Friday, June 26, 2009

Yellow House redevelopment

The infamous Yellow House, which I discussed previously in the post Images of Gladstone, is coming closer and closer to redevelopment.

As a recap, 740 and 742 Gladstone, had housed the Pawn-Da-Rosa pawn shop and apartments above. Despite being schedule to be demolished "next month," in July 2008, the City wanted the owner to paint over the graffiti that was on the building. So Gary Stunden*, agent for the building's owner, Ali Shafiei, decided to paint it yellow, partly as a gimmick, and partly to tease the City for doing something as silly as ordering him to clean it up with only a month left until it was demolished. The above photo was taken on July 11, 2008, shortly after the sardonic paint job.

[Edit: CBC News reports that Gary Stunden is an architect whose license was revoked in 2004 by the Ontario Association of Architects.]

The plan is to demolish the building, along with its neighbour, 746 Gladstone, to be replaced with a seven-unit townhouse development to fill the large corner lot. Here's a shot of 746 Gladstone from last September. The porch was removed, and the doors and windows were boarded up and/or painted black. The top window in the attic appears to have been gone.

By yesterday, June 25, 2009, both buildings were still there.

The yellow house has received a lot of graffiti (and painting over thereof) and the yellow paint has chipped off the large windows at the front. The other house is largely unscathed; a window appears to have been installed in the gap at the top, and a piece of plywood now covers the front window, but it seems that the subtle disguise of the blacking over, coupled with the bright graffiti magnet next door, has spared it from vandalism.

Even the rear of the house, though the windows are boarded up, appears unscathed, with the upper-level windows unbroken. Tall thistle weeds in the garden help.

On the wall between the two houses, many have used the yellow walls as a canvas. Aside from the short film This House Will Not Be Here Tomorrow by Ralitsa Doncheva, which uses the house as a backdrop, some more simple poetry has been affixed to the wall, such as this slogan "My opprotunity, My window..." (sic)

Looking back toward the street at the side of the house, we can see the very peak of the rear wall escaped the painting, a subtle reminder of the white Pawn-Da-Rosa house that was there for many years. Debris is scattered in the yard, and a hole has been formed in the brickwork at the rear corner:

Behind the house is a concrete pad, which the 2007 aerial photos suggest used to be a garage fronting on Cambridge. Now it serves as a pathway for teenagers to cut behind the house, picking up rocks from the fallen brickwork:

The Cambridge Street side of the house has weathered--it's had a lot of character added to it in the last eleven months. You can see spots where graffiti tags cover yellow splotches that painted over previous graffiti.

But also a sign of hope: the black and white sign suggests that development may finally come to the site.

At the June meeting of the Dalhousie Community Association, plans were circulated for the site. For reference, here is a screenshot from the City of Ottawa's eMap application with 2007 aerial photos. We can see that both houses are on a single lot, marked 740 Gladstone. We can also see the former garage. The zoning is Traditional Mainstreet with a height limit of 18.5 metres.

The site plan is to demolish the two houses and replace them with a townhouse-style development, with seven 12-foot-wide townhouses facing on Cambridge Street. The one closest to Gladstone will be a trapezoid-shaped unit (16'-3" at Cambridge, 10'-0" at the rear) following Gladstone's bend, addressed 744 Gladstone (interesting choice, since the two existing buildings are 740, 742, and 746), and will have ground-floor retail.

It looks like all the units will have parking in the rear, accessed from Gladstone, and will be built above the parking. The fronts, on Cambridge, will have little gated garden spaces, encroaching slightly onto the sidewalk right-of-way, but greatly adding to the character.

According to the City planner in charge of this application, the application is on hold pending completion of a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

In the meantime, enjoy the Yellow House! (Photo taken May 12, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Gary Stunden is a disgrace to Ottawa and to REAL architects. He is a true con-artist who has stolen thousands from innocent people.