This is one of several articles covering the October 1, 2012 announcement of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, a condo and culture complex proposed for King Street West in Toronto. The buildings would replace white-painted mid-rise brick warehouse/office conversions and the 1993-built Princess of Wales Theatre. In place of the theatre, the project proposes a new campus for OCAD University, an OCADU gallery, a 'Mirvish Collection' gallery for David and Audrey Mirvish's significant collection of modern art, and new shops to support the residents both above as well as the growing downtown community as a whole. All of this is meant to create a vibrant, engaging streetscape above which three landmark towers in the 80-storey range will rise. 

We sat down with noted American abstract artist Frank Stella whose work graces the Princess of Wales Theatre.

The announcement that the Princess of Wales will eventually come down has people worried about your art in there.

That's truly the smallest hurdle that this project is facing! But you know, Frank Gehry is so good at these things, at everything really - they have a whole department that takes care of taking things down and preserving them - I don't think there's anything in the Princess of Wales worth saving that we won't be able to save, putting it bluntly. There's a lot of stuff that's basically reproductions; digital reproductions of billboards plastered on the walls. You could take them off, but I don't think it's really worth it.

What would you save?

I would just take out the things that are not reproductions, although there are castings at the end of the aisles for the armrests that are pretty nice; you could save them easily, along with the plaster decoration around the fronts of the balconies. The thing that I like the most is the oculus in the middle of the ceiling; that could come out in pieces. We could save that, but that's enough. And, who knows when we'll get there.

Frank Stella enjoys UrbanToronto's grilling, image by Jack LandauFrank Stella enjoys UrbanToronto's grilling, image by Jack Landau

It would be during the last phase of this plan that the Princess of Wales would come down?

Well, I have no idea on that. I don't think that the theatre will come down unless they get permission to take it down; it won't come down just for the sake of it.

No. In the meantime, you're engaged… to be engaged to create work for the new towers?

Right, so whatever happens, I could be busy! But when that is, I don't really know!

There has certainly been an outpouring about what's there now; people will be happy to hear that more Stella will be coming. Thank you!