Perhaps as a graduate architectural historian, who had the advantage of critical thinking applied to the subject of appropriate heritage preservation under the strict protocols of first Pierre du Prey, special advisor to Phyllis Lambert, creator and philanthropic founder of the CCA (Centre for Canadian Architecture) at Queen’s University, and then by Professor Martin Weaver from Columbia University through continuing education studies at U Vic, I am either advantaged in my thinking on this subject or perhaps disadvantaged, but I definitely am out of step with our mayor and council on appropriate heritage renovation policy. And our Mayor is quite happy to quote on record that he is in step with The Hallmark Society, The City of Victoria Heritage Committee, City Heritage Planning Staff and in fact in his view, all the heritage bodies who the city should attend to, are in favour of his view of heritage policy. You see the thing is; I can’t in anyway understand how densification including extra height and heritage preservation can collage together. These are two wonderful urban ideals: because densification, leading to increased mass transit use, less car use, revitalization of the urban core or wherever increased density occurs is a model urban planning concept.
The past week has provided one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life for a variety of reasons. My first trip to the Northern Berkshires centered specifically in North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts and began on Canada’s West Coast—on Vancouver Island, where I live . My purpose was to attend an opening of Artists without Borders at the Brill Gallery, located in the historic Eclipse Mill in North Adams.
The Brill Gallery is situated on the ground floor at the north end entry of the Eclipse Mill, and the mill is the first major building as one approaches the city from the east. The recently renovated, enormous, four storey red brick, former textile mill is now full of art galleries, studios and live/work studio residences. Within the Brill Gallery, with its large north facing small pane industrial windows, the artworks were displayed studio style with paintings and photographs either framed or pinned, some hung, some leaning on walls from the floor, and all numbered, titled, catalogued, and priced. Natural and track lighting showed the works well and all the artworks themselves were of great quality and variety.