Building Frank Gehry's Next Masterpiece
Frank Gehry's making a homecoming with Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, the first towers he’s designed in the city where he grew up, a dazzling duo we're told will dance on the downtown skyline. Projectcore president Peter Kofman explains.
Peter, snapped at the Projectcore office on the Mirvish+Gehry Toronto site, says his team will soon seek site plan approval. The design has evolved significantly since it was first unveiled in 2012; the initial proposal was for three super-tall towers—95, 90 and 85 floors (3M SF total)—and the demo’ing of the Princess of Wales Theatre. The revamped design features two towers—92 and 82 storeys, with 1,950 residential units—plus an art gallery for the Mirvish Collection and an OCAD University facility. It also preserves the theatre, as well as the entire historic Eclipse Whitewear Building, and Anderson Building facade.
Jettisoning one of the towers transformed Mirvish+Gehry Toronto from a commercial-retail-entertainment project into a living-cultural development that Peter says will be an Entertainment District focal point. “The intent is to get as much life on the street as we possibly can.” Each tower will have one facade that's all glass (the south side of the west tower, the north side of the east), giving the impression the towers are rotating or dancing with each other. "We’re trying to create art in the exterior of the building. We wanted to do something that would stand out."
Two six-storey podiums will house multi-level retail—restaurants, cafes, prepared foods grocer—as well as OCAD University’s Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts, and a 10k SF Mirvish Collection gallery (David Mirvish is a project partner). Ed Mirvish Way, running through the site, will be turned into Ed Mirvish Square, a public event space between the two towers. Peter says he’s been getting lots of calls from businesses interested in locating at Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, including overseas retailers that “don’t know much about Toronto but want to be associated with this. They want to be tied to a city landmark.”