Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Rebuilding the sky

Please don't fall
London, ON
December 2018
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Just across the parking lot from our new office, a major area developer is putting up a massive condo. It's a rare treat to watch a building take shape over the course of months and years, to watch it slowly grow, one floor at a time, toward the sky, to take in the redrawing of the skyline from just across the way. Every day brings something new, something unexpected. And no one else gets - or apparently cares - to be witness to the transformation. It's like your own private viewing party.

The crane you see here towers hundreds of feet above the project, a central player in an ongoing ballet dance of coordinated deliveries, lifts, and installations. They're pros here. Habe to be. I often look up at the crane and quietly thank the folks who designed and built it, as well as the teams that operate it now, for ensuring it doesn't squash any of us as we go about our day. I look at the ladder and realize every morning, one brave soul climbs it, alone. Now that would be a picture. Perhaps another day I'll be lucky enough to be around when the operator first gets here.

Eventually the building will be topped off. The construction crews will clean up the site, remove the hoarding, and disappear for good. Residents will move in, their stuff slowly spreading out onto the once-pristine balconies, the white concrete of the parking garage ramps slowly turning grey.

No one will remember what it was like during this temporary in-between state, when the sunset still shone unhindered. And all that remains of this transient moment in time, when emptiness was slowly transformed into something more tangible, will be furtively stolen moments like this one. Construction as metaphor for life? Maybe.

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Tabor said...

Unlike you, I hate seeing he scar of a large building replace breathing space.

carmilevy said...

I hear ya. I've never been a fan of development for the sake of development, and I cringe at what overdevelopment is doing to our green spaces. We lose so much, all for the wanton pursuit of profit. So I totally agree with you.

That said, the land this building is being built on had been previously occupied by a couple of scrubby old buildings, and was an eyesore just steps away from the middle of downtown. This area desperately needs residential development - which, long-term, moves us away from commute-centric suburbs and returns us to a more sustainable, denser city core.

So, no, I'm not fan of concrete jungles. But if done right, it can lead to a more livable, efficient, resource-respecting city. Knowing this particular developer, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they've taken those higher-order interests to heart.