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Gehry unveils reworked Toronto skyscraper scheme

[FIRST LOOK] Frank Gehry has revealed re-worked plans for a mixed use skyscraper scheme in his hometown of Toronto in Canada

The controversial skyscraper scheme, which sits in Toronto’s arts district, had previously been slammed by the local planners, who are yet to approve the plans.

The revised scheme sees the number of towers reduced to two, where previously there had been three, while also retaining existing warehouses and a historic theatre that had been set for demolition.

The re-worked project now includes two six-storey stepped podiums topped with two residential towers standing at 82 and 92-storeys tall.

Speaking to the local press, Gehry said: ‘Three towers gave the scheme a sculptural quality. With two, it ain’t there. But now I think it’s more Toronto. I wanted to give it a sense of dignity. Many towers lack a sense of dignity, not just in Toronto but all over the world. They’re just tours de force standing alone. I was looking for different kind of body language. I was looking for dignity.’

The mixed-use scheme, which is the vision of David Mirvish, founder of Mirvish Productions, will also include 7,900m² of retail space, 10,680m² of office space, and an 840m² art gallery.

Aimed at boosting the Canadian city’s arts district, the project also includes a 2,300m² facility for the Ontario College of Art and Design. The building will contain studios, seminar rooms, gallery facilities, a public theatre, and a lecture hall.

Gehry's revised scheme for Toronto's art district

Gehry’s revised scheme for Toronto’s art district

Previous story (AJ 05.10.13)

Gehry unveils Canadian arts district concept

Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry has revealed details of a mixed-use scheme to boost the Canadian city’s arts district

The multi-year, multi-phase project will include new cultural, residential and retail spaces on a site next to the city’s historic Royal Alexandra Theatre. 

It is the vision of David Mirvish, founder of Mirvish Productions, which was set up in 1986 to produce shows at the neighbouring theatre.

The scheme will include a 5,500m² Mirvish Collection museum and a multi-floor facility for OCAD University.

Conceptual design consists of two six-storey stepped podiums, topped by three residential towers, ranging 80 to 85 storeys. 

Gehry said: ‘It is very special for me to be able to work in Toronto where I was born and to engage the neighbourhoods where I grew up. 

‘It’s especially interesting that this project involves the arts. That is always meaningful to me.  With this project, I wanted to create buildings that were good neighbours to the surrounding buildings and that respected the rich and diverse history of the area. 

‘I also wanted to make nice places for the people who live in and visit the buildings. David has an exciting vision, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.’

The site occupies the block between John Street and Ed Mirvish Way and a portion of the block between Ed Mirvish Way and the Royal Alexandra Theatre. It consists of six properties owned by the Mirvish family. 

As part of the plan, the Princess of Wales Theatre, owned and operated by Mirvish Productions, will be replaced along with adjacent warehouses. 

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