Ur­ban Up­date

Six projects el­e­vat­ing the city’s cul­tural pro­file BY SARA CUN­NING­HAM

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Six projects putting a fresh spin on sea­soned city spa­ces BY SARA CUN­NING­HAM

1 DUE PROGRESS Paris, New York and now, Hog­town. The new Toronto Court­house is the first project in Canada for the cel­e­brated Renzo Pi­ano Build­ing Work­shop, whose re­sume boasts cul­tural land­marks like the Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou and The New York Times Build­ing. Lo­cated on

10 Ar­moury Street, just north of City Hall, the build­ing’s 20-me­tre-tall atrium is en­closed by a highly trans­par­ent, glazed fa­cade that will cre­ate con­tin­ued di­a­logue with the city. An­other in­clu­sive fea­ture is a new learn­ing cen­tre, where stu­dents delve into in­dige­nous his­tory and the in­tri­ca­cies of the On­tario jus­tice sys­tem.


2 MINK FOR MILES When your neigh­bours are Her­mès and Louis Vuit­ton, look­ing good is a rai­son d’être. Ac­cord­ingly, the Man­ulife Cen­tre, first com­pleted in 1974, is un­der­go­ing a grandiose mid-life makeover care of B+H, in as­so­ci­a­tion with MDEAS ar­chi­tects. The trans­for­ma­tion calls for a chic glass wrap­around fa­cade at street level that con­nects with the ex­ist­ing aes­thetic. Retro pre­cast con­crete ac­cents, like the tower’s dis­tinct con­i­cal shape, will thank­fully stay in fo­cus. Mean­while, the Gian­none Pet­ri­cone-de­signed Eataly, an up­scale

4,645-square-me­tre Ital­ian mar­ket­place and restau­rant, will join a slew of glitzy new store­fronts. MANULIFECENTRE.CA

3 CAS­TLE IN THE SKY The late Amer­i­can artist and fur­ni­ture-maker Wen­dell Cas­tle – dash­ing in bow tie, oval-rimmed glasses and fur col­lar – beams in front of his sculp­ture, “Full Moon” (1988), at the cor­ner of Yonge and Bloor. The six-me­tre-tall clock, cre­ated for Ham­mer­son Canada, acts as an arch­way, time-teller and meet­ing place for cu­ri­ous passersby. Since his death ear­lier this year, the post-modern odd­ity has be­come a me­mo­rial to Cas­tle’s func­tional art, from his in­no­va­tive moulded plas­tic Mo­lar chairs (1969) to genre-bend­ing carved wood fur­ni­ture that en­gages walls and floors at once.


4 BENTO TOW­ERS Celebri­ties tee­ter­ing on the red car­pet at TIFF will be steps away from Nobu, the lux­ury ho­tel, res­i­dence and restau­rant by the epony­mous Ja­panese chef. Sit­u­ated on Mercer Street, two mir­ror-im­age, 49-storey tow­ers will soar above the for­mer Pilk­ing­ton Glass Fac­tory in con­trast with the Art Deco her­itage build­ing below. Chief ar­chi­tect Stephen Teeple likens Nobu’s sil­hou­ette, over­laid with a slant­ing grid pat­tern, to a “tun­ing fork in the sky.” The per­fo­rated black alu­minum frame and tinted bronze win­dows are sure to res­onate with passersby. An­other lo­cal tal­ent, Stu­dio Munge, brings a slat­ted wood podium – wrapped around a wish-grant­ing-look­ing pond – to a cen­tral ter­race vis­i­ble only from suites on high. NOBURESIDENCES.CA

5 SOUND GAR­DEN While it looks like the oys­ter shell Bot­ti­celli painted for Venus, Lime­light Band­shell by Paul Raff Stu­dio is more rock ‘n’ roll than Ital­ian Re­nais­sance. In­stalled in Lee Life­son Art Park in North York, the steel sculp­ture is de­signed to make noise. Tak­ing its name from a hit Rush song, “Lime­light,” the band­shell has a par­a­bolic shape (a riff on coastal sound mir­rors from the 30s that helped English mil­i­tary guards de­tect airstrikes) that con­cen­trates and re­flects sound. Ringed by the park’s am­phithe­atre seat­ing, the art­work be­comes the fo­cal point for open-air con­certs. To com­plete the look, glass mo­saic tiles re­flect and ab­sorb light, al­most like cam­era flashes from a noc­tur­nal au­di­ence. PAULRAFFSTUDIO.COM

6 ISLA BONITA If you can’t find At­lantis, make one your­self. And so, Water­front Toronto is creat­ing a thriv­ing mixed-use com­mu­nity, Vil­liers Is­land, at a newly formed mouth of the Don River. Over the next seven years, the multi-step Port Lands Flood Pro­tec­tion project, spear­headed by land­scape ar­chi­tects Michael Van Valken­burgh As­so­ciates, will de­velop the area with bustling pub­lic parks, wet­lands and en­tic­ing tracts of shore­line, all while pro­tect­ing the Lower Don Lands from fu­ture flood­ing. Ac­ces­si­ble to Toron­to­ni­ans and is­land dwellers alike, the isle will be dot­ted with re­stored her­itage build­ings that nod to the Port Land’s in­dus­trial past, plus recre­ational spots for ev­ery­thing from kite-fly­ing to in-line skat­ing. WATERFRONTTORONTO.CA




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