Sunday, May 03, 2009

Old terminal to WAA: demolish me

No clearer indication that is time to demolish the existing Winnipeg Airport terminal, than the finding out that heritage preservationists want it kept.

The ultra-Modern design of the terminal itself, however, demands it be destroyed. From a Modernist perspective, there is no reason to keep the old terminal, since it is an out-moded relic of another age.
We should collectively look to the future, not dwell on the past. Because it was important at one time is no reason. Greek temples worked well 4,500 years ago, and the Winnipeg Airport terminal worked well 45 years ago. Those were then, the new terminal is now. Not only has technology and society advanced in leaps and bounds since 1964, but we are now a couple of generations removed from the repressive orders of the old age that stifled, among other things, art and architecture: divinity, morality, and objectivity. What is built now must be better than was built then.

There is no reason to keep a building for its significance. Do that, and the old terminal (and other important Modern buildings) are in danger of becoming venerable: something to aspire to.

Photos from the Winnipeg Building Index

16 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Nobody said...

"They" want that thing gone so bad you can taste it.

When you think of it, there was really no reason to replace it. As for tearing it down, why remove a building that is solid and will probably outlast the new terminal building.

3:09 PM  
Blogger cherenkov said...

because it costs money to heat and maintain. The bottom line is, nobody stepped forward with a use for it, and it's not needed to keep the continuity of some sort of heritage district. If it stands there unused for decades it will look more tired and pathetic each year that passes. Might as well tear it down now while we still think fondly of it.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Mr. Nobody said...

awww, so we'll spend a few bucks heating and maintaining till a tenant is found, how terrible.




Not like we don't waste money on frivolous projects.

8:31 PM  
Blogger CMPerry said...

I had supposed the WCAM taking over the building was a done deal, but I guess not. I had also had the impression that WAA wanted the original TCA terminal building, which now houses WCAM, gone to accommodate runway and ramp changes. I'm really not sure whey they needed a new terminal building. Air terminal architecture, like air travel are products of the 20th century, and the existing building is of its time, place and function, and quite adequate. I think WAA suits are like the WRHA suits, finding 'busywork' to justify their jobs and salaries.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Mr. Nobody said...

Agree CMP lots of gibberish in both organizations.

I to was under the impression the museum was going to take it over. Seems like a good fit.

9:54 PM  
Blogger The Rise and Sprawl said...

Right you are, Mr. Perry. I find the existing terminal to be quite suitable. But then, I also find CanadInns Stadium to be good enough.

11:01 PM  
Blogger ManitobaPost.com said...

Since Airport Authorities have taken over airports, it's all fees and egos. Everyone wants the newest , coolest terminal and they just charge Airport Improvement fees to pay for it. The WCAM has no use for the old terminal in my opinion.

11:48 PM  
Blogger thebanana said...

MBPost hit the nail on the head. The existing terminal just underwent extensive renovations and is perfectly adequate for the air traffic in and out of Winnipeg. This is all about who has the biggest penis.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Spenny said...

This is truly a sad point of discussion threatening a major architectural work worthy of re-use and preservation. Interesting how the dialogue here shifts when we discuss exchange district buildings that are subject to similar practical issues (costly to maintain, inefficient, no interest in leasing space, etc.) but when we discuss a 60's MODERN building like the old terminal (only recently maturing) we would see it demolished. I too had viewed the aircraft museum as an ideal fit for the old terminal giving the organization much needed exposure (though there would have been some challenges locating some of the aircraft inside the terminal).

11:17 AM  
Blogger Spenny said...

On another note, and somewhat related: www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/may/02/architecture-brutalism-park-hill

11:42 AM  
Blogger 4Shaw said...

much like anything else, you don't find beuty in something until it is a rarity, be it cars, art, fashion, or architecture. With so many 60s-era buildings around, we have no need for preservation if we have no use for the building. It doesn't serve a practial purpose, or as a bridge to our past. I had no problems with the old terminal, but now that it's being replaced, we might as well tear it down.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Spenny said...

The sustainable thing to do is always centred on the re-use of existing, where ever possible. The old terminal has not reached its life expectancy. The Exchange District survives on this principal as well to an even greater degree and thankfully, depsite a number of mistakes, it survives as a cultural area. Sixties era buildings are becoming the new 'exchange' buildings for the future, reserved for a time when we will continue to have the same dialogue we are now about keeping our 2010 era buildings. Other notables worthy of their recent renovations include the Manitoba Health Service Building and the J.A. Russell Building.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Omega said...

I would be seriously heartbroken to see the old terminal be demolished.

Sentimental attachment aside, I think the era it hails from is one worth remembering.

Lest we go around Winnipeg destroying all brutalist (and similar era) architecture. Keep it, it looks nice and I agree with the comment above: It probably will outlast the new one.

Knowing full well how shoddy anything "new" is nowadays in our cardboard culture, it might be nice to have a reminder of longer term perspectives on durability.

4:45 PM  
Blogger jeffpeg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:01 PM  
Blogger jeffpeg said...

"Because it was important at one time is no reason. Greek temples worked well 4,500 years ago, and the Winnipeg Airport terminal worked well 45 years ago... the repressive orders of the old age that stifled, among other things, art and architecture: divinity, morality, and objectivity. What is built now must be better than was built then."

Its obvious that you're striving at a satire of the language used my some of the modernists in this quote. Still, your spite at all manifestations of a style for ill-considered examples of said style in certain contexts (misdeeds which are also so inextricably linked to greater social and political factors, far beyond architectural considerations) seems like simple ingnorant antagonism, with none of the kind of nuance or respect for humanity's cultural heritage which mark one as a legitimate commentator. You say there "is no reason to keep a building for its significance. Do that, and the old terminal (and other important Modern buildings) are in danger of becoming venerable: something to aspire to." I would state that it is arguable that there is much to strive for in the terminal: lovely use of native limestone, elegent transparancy, penetrability and architectural balance (perhaps mostly before the subsequent alterations for security and commerce) and the housing of numerous works of art by significant Western Canadian artists exemplifying such indiginous and unique styles as nature-based Structurism. We could (and have) done far worse. Further, while I'm not certain if you're even serious in the arguments you've presented, even if you dislike the building and the style, plenty of buildings are kept around for their significance and not seen as something to. I've yet to model my home on Lower Fort Garry, despite having visited and learned a great deal about Canadian history.

5:18 PM  
Blogger jeffpeg said...

While I sadly agree with you that there is no surer sign that a building in Winnipeg is coming down than the fact that those in favour of historical preservation are commenting on the subject this is largely because deals in this city are mostly completely done before ever being made public. Otherwise on this topic your blind hatred for all things modern is somewhat astonishing. While I agree that a great deal of the city was ravaged by misguided attempts at civic improvement in the post-war era, to baldly state that we should immediately be opposed to preserving some outstanding examples from this era strikes me as the philistinism that you have criticsed in past in others. I have agreed with nearly every take you have presented on this site, which makes your view here all the more surprising. One might ask what style would suit you for an airport if not modernism? And if we don't stop the destruction of this -- the last remaining example (besides Gander, Newfoundland) of the mid-century airports built by the feds -- from being torn down, we will be in a similar position in the future to ourselves now who look back regretting the destruction of many of the great 19th century train terminals, deprived a great example of a building perfectly suited to its style and an examplar its architectural era when pulled off best. Besides -- while I would have a soft spot for the building regardless -- the other thing that really rankles about this situation is the fact that its a federal bullding controlled by an agency which is accountable to no one and who had previously stated that the airport would be the future home of the aviation museum. That was a perfect match in my mind, one which would make the building (art filled and surely easily improved by clearing out the dry wall added since first built) a part of the collection as well as a great home for it.

5:25 PM  

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