David Mirvish, founder of Mirvish Productions, and Toronto-born starchitect Frank Gehry have officially unveiled a massive, mixed-use project that will transform Toronto’s downtown arts and entertainment district. The multi-phase project will significantly alter the city’s skyline with three, “sculptural” residential towers perched atop two, six story podiums.
Mirvish describes, “I am not building three towers, I am building three sculptures that people can live in.”
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The towers are inspired by Mirvish’s family history, as he describes, “This area was transformed 50 years ago after my father purchased the Royal Alexandra Theatre, and this project will continue the theatre’s future and transform the neighborhood again for the next 50 years. I am proud that we can continue this legacy that my father began.”
“It is very special for me to be able to work in Toronto where I was born and to engage the neighborhoods where I grew up,” added Gehry, as reported on Dexigner. “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 neighbors 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 Mirvish/Gehry proposal will transform a significant stretch of King West between the Royal Alex Theater and John Street. Two, stepped podiums, relating to the scale of the surrounding context, will serve as a pedestal for the 80+ storey, “iconic” towers. They will house a 60,000-square-foot, non profit gallery that showcases Mirvish’s personal contemporary art collection, along with a new OCAD University facility that will front King Street West.
The casualty of the proposal is the existing, 1993 Princess of Wales Theatre.
Mirvish explained, “If there were a way of completing this project without removing the Princess of Wales Theatre, we would have followed it. But after careful consideration and many different plans, I decided not giving Gehry a full canvas on which to work would have meant compromises that would have lessened the power of the project.”
Both Mirvish and Gehry readily pointed out that the conceptual models do not necessarily represent the final project as it will eventually be built.
Mirvish and Gehry’s next step depends on City approval.