Pinewood Toronto Studios (formerly FilmPort, formerly Alsop)

Discussion in 'Buildings' started by billy corgan19982, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. From

    Filmport set to roll

    TORONTO - The path is clear for construction to begin on Toronto Film Studios' Filmport, a massive film and media production complex in Toronto's Port Lands waterfront area. In late December 2005, the Ontario Municipal Board dismissed an objection to a variance obtained for the 29.7-acre site, allowing the project to move ahead on schedule.

    Filmport's first phase will include 232,500 sq. ft. of production facilities, with six sound stages and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of office and support space. One of the highlights of phase one is a 45,000-sq.-ft. "megastage," the largest, purpose-built sound stage in North America. Subsequent phases will expand production space to 550,000 sq. ft., including more than 12 sound stages, and up to 1 million sq. ft. of offices, restaurants, conference facilities and film-related industries. Total development costs are estimated at $275 million.

    Toronto-based Quadrangle Architects is coordinating the project, with Alsop Design tapped to create an iconic office complex at the entrance of the site. "Given the size and complexity of Filmport, we looked to the city as an organizing form," explains Quadrangle's Leslie Klein. "Working with Toronto Film Studios and Ken Greenberg, our urban design consultant, we have designed Filmport with a pattern of streets and blocks, which mirror the urban framework of great cities, creating a diverse and dynamic place to live, work and play."

    The team made sure the development is in keeping with the past, present and future context of the site, and the city's ambitions for the Port Lands. "So while we are envisioning what Filmport will look like next year, or when it is a fully built-out film and media complex, we are also looking to the more distant future when the city has finally grown up around it," he says. "It's our goal to see Filmport as an integrated component of a revitalized Port Lands, one that serves both the economic vitality of the film industry and the social heart of the city for the next century."

    To give Filmport the ability to draw in blockbuster productions, the architects not only checked out other film studios across the continent to learn best practices, they also asked Toronto's film industry what they needed. Thus the "megastage" was born. It has more than an acre of column-free space, and a clear ceiling height of 60 ft., making it large enough to contain the Parthenon with room left over.

    But that's not to say that it's all film work and no play for the Port Lands. There will be sidewalks for pedestrians and green spaces, the aforementioned production spaces and offices, retail space, restaurants, entertainment and conference venues. There might even be a hotel on the site in the future.

    "This is a project that will not be just a jumble of different functions thrown together to serve a single need, it will mirror the diversity that we would want to find in any part of the city that we like spending time in," Klein says. The architects are also incorporating green design initiatives into Filmport wherever possible, with the goal of making it "a model of environmentally responsible development for other brownfield sites, not only in the city, but also across the continent."

    One challenge of particular concern to the design team is blending the public aspects of the project with the private needs of the film industry, so that citizens can feel a part of the action while maintaining security for those aspects of production that require it. "We want to make Filmport a destination in the city, in a way that avoids the 'Disneyland' feel while allowing the public to indulge its fascination with the process of making movies and TV," says Klein. "We're doing that by making Filmport a part of the city, instead of making the city like a movie set."

  2. mark simpson

    mark simpson Guest

    Sidewalks, lighting and landscaping are currently being installed along Cherry Street - it all seems a little odd
  3. alklay

    alklay Guest

    I wonder when construction will actually begin.
  4. Great news for the city and my industry, however Alsop? Why?
  5. To quote the article:

    Like it or hate it, it's an attention-getter. And Alsop is bit of a "creative class" posterboy in any event.

  6. Mike in TO

    Mike in TO Guest

    I wonder with Alsop having a studio here how many of his structures we are going to have by the end of the decade.
  7. Probably not many before he fails and goes bankrupt here too.
  8. Sounds great, and I don't mind Alsop. He seems well-suited to this kind of site. Quadrangle is a good choice to do the rest of the project. $235 million seems like a very tight budget, though, for 1.5 million square feet.
  9. Alsop's OCAD is fine, but he's seeming like a one-trick horse. Great, another building on stilts.
  10. Until such time as we have an equal number of buildings on stilts and stiltless ones, I'm not going to complain.

    I'm just waiting for the day that someone animates OCAD unpinning itself from it's moorings and taking a misunderstood Godzilla-like walk around town. Maybe when the Westside Lofts are done in a couple years the two will try to find each other for a little metal-on-metal snuggle.

  11. billonlogan

    billonlogan Guest

    I just hope they don't go cheap and build warehouse type structures that are common throughout Hollywood and LA.
  12. wyliepoon

    wyliepoon Guest

    Great project statement! I guess it'll be like Universal Studios, except with no admission charges and with real people living and working in the sets.

    Might be a good place for some affordable housing. I can imagine if a film there needs some extras for something like a street scene, they can get people from the local residential units and pay them to be in the movie.
  13. spasongs

    spasongs Guest

    This is a really good boost to my industry. I hope it brings lots of work to the city as we need it. Especially now that the old and new Govt's are not pressing our stations to film Dramas etc.

    We need it bad!
  14. frizzed

    frizzed Guest

    This is great news! I've been waiting to hear more about this project. I've been following it for awhile now. This is great for Toronto and I like their plans for the Studios. I really look forward to seeing the finished product.
  15. Ha! We called in the air force, but it just wanted some love...

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