Ted Handy is happiest when people don’t notice his work. As an architect, Handy’s aim is to create buildings that blend into the natural surroundings not overpower them. A prime example of that design philosophy can be found in his latest project, the South Shore Community Centre. It was designed to make the most of the bay, incorporate the existing building and fit into the landscape of the waterfront without standing out like a sore thumb. Handy is pleased with the finished project. “Architecture should only complement the natural environment. ” You can never get better than that,” said Handy, owner of Ted Handy and Associates, Handy considers himself both an artist and a businessman, “Architecture is the greatest social art. “You can’t do architecture in isolation. It has its technical demands but it’s an art form,” he said. Designing buildings is an interactive art form, in that people can enjoy the fruits of his labor. For Handy the highest form of praise is when someone tells him how much they enjoy living in one of his buildings. Yet, Handy says he’s never yet seen a building of his that he wouldn’t love to redo. “That’s part of the pain and agony of looking at your own work. There are very few buildings I wouldn’t want to take back and redo because of missed opportunities,” he said.
It would seem Handy hasn’t missed too many opportunities in Barrie. He has designed Portage Place Condos on Kempenfelt Drive, an apartment building at the corner of Duckworth and Bell Farm Road, the Oro-Barrie Airport Terminal and is currently working on designs for the new Barrie Public Library along with the architecture firm of Shore, Tilbe, Irwin and Partners. “The library board and staff have a strong image of making the new library a people place. Not just a warehouse for books. The challenge for us, as architects, is to live up to their n expectation. “I hope the library wows people not overwhelms them. I hope it gives people a sense of awe and a sense of comfort,” said Handy.
To create such a building requires a sensitive blend of ideas from clients, such as the library board, and Handy’s own dreams. “An architect has to be a bit of a dreamer. A practical dreamer, because at some point the dream and reality have to come together,” he said. And often this union of dream and reality takes place when Handy is jogging through the streets of Barrie. It is at that time Handy admires local architecture and the beauty that Barrie has to offer. “I have always liked Barrie. It certainly has a lifestyle. You can comprehend the whole community and you don’t get lost within it. It is not a part of something else, like Ajax or Pickering is part of Toronto. “Rush hour here means five minutes instead of three and if the car doesn’t work I can ride my bike to work in 10 minutes.” Handy believes Barrie is one of the prettiest towns in Southern Ontario with the lake, parks and hills. Yet, he says Barrie has no sense of itself in terms of its architecture. He believes that will come with maturity.
One building Handy would love to get his hands on is the vacant General Tire plant. “That building really is an eyesore. It’s so visual and has big impact on people coming into Barrie. “It has so much potential. I see the opportunity for it to become a real palace.” Handy also believes strongly in downtown Barrie. As a member of the downtown board and the Streetscape and Facade Committee, Handy can see the popularity of downtown increasing as consumers demand a shopping experience. “I believe very strongly in the heart of a city. The heart determines the soul, of the city – strong heart, strong city.” Yet, with all his desire to create unique and comforting buildings Handy’s passion is the outdoors. “I’d rather spend time at the waterfront or in Sunnidale Park than in any building in Barrie,” said Handy.
Source: The Barrie Examiner