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Monday, August 18, 2014

Gehry scales back Canadian skyscraper scheme to be "more Toronto"

News: Frank Gehry has unveiled yet another reworked design for the proposed skyscraper complex in his home city of Toronto, reducing the number of towers from three to two.

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
View from the north

Gehry, 84, came under fire from planning authorities last year after revealing his last proposal for the gallery and university complex,
which involved demolishing the existing Princess of Wales Theatre at
King Street West and building a trio of 82-86-storey skyscrapers.

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
View from the south

The California-based architect, who grew up in the Canadian city, has
now responded by scaling back the proposal, allowing the theatre to
remain in place. The towers are taller, with one extended up to 92
storeys, but there will now only be two instead of three.

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
View from the west

"Three towers gave the scheme a sculptural quality," Gehry told the Toronto Star. "With two, it ain't there. But now I think it's more Toronto."

"I wanted to give it a sense of dignity," he continued. "Many towers
lack a sense of dignity, not just in Toronto but all over the world.
They're just tours de force standing alone. I was looking for a
different kind of body language. I was looking for dignity."

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
View from the southwest

The revised complex, commissioned by art collector David Mirvish,
also retains two of the four existing warehouses on the site located
in the centre of Toronto's entertainment district.

The new towers will be positioned over a pair of six-storey podiums
and are designed to recreate the gently undulating forms of the
architect's Dancing House in Prague.

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
View from the east

"One sentinel is on the south, one is on the north. In one fell swoop, I found our sense of dignity," Gehry told the Star.

"Fred and Ginger grew up and moved to Toronto," he joked. "In a way, two towers feel better. It's not so crowded."

Toronto skyscraper complex by Frank Gehry
The King Street West complex will also include a large art gallery and a learning centre for OCAD University's art history and curatorial courses. These will be accompanied by shops, restaurants, offices and apartments.

Gehry presented his first proposal for the site in 2012. Despite objections from the city's planning department, the proposed heights remained unchanged when he revised the scheme a year later.

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