by Dilpreet BhullarMar 09, 2021
Updated visuals for the Gehry Project have been revealed, where a set of metallic, twin skyscrapers emerge at the cultural intersection of King Street West and Ed Mirvish Way in downtown Toronto, Canada. One of the most acclaimed architects of the century, Frank Gehry has designed the boxy, stacked towers, albeit in a much subdued fashion, when compared to his characteristic, bold fabrications. According to Gehry, who was born in Toronto and is now based in LA, the redesigned skin, clad in a variety of energy efficient materials, pedestals the project as an instant landmark for the city.
The design has undergone various revisions since its approval in 2017, and the latest one was unveiled by Great Gulf, Westdale Properties and Dream Unlimited on February 9, 2021, at a community meeting organised by the City of Toronto. On completion, the west tower will become the tallest Gehry-designed building in the world. The mixed-use building programme will include new spaces for Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD University), as well as for commercial, hotel, retail, art galleries and residential use.
“With this project, I wanted to create an ensemble of buildings that were respectful to the city and referential to the Toronto that I once knew. I wanted the two towers to each have their own personality, but I also wanted them to talk to each other, creating a dynamic and changing addition to the skyline depending where you were viewing them from in the city,” says Frank Gehry.
The initial design was envisioned as a set of three skyscrapers, and the first iteration in 2013 saw them being linked by a ribbon like exterior, in a more Gehry fashion. The updates now include edits to the overall massing and intent of the Gehry Project, which will be brought to the Committee of Adjustment for approval, a package of which was submitted for review in December 2020. The towers are now estimated to reach a height of 304 meters and 266 meters each.
“The detailing of the exterior is intended to give the buildings a human scale and hopefully reflect the light and colour from the city and the sky around it. In the end, this should be a building of Toronto that I hope will make the city proud,” adds Gehry.
Gehry Project’s height and density were approved earlier and the current design maintains the same, following the zoning by-law amendment. The podiums are enhanced, the stacked form has façades clad in textured metal and glass while the floor plates in both towers will offer brilliant vantage points to view the stunning skyline of the metropolis. “The changes to the podium incorporate the façade of the heritage Anderson Building which was built in 1915, while respecting the views of both the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre, which bookend the project,” states the joint press announcement by the developers.
According to the developers, the intersection where the towers will be anchored is touted to become “Toronto’s centre for arts, culture and theatre”. The cultural corridor along Ed Mirvish Way will perform as a gateway to the project’s location, as well as a hub of public activity for the King Street West neighbourhood, the Entertainment District and beyond.
“This will be the most talked about mixed-use development in the history of Toronto and we are thrilled to meet with the public to share the design updates of an unprecedented architectural project,” says Mitchell Cohen, Chief Operating Officer of Westdale Properties. “This project represents a coming home for Frank Gehry to the city he loves and will be one of his most significant architectural achievements. He is the heart and soul of the project and it has been an honour working with him and his team,” he concludes.