The Grange Hotel: Everyday Leisure in the Grange Neighbourhood
Kwak, Dongkyu Dan
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The modern metropolis offers a wide variety of experiences to enrich our everyday life. Beyond meeting our daily needs, such a rich and diverse city is a complex system of urban phenomena that also satisfies our need for creating meaningful experience. Rapid urbanization and the confusion of meaning it creates in our existence, as well as the ensuing proliferation of corporate urban spectacles replacing deeper civic meanings of rooted urban traditions, depreciate the quality of lived experience and the modest entertainment in our contemporary life in the city. The thesis is about capturing and exposing the singular moments of urban leisure experience in Toronto’s Grange neighbourhood from the binary perspectives of both the local (as a resident) and the stranger (as a visitor). The research undertakes the dérive, a Situationist strategy, for examining the definition of local authenticity and the subjective perception of urban spaces. By juxtaposing the perceptions of the local and the stranger, as noted above, the thesis attempts to obscure the border between normative urban reality and imaginative fantasy. This mediation seeks to reveal the subliminal layer of absurdity already intrinsic within the existing urban context, that is, a layer suitable for procuring surreal situations in our everyday leisure. The Grange Hotel is a symbolic alibi for an architectural fiction by serving as a conceptual context of a mediation between the local and the stranger. Common places dispersed across the Grange neighbourhood are détourned from their original urban expectations, being redefined as an indeterminate narrative of surreal moments and absurd situations. By inducing the notion of meta-architecture similar to that found in the texts of surrealists, the significant moments of urban experience can be retranslated into new psychological plots for scripting another dimension of the absurd reality within those common places. The thesis proposes to provoke a different mode of how we perceive and experience the typical urban spaces in the Grange neighbourhood.