Man Alone

PLEASE MAKE AN EFFORT TO HELP HAITI NOW (click here for more information or see the HELP HAITI NOW link on the Magic Box home page).

A candid snapshot of a man apparently leaving the office, but then yanked back (virtually) by his Canadian-invented electronic leash (i.e. Blackberry).  I was so close when taking the shot that I felt I was (almost) intruding on his privacy. The building he is standing in is a shiny new skyscraper (the Bay Adelaide Centre) that was recently opened in Toronto.  I am neither an architect, nor an urban planner, but I do have a citizen’s opinion about buildings and cities and how they ought to be.  For many of us cities are where we spend most of our lives, and we deserve (whether rich, poor or in between) to live in healthy, sustainable and beautiful places that function well on a human level.  I find that this building is a classic example of late 20th Century/early 21st Century Western architecture (largely in North America), the hallmarks of which are a lack of imagination, scale or a sense of how the structure fits in with the environment around it.  This building in particular lacks character and its monolithic characteristics, both inside and out, give it a blandness that betrays the fact that these types of structures are built with a central criterion: the bottom line.  Hence, the slap-on glass skins, the lack of any attention to scale whether in terms of the street level interface or the human beings, both inside and out, that interact with it.  The developers’ motto must be: “Build it and they will pay the rent”.  This rant about buildings and cities brings me back to the image of the overworked man, and why I chose the alienating title “Man Alone” to describe what it felt like to stand there and take this picture.  It must be that our cities and the built environment are simply a reflection of ourselves – our culture, and our values.

However, I could be altogether wrong.  I look forward to your thoughts on this picture, urban planning, cities, architecture, the zen thoughts of your cat, whatever strikes you.  Please share.

This image is part of Monochrome Weekly.


About this entry