VÕRRELDES KAHTE EESTI MAJA PROJEKTI: MADISON JA MERTON Eesti Elu
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VanemadUuemad
Taaskord arusaamatu04 Jun 2017 23:25
"Linda Veltmanni järgi on Madison “Class-A trophy space that reflects our success as a community”. Pange tähele sõna “reflects”, see ei toimu ehituse sees, vaid reflekteerib väljast."

Huh???
lugeja06 Jun 2017 15:29
The quote below rang true to me and also made me a little bit sad.

Huvitav on selle aja demokraatlik suhtumine, kus osales terve ühiskond. See on erinev praegusest, kus juhatus väikese grupiga dikteerib, mida nemad tahavad läbi viia ja suurblokid hääletavad. Ühiskonnale teatatakse kui juba valmis fakti ja küsimusi ignoreeritakse. Suur osa rahvast saab alles hiljem teada, mis on juhtumas.
agreed06 Jun 2017 17:28
That quote is so well articulated. It perfectly conveys the situation. Sad indeed.
Good leadership embraces new09 Jun 2017 06:51
Eda writes “Maja plaanid olid juba ehitamiseks valmis, kui avastati, et rajoon Mertoni tänaval on nn “kuiv”, kus alkoholi müük sel ajal polnud lubatud. Kohe otsustati krunt müügile panna ja hakati uut sobivat kohta otsima. Selleks osutus praegune Eesti Maja 1960. aastal.”

What bothers me about the discourse directed by the 4ORGS today, is that there is a sentiment of “don’t create waves”, that “let those in charge do their work”. I can’t agree with that – the needs of the community trump that of the individual, and if there are concerns to be addressed, these should not be ignored. If there are enough people in the community who feel that there needs to be an alternate plan for the future new Estonian House, then that should be seriously considered by the leadership.

Take the case of the Merton St. project. The Estonian community had already purchased the property and developed plans to build a new building only to find out that that there was a ban on serving alcohol in the area, something that would be needed for functions in an active community. THE COMMUNITY CHOSE TO CHANGE THEIR DIRECTION and sold the property. The present Madison project –has a beautiful design – but the project has shortcomings. WHEN A GOOD NUMBER OF PEOPLE, YOUNG AND OLD, SAY THAT THEY WILL AVOID THE BUSY CITY CENTRE where the Madison house will be built, then it is time to consider the future of the Estonian House elsewhere.

Good leadership requires that those in charge keep an open mind to opportunities and embrace a new direction that is better for the community. Community is about people – if you have a number of people in the community say that they will not be using the new building (they don’t want to drive down into the traffic chaos), then you have a major problem that must be addressed and corrected.
Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt.11 Jun 2017 03:04
'Holy Political Outflanking, Batman, what are those Jokers up to in Toronto City!?'

I don't want to be a party-pooper, but viewed from afar this entire Madison Avenue affair reeks of a boondoggle, made possible only with other people's money. Something does not quite meet the eye. I hope I'm wrong.

I think Eda Sepp has done a bang up job airing her considerable concerns - which should be everyone's - without exactly spelling it out: the emperor has no clothes!

The architecture (which judging from Kongats' previous works will undoubtedly be first class aesthetics) and the human/ functional/ parking logistics aside, isn't the elephant in the living room the inconclusive, open-ended financing of this project? Apparently as shaky as the ground beneath it?

Am I wrong to suggest no one would behave like this with their own money?

Aren't the ten-foot-wide rental spaces woefully inadequate? Where is the extra $14-18 million, or much more for filling a much deeper black hole, coming from? Not a worry? (I thought only the EU, ha-ha, operates this way).

If the aim is acquiring a 'trophy space' to be proud of, I smell a Faustian bargain with ego. For the future of Toronto's outstanding väliseestlus, shouldn't the least of your aims be the legacy of a self-financing project? I may be entirely out of the loop, but I don't see it here. (Whatever happened to the idea of drastically redeveloping the existing Eesti Maja huge plot, with mathematically apportioned condominium sales, etc)?

Unfettered optimism should never be a replacement for hard-nosed precision (as is the case with eestlased everywhere, who are downright allergic to squandering money).

Please forgive this as a skeptics aside, but folowing logic, what's the actual plan? Who is benefitting?

I expect there are hundreds of Estonian pensioners, individually with millions of dollars in assets, who would seriously consider donating to this enterprise - and may I suggest a Hall of Fame of Contributors etched deep in brass, as part of the new Toronto Eesti Maja?

For such an idealistic and tight-knit community, an air-tight financial plan should be imperative. A no-brainer. Just look at the concerted efforts at the recent Eesti Kodu- AKEN hiigelbasaar event. Estonians are wonderful people who love to contribute. In retrospect, having left Toronto 20 years ago to make my life in Eesti, I am moved to tears sometimes, out of sheer gratitude.

'Don't get your cape in a knot, Robin, I'm sure they'll come to their Collective Senses soon. Roots count, over and out!'
Come design, Lembit11 Jun 2017 07:06
Come save the old Estonian House, Lembit! We need someone with heart, passion and drive to design a masterful building with a nod to nature on the existing site … something that the community can get behind. Structures with soul is something you excel at, your work is beautiful.

I agree that the money is in the community (many wealthy community members, especially our more senior members) and the Madison design is working at cross purposes to unlocking that. I am not a wealthy senior member, but think I can squeeze out a sizable chunk of change for a building that I feel passion. This is driven by my pride in being Estonian, how could I not.

I think the 4 organizations team leading the project has two objectives, to create a trophy space and one that is sustainable (but they have failed miserably with the last challenge) and they are exhausted and just want a quick fix (to sell the old house and build something new with that money). But with any building, there will be unforeseen other costs. Where will the money come from then? From all the senior Estonian community members whom they are alienating right now? I think not. These seniors will have washed their hands financially long ago.

As far as the community can tell, there is no financial plan. We have just been told “trust me” by the leadership. This is less than encouraging and downright frightening and demoralizing.

The leadership needs to change gears and get with redesigning the old house and finding the financial backing to design an inviting modern space for Canadian-Estonians which will bring in other Canadians as well to sustain the community centre.

It is not too late to change direction. As we see form Eda’s article, Estonians bought and sold the Merton property and ultimately built elsewhere. Let’s not get stuck on Madison.
Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt.12 Jun 2017 03:52
Thanks for those positive words.

Atleast for me, the yellow card here is this apparent lack of a definitive financial plan. The risk of 'cost overruns' is the Sword of Damocles looming above everyone's necks. I imagine even saying these two dreaded words, 'cost overruns', sends shivers of anxiety down every Estonian's spine.

And yet acquiring a 'Grade A trophy space' - especially in a preferable area like the Bloor Avenue 'culture corridor' - is an understandable priority, and expresses part of what's wrong with the existing Eesti Maja. It has plenty of space, but amounts to a forgettable mash of 3 building styles. Individually ok, but together lacking in cohesive identity.

I expect the Madison project does answer the 'kui juba, siis juba' desire for visibility and presence (as befitting Estonian pride and contributions to Canadian society generally). How much has the new scheme actually been developed and studied, I don't know. I've searched the internet and found few entries. Is it such a tight-fitting Italian shoe, that it will cause painful bunions and corns in short time? Or maybe, in balance, it's fine. The proposed 'suur saal' is adequate in size, as one person indicated. Is it?

To be sure, you have quite a dilemma here. Not unlike a home that's been in the family for generations, 'getting rid' of the existing Eesti Maja, which is a repository of history and memories, only make sense if it's replacement (wherever it should be) is provably the best possible compromise between all costs combined, location, visibility and image. Remaining sketchy on any one of these fronts is an admission of failure, in that respect. I really do feel for the community standing before this conundrum, which, I understand, is ruffling feathers.

As for 'redoing' the Estonian House once again, likely many have concluded it will never exhibit the ideal 'presence' factor, already due to its location. However, if this concern can be overlooked as not the greatest priority - and considering renovations are often more costly than building anew - there's a logic to demolishing as completely as possible. Mere touch ups will not likely produce the necessary first class amenities required for wedding receptions, etc.

If the old school makes it a 'heritage site', does this mean having to expose the Grand Old Lady's street facade, at the least? There's also the issue of the Suur Saal with it's signature Scandinavian-style glue-laminated beams. These have special value, and yet the hall's large volume, standing in the centre of the plot, poses serious 'plan flexibility' limitations. Is there any way around this?

I realize this is risking 'sacrilege', but sacrificing the Suur Saal, for one slightly smaller, may make sense. Perhaps an answer is to demonstrably re-purpose it's beams in the new building. Carrying them over as memory. They could be re-cut and inventively - sculpturally - reassembled in the new building (wherever that ends up being). Nicely, and explicitly, symbolizing how the new can emerge from the old? This sort of thing has been done before, and with dignity. So much brain-storming, for now. Best!
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:04)
Come design, Lembit12 Jun 2017 09:20
"If the old school makes it a 'heritage site', does this mean having to expose the Grand Old Lady's street facade, at the least? There's also the issue of the Suur Saal with it's signature Scandinavian-style glue-laminated beams. These have special value, and yet the hall's large volume, standing in the centre of the plot, poses serious 'plan flexibility' limitations. Is there any way around this?"

I don't know whether the GOL's facade has to be exposed, or just elements within. Maybe someone else more knowledgeable on the subject can post an answer here. I don't think it has to be a deal-breaker, though. If you remember the old watering hole Brunswick house, it is now a reworked Rexal http://www.blogto.com/city/201...


"I realize this is risking 'sacrilege', but sacrificing the Suur Saal, for one slightly smaller, may make sense. Perhaps an answer is to demonstrably re-purpose it's beams in the new building. Carrying them over as memory. They could be re-cut and inventively - sculpturally - reassembled in the new building (wherever that ends up being). Nicely, and explicitly, symbolizing how the new can emerge from the old? This sort of thing has been done before, and with dignity. So much brain-storming, for now. Best!"

I don't think it's sacrilege at all. This is the modern thinking we need to bring to a rebuild of the old house. The pro's to keeping the old hall is that it is apparently acoustically highly regarded. But maybe acoustic integrity can be maintained with a smaller hall in its place?
Lembit Andres Tork.13 Jun 2017 13:47
Inspired by Eda Sepp's articles and happenstance, I've pondered this for several days. I also sent two of my responses to architect Alar Kongats' office. Everyone's interested in what genuinely best serves this very committed community. I did find several articles, like err april news with renderings of the proposed Madison glass house, photos of the Latvian House's verdant plot (what a great name 'Credit Union Drive', my brother held his wedding party there), and then the somewhat time-struck Broadview Eesti Maja, where I still expect to see Chauncey Gardner sauntering across the parking lot into eternity, carried by the din of the DVP. Caravan never ended, Ants Vomm is still drawing his wonderful caricatures, and Kaja is the best band ever to get everyone on their feet and dancing, sweating. Granted, this is an expat's banquet of nostalgia and feeling, with free soolalõhelõigud. Listening to Air- 'La Femme D'argent', 'All I Need' and Zero 7 'Spinning'... Then going out to lunch, in the sudden sunlight I found myself whistling 'All I need is a Miracle'... that's never happened before. Boy, what more can one say to the laskeklubi which has promised to donate $25,000 for redoing the old home, and 500 hours of talgud? The new Estohouse has no space for them. Nor for the malekulbi. That's the tight squeeze I suppose has everyone in heartwrench. Supporters and detractors. I realize there's little money, and people don't want this dream to go out in the sunset behind olden curtains.

The best image I've conjured up for myself, is an equally dynamic two-story addition to the Latvian House (with a large basement and light wells and private space) called the Estonian culture incubator... like a space-ship, a shrine and kindergarten, connected by glass passageways, it's in a garden with vines. Made of wood, with a skin of copper (to patinate beautifully over the coming decades).
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:04), Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:52)
Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt.14 Jun 2017 04:09
I'm not sure my point has been understood. First, I'm fully aware of the vote to go ahead with Madison. But, I'm not aware of how much is set in stone, as there's the logic of some outstanding problems, and some rumblings otherwise. Nor am I aware of how certain everyone is that there are no other viable options, even as I was recently told there are not.

I've some experience with building projects, and the possibilities of detrimental cost overruns, so building above a subway line raises a yellow flag. I expect the committees involved are also keenly aware of this, as well as of other problems, which will not be resolved until they're resolved.

As indicated in my very first sentence, my interest is sparked by Eda Sepp's excellent writings of late which mostly discuss site limitations, casting some doubt on the functionality of the new Maja, which I'm wondering about as well. Pret-ty important I would think, especially as I haven't found any floor plans anywhere, only some exterior renderings, which do look appealing, looking into very 'trophy-case' interiors. Openness and multi-functionality is one thing, so is privacy. This is but one aspect of constructive criticism meant not to denigrate the preliminary 'vision', but to help inform and explore possible design development.

I brought up laskeklubi's offer as indicative of heightened sentiments. Not because I think they, or even a larger group of like-minded talgulised can or cannot reasonably fix the existing Eesti Maja roof, plumbing etc... as these fix-ups do not address all of Eesti Maja's long-term inherent problems, which, reading between the lines, is implied by my last paragraph. Which, possibly to the chagrin of some Eesti Maja savers, drifts, at the moment, over to Credit Union Drive.

I've read of the Latvian House's open offer to share their building, renaming it the Baltic House, but I haven't seen any responses.

More significantly, I've read of no proposals to make an addition to that venue, which has greenery, parking and some finer aspects than offered at the existing Eesti Maja.

Hence my alternative 'vision' amble. Whether it's viable or not, I don't know. There may be set-back and density restrictions which allow no such thing. Or other matters altogether. But, I'm throwing that 'uitmõte' in the air to see if it is inspiring or not, is automatically spanked down or not? Why- first and foremost in the spirit of helping out from between a rock and a hard place (which I understood is where the community at large - maybe not the orgs involved - may well be right now).

If the result of my effort is only to unnecessarily stir up trouble, that would be unfortunate, but I'm still addressing people's responses (which I'm guessing will be petering out soon). I may be thanked in the end by sides who are not 'liking' my commentary, for paradoxically helping solidify arguments, and tying together loose ends, which I've neither presented, nor represented. Maybe the opposite. Surely it's all for the best, if the aim is to let water find it's own level. I hope to maintain an intentionally naive regard for politics. Best to you all!
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:04), Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:52), Lembit Andres Tork. (13:47)
cdL14 Jun 2017 10:24
What are your thoughts on gutting the old Estonian House and leaving required heritage aspects to make something totally awesome and unique? Something totally different and modern, though keeping some old aspects? Combining old with new. It could be built in stages, I would think. A restaurant and the bank would need front property access to catch street traffic.

It all comes down to money, in the end. How much would such a gutting-rebuilding cost? How cost-effectively could this be done to appease the Estonian sense of frugality? I would think that at least a few storeys could be added to maximize rentable space (halls on main floor, offices and meeting/rooms doubling as classrooms upstairs, + range + parking ... underground parking?). A fantastic design could capture the imagination of the people and their financial support.
Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt.15 Jun 2017 01:23
Tere taas cdL! I think the progression of your thoughts here, are logical, and indeed ask the 'Take it or Leave it, $64 Million Dollar Question', not to be taken as my guesstimate of the demolition, gutting and building price, (but who knows: äkki Toronto ülekuumenenud kinnisvara- ja ehitusturul, võivad hinnad kiiresti küünidida tolle suunas)? This is the crux of the matter: cost.

If there were no viable alternatives, like the Madison House which for all of it's seeming compromises has already undergone considerable process and may just realistically squeeze out a semi-miracle, I think something could be made of the Broadview plot that is 'totally awesome and unique' too. And I agree, this would probably entail a full scale sacrifice of most everything around the brick heritage building, 'bringing it forward', re-animating it's best qualities, and sewing it inventively to something completely fresh, with enough space for all the amenities needed. Plus, I would propose some kind of semi-enclosed garden (the nature and reception/ oasis aspect that is presently lacking), with most parking underground. Plus an emphasized panoramic view over the DVP to the city itself.

O' yes, the imagination reels at what ideally could be done, but, unfortunately, and equally, I also think it's price could skyrocket through the roof. Possibly dwarfing what is being proposed at Madison, but without the benefit of the sales of the Broadview property. Does that say it all?

Contextwise, whatever might one day get built on the Broadview site, there's no getting rid of the looming - and kind of ugly - triangular condominum/ apartment tower to the immediate north, which will always be staring down into the Eesti Maja's collar. Unless, of course, the new building is similarly (even half way) proportioned, but who really likes those developer McNightmares?

Like it or lump it, without the benefit of the sale of the Broadview Avenue building and property, seems we're straight back in the middle of the 'nokk kinni, saba lahti' conundrum, which only massive donations could conceivably finance. It's a nice idea, but how likely is that? What kind of concerted lobby effort would that entail (risking painting oneself into a new unsolvable paradox), and is not the community equally exhausted on the one hand, and committed on the other, already?

Realistically speaking, proper, complete renovations can turn into the hugest financial sinkholes. And can be very time-consuming, to boot. On the upside, architecture combining a proper 'tension' between the authentic old, and the masterful new is a tremendous value. But aren't we re-visiting a can of worms that's been opened (twice?) before, and unsuccessfully? This stuff is tough.
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:04), Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (03:52), Lembit Andres Tork. (13:47), Lembit Andres Tork. Arhitekt. (04:09)
Guido Laikve17 Jun 2017 18:16
We can all dream, but when we are poor we an only do what is possible and needed by the community the best way we can. It is important that the EH will remain operational at all times so that the community has a place to meet. Therefore the renovations, renewals and redesign will have to be done accordingly. There is no reason why the present EH could not be redesigned such that it would provide a architecturally suitable solution within the financial and physical restrictions that "we can be proud off".
Guido Laikve17 Jun 2017 18:17
We can all dream, but when we are poor we an only do what is possible and needed by the community the best way we can. It is important that the EH will remain operational at all times so that the community has a place to meet. Therefore the renovations, renewals and redesign will have to be done accordingly. There is no reason why the present EH could not be redesigned such that it would provide a architecturally suitable solution within the financial and physical restrictions that "we can be proud off".
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Guido Laikve (18:16)
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