204 Beech Avenue, now

Sunday, 30 May 2010

204 Beech Avenue

There are only a few houses on any Beach street that 'establish' the image we have of this unique area in the city, and 204 Beech is definitely one of them. The many more mundane buildings here just 'go along for the ride', the character of the place has been established - they serve as the background, neither adding to or detracting from that character.

I owned 209 Beech across the road for a time, and used the small enclosed porch above its entrance as a studio. While I was there, I remember painting a small watercolour of the view from it of 204 and its neighbours. It is not nearly as good as my memory of it, but it does show 204 in context: all three interesting houses, but 204 clearly the more historic and interesting.

While I have sincere sympathy for the circumstances the Teehan's face, the only thing I can see about the site that recommends it for their accessible house design is the width of the lot - level access is available only from the back. They may, of course, also be attracted to this site by other attributes like the setting, a lovely tree-lined street, surrounded by the sort of houses that give the neighbourhood (that they have chosen as their own) its character!

I am an architect and have worked in Toronto for a progressive design-oriented firm since 1974.

I like modernist buildings - I do them! That does not mean that I believe the context of a building should not influence/inspire its design, or that we shouldn't treasure and maintain the best of our architectural heritage.

Geoff Teehan said on his website that they had considered re-renovating their Elmer house to make it accessible, but chose not to because that would be such a 'waste'. However nice the house, and the design and quality of the work they put into it, I don't believe it is one the 'character' houses in the Beach. To replace 204 with a modern building - completely out of character with its context - would be more than a significantly greater waste.

I hope you are successful in preventing the destruction of your old home, and I hope the 'spectre' of a heritage designation only serves to increase the value of the house, allowing the Teehan's to find a more appropriate site in the area to build a house that suits their needs.

Another artist's rendition

Another artist's rendition
Hi folks,

Please read the following. I have highlighted the criteria we think apply.




1. (1) The criteria set out in subsection (2) are prescribed for the purposes of clause 29 (1) (a) of the Act. O. Reg. 9/06, s. 1 (1).

(2) A property may be designated under section 29 of the Act if it meets one or more of the following criteria for determining whether it is of cultural heritage value or interest:

1. The property has design value or physical value because it,

i. is a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method,

ii. displays a high degree of craftsmanship or artistic merit, or

iii. demonstrates a high degree of technical or scientific achievement.

2. The property has historical value or associative value because it,

i. has direct associations with a theme, event, belief, person, activity, organization or institution that is significant to a community,

ii. yields, or has the potential to yield, information that contributes to an understanding of a community or culture, or

iii. demonstrates or reflects the work or ideas of an architect, artist, builder, designer or theorist who is significant to a community.

3. The property has contextual value because it,

i. is important in defining, maintaining or supporting the character of an area,

ii. is physically, functionally, visually or historically linked to its surroundings, or

iii. is a landmark. O. Reg. 9/06, s. 1 (2).