Architecture news: Letter from Canada
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Rotman School of Managment by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg
The Toronto firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg is one of the few firms in North America to design and deliver large buildings at a consistently high level of quality. This academic project for the University of Toronto is a case in point: it fits a large bulk of research and event space into a complex inner-city campus - partly by going below ground in a bravura piece of spatial manipulation. The tailored facade of grey glass and zinc panels reflects KPMB's taste for subtle manipulation of materials, while a grand stair inside provides social space, circulation and poetry in one stroke.
www.kpmb.com (opens in new tab)
Telus Sky by BIG
This 58-storey tower, planned for the centre of downtown Calgary, Alberta, will add to the sophistication of a small city being reshaped by oil wealth. Bjarke Ingels Group, with the Canadian architects DIALOG, are designing an irregularly-shaped tower whose bulky lower half is filled with LEED Platinum (opens in new tab) office space, and slimmer top half by luxury apartments. This will join the Bow Building, a recent tower by Foster and Partners just a block away.
www.big.dk (opens in new tab)
Gillett Student Commons by Teeple Architects
Toronto's Teeple Architects have carved out an unusual path in Canada, favouring highly sculptural - and tightly executed - buildings for commercial and institutional clients. The Gillett Student Commons at Ottawa's Algonquin College is a case in point: clad in galvanized aluminum, its folded forms provide a gathering point for a relatively placeless campus. A strong list of sustainability strategies take it to meet a LEED Gold standard.
www.teeplearch.com (opens in new tab)
Ryerson University Image Centre by Diamond Schmitt Architects
Ryerson University, located in the centre of Toronto's downtown, scored a coup with an anonymous donation of the entire archives of the Black Star photojournalism agency. This spurred the renovation of a building for the school's Image Centre - with an archive, research space, event space and a new public gallery. Toronto's Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. took a characterless industrial building and made it more urbane - by glazing the facades and connecting it to a nearby square. They have also added a series of LED lighting panels across much of the exterior, which produce constantly shifting colours that have a dramatic visual impact. A smartphone app allows students or passersby to alter the colour pattern, making the bulk of the building somewhat interactive.
Mirvish + Gehry tower
Frank Gehry, who has made his career and life in Southern California, was actually born and reared in Toronto. Yet, aside from one large gallery renovation, he has never worked in that city. This project by the local arts figure and developer David Mirvish will remedy this in striking fashion. Gehry is designing a complex with three residential towers - at over 80 storeys each and among the tallest in Toronto - that draw on the varied formal vocabulary of his past highrise designs. It would also include a shopping mall, academic space and a new museum for Mirvish's own notable collection of colour field painting. The project's future is not assured, because of its bulk and the fact that it would demolish several protected heritage buildings, but it would be Gehry's largest-ever built project and among North America's most important tall buildings.
www.foga.com (opens in new tab)
Edmonton Eskimos Field House and Commonwealth Community Recretation Centre by MJMA
This athletic facility in the western city of Edmonton combines community uses with those of the professional Canadian Football League team, the Edmonton Eskimos. Maclennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, specialists in instutitional buildings, carved dramatic forms and patterns, working with locals HIP Architects. www.mjmarchitects.com
Newmarket Centre by Superkül
The small Toronto office Superkül springs from KPMB - principals Meg Graham and Andre D'Elia both worked there - and they share a finesse in working with ordinary wood and steel. Here, Superkül reorganized and renovated a 20,000 sq-ft athletic centre in the Toronto suburb of Newmarket, making a civic gesture with a new glazed entrance and a boldly patterned facade in painted galvanized prefinished steel panels and oiled ipe.
superkul.ca (opens in new tab)
Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).
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By Shawn Adams • Last updated
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Architecture News: Letter from Canada
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