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The Questionnaire: The architects revitalizing Toronto’s long-suffering waterfront

The lakefront is being redefined by world-class talent. Meet three of the visionaries leading the way

The Questionnaire: The architects revitalizing Toronto's long-suffering waterfront
Claude Cormier

Founding principal, Claude Cormier et Associés

Current waterfront projects: Love Park, Leslie Lookout Park Dream job as a kid: “Genetics and plant breeding. I wanted to invent a flower.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “When I was younger, people said I looked like Bryan Adams.” If you could have one superpower: “Unlimited energy.” Guilty pleasure: “Poutine.” Project you’re most proud of:The Ring in Montreal. It looks simple, but it’s structurally and thematically complex.” Favourite Toronto building: “Massey College at U of T.” Architects you admire: “Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron because of their inventiveness and clarity of design.” Your job requires… “Drive, persistence, confidence and vision.” Biggest success: “Learning to identify good ideas and sell them.” Hardest part of your day: “Airports, airplanes and endless delays.” Biggest regret: “That it took this long for our firm to get to where it is.” Love Park and Leslie Lookout Park are special because... “Converting post-industrial spaces into places people enjoy is pretty amazing.” You want to make the waterfront more… “Whimsical and humorous and fun.”


The Questionnaire: The architects revitalizing Toronto's long-suffering waterfront
Alison Brooks

Principal and creative director, Alison Brooks Architects

Current waterfront project: Quayside Dream job as a kid: “Veterinarian. Animals have an intelligence that humans can’t understand.” If you could have one superpower: “Teleportation. I’d save so much time.” The coolest thing in your office: “Some neat building models and vintage Eames chairs.” Great public spaces are... “About diversity of architecture. There’s nothing worse than a monoculture.” Favourite Toronto building: “I love the pods at Ontario Place. I actually got married there.” Project you’re most proud of: “The Cohen Quadrangle at Oxford. The school wants it to last at least 400 years.” Architect you admire: “Louis Sullivan. He believed that architecture involves both intuition and training.” Your dream project: “Public educational buildings are ideal—architecture as a community service.” Your job requires… “Stamina, imagination and versatility.” Biggest success: “Winning the Stirling Prize in 2008.” Quayside is special because... “It’s a new mix of uses—from affordable housing to workshops to urban farms.” You want to make the waterfront more… “Welcoming, permeable and inclusive.”


The Questionnaire: The architects revitalizing Toronto's long-suffering waterfront
Gary McCluskie

Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects

Current waterfront project: Ontario Place Dream job as a kid: “Hockey player.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “Alec Baldwin, though he’s had a bad time recently.” If you could have one superpower: “The ability to extend time. I want to do more during the day.” Great public spaces are… “Filled with people doing things together.” Project you’re most proud of: “David Geffen Hall for the New York Philharmonic. It’s been seven years of work.” Favourite Toronto building: “City hall. The iconography of cupping hands communicates that idea of gathering.” Architect you admire: “Frank Lloyd Wright. His buildings are amazing.” Your dream project: “Both Geffen Hall and Ontario Place are dream projects!” Your job requires… “Listening, to hear what our clients need and what our collaborators can bring.” Hardest part of your day: “Leaving the office! There are always things I just want to keep working on.” Ontario Place is special because... “There will be year-round activities, perfect for holidays.” You want to make the waterfront more… “Resilient. A generational upgrade will make it a great place to visit once again.”

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