Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, the 82 and 92-storey tower project planned for King Street West in Downtown Toronto has been updated a bit in time for a keynote address at IIDEX Canada today, the national interior design and architecture show now on at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

In a keynote address today, David Mirvish, David Nam of Gehry Partners, and Peter Kofman of developer Projectcore sat down to talk about the project with Gabe Gonda, arts editor at the Globe and Mail in front of an audience of hundreds.

David Mirvish, Gabe Gonda, David Nam, and Peter Kofman, Mirvish+Gehry TorontoDavid Mirvish, Gabe Gonda, David Nam, and Peter Kofman, image by Craig White

Mirvish talked about his family's history in this city and the history of this stretch of King Street in particular, while Nam spoke about the planning and design process that has been ongoing at Gehry Partners, and Kofman spoke to the behind-the-scenes work going on to bring these buildings to fruition.

David Mirvish and Gabe Gonda, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image by Craig WhiteDavid Mirvish and Gabe Gonda, image by Craig White

One of the biggest pieces of news was that schematic drawings have started for the buildings now. While this is not an indication that everything is quite set in stone yet—the site plan will still have to be approved—it is a indication that the proponents are now confident enough in the plans to get into the (very) expensive part of the design process.

David Nam and Peter Kofman, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image by Craig WhiteDavid Nam and Peter Kofman, image by Craig White

What is set in stone is the two towers, their massing, and the design language. A 3D rotating image of the project was shown at IIDEX—a .mov file we are still working on making available for UrbanToronto readers—which clearly shows the intended grouping of buildings and the shimmering effect of the cladding.

There was another new image that we can share now. It focuses on the project's public realm as it addresses King and Duncan Streets between the Princess of Wales Theatre and the Royal Alexandra Theatre. An earlier version of the below was shared in UrbanToronto's Forum thread for the project earlier this week, but this update and the detail shots taken from it reflect the latest thinking on the project's design. 

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Gehry Partners LLP, ProjectcoreLooking north towards Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image courtesy of Mirvish Enterprises, Gehry Partners LLP, and Projectcore Inc.

The most striking design change in this latest iteration is to the cladding of the sentinels. Each tower has a main body as well as a smaller volume. The smaller volumes—being referred to as the sentinels as they act as flanking companions to the main volumes—relate to the heights of neighbouring towers in the neighbourhood. In the last image posted on M+G's website, the sentinels were clad in the same rippled glass exterior in which the taller shafts are sheathed, but this new image debuts their own cladding scheme, evoking Toronto's brick vernacular, though not through bricks specifically, but possibly a tiled metal. It is important to state again that the cladding scheme remains conceptual at this point, but it indicates the direction that the plans are taking.

The image below zeroes in on the cladding of the west sentinel in the upper left, the 92-storey volume in the upper right, and the top of the west podium below. The blank wall at lower left is an un-detailed portion of the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Gehry Partners LLP, ProjectcoreCladding concept for Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image courtesy of Mirvish Enterprises, Gehry Partners LLP, and Projectcore Inc.

At ground level, the buildings have been pulled back more from King Street, widening the sidewalks, and creating a forecourt. More gathering space for people here invites exploration, provides spill-over spaces for special events on Duncan Street, and reveals the Royal Alexandra Theatre from a greater distance to the west. A corresponding piazza is now under construction on the east side of the Royal Alex in front of the Theatre Park condo development.

Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, Gehry Partners LLP, ProjectcoreStreet level concept for Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image courtesy of Mirvish Enterprises, Gehry Partners LLP, and Projectcore Inc.

In the rendering, Duncan Street is shown overflowing with people attending an on-street performance. Duncan's paving and sidewalks will be designed to facilitate such events. Duncan would also act as the entrance point for the planned OCAD U facilities in the east tower podium, although plans for it have yet to be finalized since the redesign. Similarly, final designs for the Mirvish Gallery, planned for the Eclipse Whitewear warehouse to the west of the Princess of Wales Theatre, remain to be hammered out after plans for the West Tower, then the East Tower have been completed.

The marketing of suites in the West Tower will likely commence in the last quarter of 2015. 

Want to know more about Mirvish+Gehry Toronto in the meantime? You will find more renderings in UrbanToronto's dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to talk about it? You can get in on the discussion in our related Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.