Thursday, November 5, 2009
Infill on Bell & Christie Streets
This infill project in Dalhousie is just about all complete. The sod is down, slender tree saplings planted, backyard fences completed. The building faces Christie and reads as semi-detached. The presence of side doors that are celebrated with wide steps, fancy door sets, and a little peaked roof suggest otherwise. In fact, the units can be used as a three storey unit with large ground floor rec room or the ground floor can be closed off leaving a two storey unit above with a balcony, and a small independent unit on the ground floor with its own door to the side of the building and access to the rear yard.
I am surprised to see front facade garages. City planners discourage or forbid them in our neighborhood now. The infill is on a formerly vacant lot that had a lot of small tree and weed growth on it -- either overgrown or naturalized, depending on your point of view -- and a fair share of garbage.
The builder went to considerable effort to use some quality exterior finishes (not plastic siding). The ground floor is "stone" and the upper floors stucco. The presence of horizontal belt lines addssome character and improves the scale and massing. The windows are higher than wide -- nothing looks more incongruous than "renovations" or infills with suburban-style wide windows. City policy actually discourages infill units from being built in the same architectural style as its neighbors from the 1920s, claiming these are "faux" references. If well done (and that's a big if) faux historic infill is fine with me.