Turning the Tide

visionary architecture for Saint John by Colin Turner
December 13 – 23, 2005
Artist presentation and exhibition vernissage Monday, December 12, 6PM FREE
Third Space proposes an exhibition and artist presentation that explore the idea that the construction of an experimental school of sustainable product design and craft on the former Coast Guard site could be vital in the renewal process of the Saint John urban waterfront and surrounding area.
Following the announcement that the Hardman Group plans to invest $75 million in the construction of a complex including a hotel, condominiums, educational, commercial and retail spaces on that very site, this project becomes all the more pertinent and timely: Who truly can get involved in defining and implementing a vision for vital downtown and waterfront development? Colin Turner, a recent architecture graduate and Saint John resident, for his Masters of Architecture thesis, designed his vision of the Coast Guard site of which the maquettes were on display at the Saint John Arts Centre in October of this year.
In unveiling the current Coast Guard project on Monday morning, Bill Hardman, president of the development company, said, “Today is truly a stepping stone for the future of Saint John”. An artist’s rendering of the proposed ten-year redevelopment of the former Saint John Coast Guard site was published in the Telegraph Journal today, December 6, 2005.
In stark contrast to the rather pedestrian and conservative buildings proposed by the Hardman group, visionary architect Turner proposes symbolic architecture of a grand nature, inspiring progress and change in the way we engage our environment through sustainable means. His building takes its fin-like form based on harnessing the natural wind and tidal energies of its immediate environment. It is intended to blend in size and form with the large-scale dynamic elements of the harbour, and it is designed to provide clean energy for itself and portions of the uptown business district.
The contrast between the two projects presents a unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue about urban development, public access to municipal decision-making, innovation and dramatic architecture. The realization of visionary projects grounded in current realities – environment and culture – can only attract investors, students and visitors to a city historically littered by lackluster development projects.
Models and drawings of Turner’s proposed design will be on display at Third Space Gallery from Tuesday, December 13 through to December 23. Colin Turner will give a presentation of his designs on Monday, December 12 at 7PM. Doors open at 6PM. Seating is limited.