UW Architecture Students Vision a New Downtown Galt

October 5, 2009 at 9:53 am 3 comments

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddlers Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddler's Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A group of architecture students had to look no further than their school’s front door to find ideas for urban revitalization and design. The goal was to take a holistic approach that would revitalize a mid-sized city. Their laboratory became downtown Galt and to get the ball rolling the students sat down with members of Cambridge council in a brainstorming workshop.

One of the better concepts was to take the old Galt Post Office (formerly Fiddler’s Green) on Water Street South and breath new life into it. Students Elmutaz Elrabaa, Peter Graham and Christy Hempel decided that an addition at the rear of the building should be scrapped in favour of open-air terraces that step down to the river’s edge. Incorporated into those terraces is a cascading waterfall.

Another cheap fix is an experiment the students undertook themselves. They purchased a number of pink plastic Muskoka chairs and placed them on the concrete landing at the river’s edge beneath the Main Street bridge.

Re-developing the riverbank also pops up in two other student proposals. One would introduce a flood resistant boardwalk, planters and benches along the floodwalls, while another would reintroduce the former streetcar bridge across the river behind Barnacle Bill’s Restaurant to connect the proposed Drayton Theatre site with Water Street. A third idea would create a cantilevered walkway extending the Living Levee walkway from the former Galt Library building to the Main Street bridge.

The students have also suggested some changes on Main Street. The first would lighten and brighten the alley connecting the Dickson Street parking lot to Main Street by suspending Christmas trees from wires over the walkway. Further up at Ainslie Street, students have larger, but no less simple plans.

At the former Shoppers Drug Mart building, students would tear away the steel cladding that has hidden the upper portion of the building for years to reveal its original art deco design. Meanwhile, Lederer said Scotia Bank would have its “tired ‘70s look” updated by adding a green wall to the corner pillar.

The vision could soon lead to an extended partnership between Cambridge and the University of Waterloo.

The university’s expertise is also being called to review a series of new city master plans for economic development, arts and culture, heritage, and parks and recreation created over the last year.

Many of the plans make similar recommendations and now the city, with help from the university, may look at ways to combine some of the proposals for implementation over the next fewyears.

Congratulations from one urban designer to future architecture professionals!

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

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Entry filed under: Cambridge, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • […] more from the original source: UW Architecture Students Vision a New Downtown Galt « Urbanity Connect and […]

  • 2. David H  |  October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I rather like that Bank of Nova Scotia. As late 60s/early 70s architecture goes, it’s still pretty fresh.

    Let’s hope the next batch of architecture students looks north to Preston, Hespeler, and/or Hespeler Road. All would benefit from a little brush-up (major surgery in Hespeler Road’s case!

  • 3. nick  |  October 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with the Hespeler Road mishap, haha 😀

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