This weekend finds Doors Open around the region
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This weekend finds Doors Open around the region

The Eiffel Tower was considered an eyesore when it was built, now it’s an iconic landmark. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen to the Centre in the Square or University of Waterloo Student Design Centre?

Today (Saturday), the public can take the trip around the Waterloo Region to check out some modern architecture as Doors Open Waterloo kicks off its 11th year. The contemporary theme means to ignite an appreciation for the new and innovative. After all, says co-coordinator of the event Karl Kessler, these buildings will someday become heritage sites in their own right.

“We often don’t think of them as being part of our built heritage but these are our future heritage buildings. These are buildings that are, if they are built well, and if they are taken care of, going to be our landmarks. I’m hoping that people will find a new appreciation for these new buildings in a way that we have grown to appreciate heritage buildings.”

The fast-growing building initiatives in the region spurred this year’s idea to showcase the creative side of local, modern architecture that has sprung up over about a decade as well as early modern architecture from the 1950s and ’60s.

“If you’ve left the region 10 years ago and came back, there are so many new buildings that have cropped up, and we’ve never done a modern architecture theme [before]. We thought there were so many new, noteworthy buildings we could highlight that we decided to make a theme out of it.”

There can be disillusionment with modern architecture, often receiving a bad rap for being boxy or conventional, Kessler agrees, but there’s nothing of that ilk in the sites featured at this year’s event.

“You’d be hard-pressed to call the ones that we have featured as boxy or uninteresting. You hear that hurled a lot at the condo developments in Toronto, for instance. We didn’t really feature any of those things. Most of the buildings have something interesting about their design and something interesting going on inside. They have something remarkable about their design, they are interesting, and they are well thought out.”

The 42 sites featuring architecture built in the past 55 years will include the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, Waterloo Region Courthouse, Waterloo Regional Police Service North Division, the Clay and Glass Gallery and the Centre In The Square. Many of the locations will feature extra events, lectures and concerts onsite.

Next year’s event and theme, Kessler added, will feature locations in Woolwich and Wellesley townships.

Doors Open Waterloo Region kicks off today, rain or shine. Most locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., though several have shortened hours. Further information, maps and guides can be found at www.regionofwaterloo.ca/doorsopen or by calling (519)747-5139.

 

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