Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario is considered one of the most Cosmopolitan cities in Canada and in the world, because of its multicultural roots, this makes it a perfect place to visit for architects, because of the cultural heritage and the diversity of the city itself, up next we show you 15 places architects must visit in Toronto!
1. The sharp centre for design.
An extension to the Ontario college of art and design, is a must see. This 12 legs building elevates 26 meters above the city, this extension was performed by English architect Will Alsop in 2004. Though some may prefer a more classical design for an academic institution, this building has a unique character. The boldness of the design makes it one of a kind, definitely a most see in Toronto.
2. The royal Ontario museum
The royal Ontario Museum and its 2007 extension designed by architect Daniel Libeskind is an Icon of Toronto, is the largest museum in Canada. The unique way that the existing building interlocks with the expansion is a wonder of contemporary architecture, providing 100,000 sq. feet of exhibition space, this expansion presented a challenge for builders, there are no right angles and it’s a self-supporting structure.
3. Cn tower
The CN tower with its 553.33m tall, a telecommunications hub was designed by the Canadian firm WZMH Architects and completed in 1976, considered the world’s tallest free-standing structure for over 32 years, until 2007 replaced by the Burj Khalifa.
It’s one of the most visited places in Ontario; the tower provides a 360 view of the city from several spaces inside the tower.
4. Baps shri Swaminarayan Mandir
The first Canada’s Hindu place for worship,promoted by his holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj leader of the BAPS, with a design organized with a typical Hindu temple. Built with hand carved marble, limestone and sandstone assembled without steel structure, around 24,000 pieces of stone Assembled in 18 months inaugurated in 2007, it’s a complex dedicated to celebrate Hindu culture in Canada and the world. Among the beauties of this building you will see the Haveli an intricate hand-carved in teak wood foyer with hand carved statues where musicians and dancer receive the visitor, also you can visit the heritage museum, over 10,000 years of history of the Hindu culture, art and contribution to the world.
5. Art gallery of Toronto
Founded in 1900 by citizens of Toronto and established in its present place in 1911 is one of the largest art museums in North America, the AGO has a rich amount of masterpieces from Claude Monet to Vincent van Gogh and a wide collection of Canadian art. The Gallery has gone through several expansions and transformation, the most known by the famous architect Frank O. Gehry in 2000, the renewed area open to the public in November 2008, showing new ideas of how art and space can connect with people, because this and a lot more is a need to visit.
6. Evergreen brickworks
Originally known as the Don Valley brickworks a factory dedicated to produce the bricks that build Toronto, after closing its doors in the 1980s all that was left was crumbling buildings and a damage ecosystem. The journey to transform this space started in 2002 by evergreen a Canadian environmental charity with the idea to build an ecological center with a social enterprise, the design and construction was a joint venture between Du Toit Allsopp Hiller Architects and Diamond and Schmitt Architects who developed in what it is now, the first large-scale community environmental centre in Canada.
7. Nathan Phillips square
The fore court of the Toronto city hall, with an area of 12 acres is the Canada’s largest city square designed by the Finnish architect Viljo Revell open to the public in 1965, an icon of modernist architecture along with the city hall. Place for art installations, several festivals during the year, ice skating on the square reflecting pool during the winter and a vibrant space in Toronto and worth visiting.
8. Toronto city hall
Is the house of the municipal government of Toronto, Ontario, designed in 1961 by the architect Viljo Revell, Inaugurated in September 13 of 1965. Consisting of two curved towers of different heights, the east tower with 27 stories and the west tower has 20 stories. Between the two buildings, with a circular shape, is the council of chambers. TheCouncil of Chambers is supported by a single massive column that elevates the volume ofthe design. Even when the building is not open it is worth the stop to appreciate its form.Visitors can view the interior every year during an event called “doors open Toronto”when several floors of the building are open to the public. This event occurs during themonth of May, so if you’re lucky you’ll get to see the interior configuration.
9. Queen Richmond centre west
This 320,000 s.f. complex is the result of the bold idea to preserve the industrial heritage of the city integrating two historic buildings with a new office block constructed above.
Designed by another Canadian architectural firm Sweeny & Co. the beautiful way they integrate the two buildings with a stunning 75 –foot public glass atrium it’s a perfect and elegant way to unify architecture, new and old. A LEED certified with gold level sustainable design there is a lot to learn from its configuration.
10. Aga Khan Museum
“Light as Inspiration” was the design approach that Fumihiko Maki, the architect winner of thePritzker prize (1993), used for the Aga Khan. This unique museum is dedicated to Islamic art and culture by the initiative of the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim. The project started in 2010 and was finished in 2014. The museum exhibits had received international acclaim, showing the religious and intellectual aspects of the Islamic culture and also their contributions tothe world. Placed in a 100 meter wide garden, a modern interpretation of an Islamic courtyard the charbaag, it’s another great example of the multicultural heritage that Canada is proud of.
11. The Ismaili centre Toronto
If you are already in the area of the Aga Khan museum you need to visit the Ismaili centre across the garden. The center incorporates spaces for spiritual reflection and for social and cultural gatherings. It was designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa between 2008 and 2014. The most distinctive features of the space is it’s curved courtyard which receives you in a peaceful and organic way and the beautiful glass dome located in theprayer hall. It is best to book your tour of the interior of the Ismaili Centre before going to walk the garden so you can be sure you won’t miss any part of this architecturalmasterpiece.
12. Distillery historic district
Originally founded in 1832 as the Gooderham & Worts, was the largest distillery in the world. Designated in 1988 as a national historic site and from 2001 to 2003 the refurbishment started for this 47 Victorian industrial type buildings under the name of the Distillery historic district, became the house where artist, artisans and entrepreneurs could flourish together. But what would you find inside these13 acres cultural an historic site? First the incredible restoration of the buildings, the mix between Victorian architecture and 21st century design also a place full of art galleries, in short the richest site in history, culture in Toronto.
13. Kensington Market
As architects we love to understand the culture of a city, what makes it unique? Well, then you need to visit Kensington market. Located in the heart of Toronto downtown, an area full of eclectic shops, art galleries, organic fruits markets; where you can see the different approach to design and architecture, from the original Victorian architecture to the contemporary refurbishments, from the 1800s to now this historic site (designated in 2006) needs to be in your to do list, a landmark of this area is the garden car a reclamation of a series of abandoned cars into gardens right on the street.
14. Roy Thomson hall
Designed by Canadian architects Arthur Erickson and Mathers and Haldenby open 1982, this 2,812 seater concert hall with its characteristic slope curvilineal exterior façade it’s another symbol of Toronto. In 2015 the hall north patio was open to public with more than 650 accommodations for free concerts. But why to visit this concert hall? well it is another example of the modern type Canadian architecture, also it’s all about culture and learning of the city.
15. Gardiner museum
It’s one of the few museums dedicated to ceramics in the world, the house of around 4,000 objects from China, Europe, the Americas and contemporary ceramics. In 2004 the museum closed temporarily for a major expansion, originally designed by Canadian architect Keith Wagland and under this premise the architectural firm Kuwabara Payne Mckenna Blumberg added more exhibition space, educational areas, a new dining and special events area, opening in 2006 the building and new expansion received critical acclaim as one of the most beautiful buildings in Toronto.
Carlos Maradiaga is an architect/ artist, interested in the relationship between architecture and it’s users, firmly believing that architecture can cause positive or negative effects in its enviroment and in the human being around it, understanding the spiritual role that spaces provide.