Archives of Ontario building rises fast in time-lapsed YouTube videos

It usually takes a while to build a three-storey, 290,000-square-foot podium building and a seven-storey research tower, but it doesn’t look that way watching one of the three time-lapsed videos posted on YouTube of the new Archives of Ontario building going up at the Keele campus.

The Show So Far

A small camera perched in the window of one of the offices in the Schulich School of Business has been quietly capturing the ongoing construction of the new building, expected to be complete by March 2009.

"We actually started doing this when the Accolade East Building was going up," says John Briggs, manager of the Instructional Technology Centre at York. "The shot ended, however, with the east wall going up. So we thought, ‘Oh let’s try it again’."

Probability of Precipitation

This time there wasn’t a premature wall obscuring the view of the emerging building and Briggs was struck with a bolt of creative inspiration. While several recent snow storms rallied and raged outside his home, Briggs crafted three separate videos – the first is 97-second, fair weather video showing the building’s progress from the start, titled The Show So Far, the second is a 114-second, foul weather look at the same period, Probability of Precipitation, while the third is a 96-second video of duelling cranes from the earliest days, titled Battle Cranes.

"I took the tapes and edited out all the night times and cloudy days for the first one, but I saved the cloudy and bad weather days and made another video with them. In the early days, we had this tape of just the cranes, so I made a kids’ movie with some of the sounds from the movie Star Wars," says Briggs, adding, "It was a rather fun pursuit."

Battle Cranes

The Archives of Ontario liked the idea so much it have decided to stream the action of the building being constructed onto a 37-inch screen in its Toronto lobby and through a link on its Web site. Anyone visiting the archives can watch the progress being made, albeit in real, rather than time-lapsed time. They also decided to make their own videos.

Construction of the Archives of Ontario’s new home at York University’s Keele campus began in the spring of 2007. The building will be an integrated, multi-use three-storey, 290,000-square-foot podium building that will house the archives, an expanded retail space and will incorporate access to the new subway. A seven-storey research tower, to be set back on the building’s podium, will contain an additional 120,000 square feet of academic and research space.