Dave LeBlanc: The Architecture Lover’s Manifesto

Dave LeBlanc: Architecture Lovers Manifesto

Creator: Dave LeBlanc writes on architecture trends for Toronto’s Globe Life.

Purpose: A dozen things to consider to as you consider purchasing, renovating or demolishing a new house – for the sake of your home or building’s future owners – and the neighbourhood.

The Architecture Manifesto Lover’s Manifesto (Selected Highlights)

You love architecture. You’re proud of your home. Maybe you own a few commercial properties and are proud of them, too, even beyond the money they make for you.

But be honest: In our increasingly nomadic culture, another decade – maybe two – would be a pretty good run before you downsize, wouldn’t it? And you probably won’t own your commercial building your entire life, either.

So have some respect for your personal architecture because it benefits all of us. Below are a dozen things to consider. Clip and save, and pass these along if they resonate with you:

  1. In this age of soaring energy prices, I will ask myself if I really need 4,000 square feet and more bathrooms than people in my home.
  2. I will consider buying an older home over a new one.
  3. Before I demolish, I will Google “embodied energy.”
  4. I will try to think of myself as a steward of my home or building rather than master of its fate.
  5. What will the next generation think of the renovations I’ve done? Am I jumping on a bandwagon or am I considering the true needs of my family or business?
  6. …What am I saying about my own values if I demolish something that’s still usable?
  7. Related to No. 6: If my heritage commercial building no longer serves a purpose, I will rethink selling to condo developers.
  8. Related to No. 7: At a dinner party, would I rather be the person who says, “Yeah, that was my building, but I knocked it down to make some quick cash,” or, “Yeah, it cost a bit more money, but we saved that big ol’ beast and reworked the plan; now I’m getting higher leases in the heritage building.”
  9. Do I want my home or building to be featured in the eventual sequel to William Dendy’s Lost Toronto?
  10. Even if it’s only once a year, I will go on an architectural walking tour or visit Doors Open because the enthusiasm of the guides is contagious.
  11. While I may think the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library is ugly, I will endeavour to understand why other people like it.
  12. Any friends who say they are too busy to think about architecture will be brought to my architectural “happy place” – whether that’s the grand hall at Union Station or a friend’s arts-and-crafts living room – and then asked if they don’t feel inspired.

…Just one person can hold a shovel, so I would argue that our future lies with you.



Manifesto as article as published in the Toronto Globe and Mail, June 30, 2011

Image of Robarts Library, University of Toronto


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