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Our urban history in 50 buildings

At the time of writing this post, it’s still 2015 – at least here in Toronto. But by the time you (subscribers) get this post in your inbox, it will be 2016. So happy new year! I am thrilled about getting this year started and I hope you feel the same way.

To kick things off, I thought I would share a great interactive post from Guardian Cities called, A history of cities in 50 buildings. It’s a look at our urban history through 50 important and pivotal buildings. Buildings such as Southdale Center, which was the first fully enclosed, climate-controlled shopping mall, and Chicago’s Home Insurance Building, which was a building that really set the stage for the modern skyscraper that we know today.

Not all of these buildings have left a positive legacy on our cities. I am sure that some of you would argue that the creation of the suburban shopping mall, with its corresponding “sea of parking”, was not a step forward for cities, but a step backwards. The architect behind Southdale Center, Victor Gruen, has even gone on record saying that he refuses “to pay alimony for those bastard developments.” He hated the shopping mall.

But like them or not, these buildings are part of our urban history, and I think it’s not only interesting but important to understand their impacts. If you want to see which important buildings were missed, at least according to Guardian readers, click here. I have to say that I was happy to see both Montréal and Toronto represented in the original list, as well as a few other buildings that I’ve written about here.

On that note, happy new year to you all, again, and many thanks for reading Architect This City. If you have any suggestions for content you would like to see on this blog in 2016, please leave it in the comment section below. This may be my personal blog, but my goal is to make it valuable for all of you. Hopefully I achieve that sometimes.

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