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'Wacky' Alsop is perfect for progressive Toronto


I write in response to a letter published under the title 'When Will there be an end to Alsop's jokes' (AJ 1.7.04) written by Roy Mittins. I wonder, has Mr Mittins visited Alsop's addition to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)? His comments would suggest otherwise.

The new OCAD extension is, among many other things, a well-considered piece of urban design that not only lifts the previously dull collection of spaces and buildings of the college, but generates new open areas linking the dwellings adjacent to the college through to the park beyond.

The 'wacky sticky-out legs' elevate the bulk of the building above the eyeline of the residents, affording them clear views across the new spaces into the park beyond, and the hovering slab prevents views into the private accommodation from the new facilities. The design pays tribute to the progressive attitude adopted at OCAD and gives them a notable building to attract new students and demonstrate the imagination of the institution. It also embraces the greater attitude prevalent in Toronto that, among many other projects, is working towards the completion of the new Royal Ontario Museum extension by Daniel Libeskind and is developing an exciting Gehry scheme for the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I, for one, would be very disappointed if the censorship that Mr Mittins suggested prevented you from publishing anything that he finds unacceptable, as it is clear that he has thoroughly misread Alsop's work. I would suggest that, firstly, Mr Mittins takes some time to examine the scheme futher rather than knee-jerking solely to the aesthetic; and secondly, relax - there's nothing wrong with a little humour in architecture.Alsop works on many levels and it is a shame that he is often judged on the most obvious elements of his work.

Matt Harding, Leicester

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