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Globe and Mail: Adaptive Re-use in Hamilton
Dave Le Blanc | January 22, 2018

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Hamilton, show us how it's done

From Issue No. 266 | February 12, 2018

Curran reno. Exterior detail, night.

Cool Urban Towns at Nos. 7, 9 and 11 Brock St. in Hamilton. 

Architect Bill Curran has thrown down the gauntlet in his native Hamilton & hard.

"It's pretty extreme, architecturally, for the neighbourhood," he says of the trio of adaptively reused, freehold townhouses he's just finished in the North End. "And I hope it's like a splash of cold water in the face of some people, aesthetically, because in Toronto this would be relatively anonymous or innocuous, but here, there's nothing like it."

Really? But Hamilton has so many small, semi-abandoned industrial buildings just aching to be converted. And so many creative types have traded in the expensive T-Dot for the budget-friendly Hammer, it's been jokingly called "Toronto's Brooklyn" for at least a decade; you'd think ingenious infill would be all over that city's notorious one-way streets.

 "They're not happening here, we're not getting the cool stuff," he counters, grimly. "There's a lot of really poor, crappy stuff.

"I can show you a half a dozen around here that are just heartbreaking, missed opportunities."

Consider Mr. Curran's architectural gauntlet an opportunity snatched and then massaged into a powerful message. Dubbed simply "Cool Urban Towns" at Nos. 7, 9 and 11 Brock St.  a stone's throw from the waterfront and the HMCS Haida  the handsome project was an unheated, red-brick storage building containing skids of drinking glasses, tents and folding tables when Mr. Curran picked it up for $320,000 in 2014.

Curran reno. Exterior detail,
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