, 2011


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