What it is: A major renovation of OCAD U’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. The building, currently offices, would be transformed into a study and exhibition space with street-facing LED displays to project student artwork out through its windows.
Pedigree: The architect is Bortolotto, a firm that has done a lot of post-secondary and institutional work. Its past clients include U of T and the City of Toronto.
Most promising feature: The existing building has a blank, conventional façade that doesn’t add much to the corner. This design, with its curving, patterned aluminum exterior, seems as though it would do a much better job of complementing the two architectural landmarks across the street: Will Alsop’s Sharp Centre for Design and Frank Gehry’s Art Gallery of Ontario.
Risk factor: Like a lot of post-secondary capital projects, this one is being funded by donations. Rosalie and Isadore Sharp have already put up $3 million toward the estimated $6 million in costs, but OCAD U is still in the process of raising money.
Likely opposition: It’s hard to imagine there being much resistance to this project, because it’s not interfering with anything people are likely to miss. The existing structure doesn’t look great and has no real civic importance beyond the bike racks underneath its colonnade.
The odds: Getting variances and permits from the city should be no problem, since the design makes use of the existing structure and doesn’t add much height or density. If the university wants this to happen, it will happen.
9 thoughts on “Here’s what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul”
anyone know why Alsop hasn’t done any additional work in toronto?
Yes! Do it!
because we are all repressed boors
He designed two new subway stations for the TTC which will open soon–Finch West and Pioneer Village. The architecture is quite promising for Pioneer Village. Finch West was bold originally, but recent renderings show more sedate concrete finishes.
Alsop also designed a proposed condo development called Alaska Condos. It’s in the planning phase, but the first design got a lot of opposition from NIMBYs who said it didn’t fit in with their midtown neighbourhood.
Embracing creative and sophisticated architecture like that of Will Alsop will make the city a more attractive place to live. Alaska Condos’ first design was the kind of sophisticated and attractive contemporary design that would have made the neighbourhood (and city) better.
thanks for the info!
the more Alsop we have, the nice the city would be. IMO
A breath of fresh air amidst the steady stream of cookie-cutter condos. Toronto risks becoming permanently ugly and boring.
I love it! I love the new filigree facade of OCAD U’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion. I hope that surrounding building renovate or build anew with similar artistic treasures that are not taller than the AGO museum. Dundas / McCaul area already has many artsy-spaces. Nearby on Kensington, small restaurants cater to artsy types. That neighbourhood could become a more concentrated flourishing Art-Village.
Indeed, the condos shooting up all around look mostly like boxy warehouses ~warehousing people in the sky. They don’t realize that more beautiful sculptural buildings also attract local and foreign visitors and dollars. (See Barcelona) The Absolute (Curvy) Towers in Mrs.ssauga, should have been built near the AGO!
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Alsop is notoriously poor at business management. His Toronto office (opened after the OCAD project comission) was a victim of one of his many firm restructurings and mergers. His current firm, aLL Design, has offices in only London and Chongqing, China. Without a physical presence in Toronto, the number of potential clients willing to deal with the logistical issues of hiring and working with a foreign architect, regardless of talent, is limited.
Coincidentally, the successor to the original Alsop Architects (based in the UK) eventually morphed into Architel after he left and that firm is now linked with Toronto based NORR Architects & Planners, a large international design firm.
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