Mirvish+Gehry Toronto | 308m | 82s | Great Gulf | Gehry Partners

AlvinofDiaspar

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“There have been some iconic buildings in the past, such as the Pantages Tower and L Tower, but to have three towers in such a prominent location is going to be interesting.”

Pantages Tower is "iconic"?! Like seriously? It isn't an awful tower by any stretch, but iconic it isn't. Yes, that project involves another theatre, but the similarity to this one ended right there.

AoD
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

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An excerpt of a commentary by Conrad Black (whose opinions I tend to disagree with):

Returning to this revolutionary plan for Toronto’s entertainment district, all three project leaders, David Mirvish, Frank Gehry and Peter Kofman, are, in their different fields, innovators and creators, and precisely what Toronto needs to translate economic boom and ethnic diversity and population growth into a distinctively great city. Toronto is recognized to be liveable by world standards, and relatively safe and prosperous. But as a great city, it lacks history, drama and flair. History, dramatic historic events, epochal personalities, and great cultural achievements and trends can’t just be confected. And drama is mainly violence: the French Revolution and Napoleonic and other wars in Paris; the Civil War and Blitz in London, the drastic changes of regime in Berlin, and the incomparable drama of Rome, as the imperial and ecclesiastical, and then reunited Italian capital. Even New York and Chicago have the tragic mystique that surrounds gang and gangster wars, revolutionary and Indian skirmishes, countless riots, earth-shaking financial upheavals, 9/11.

Toronto obviously does not seek tumult and bloodshed to tart up its ambiance; so to be great, it must ensure that more of its growth comes in the form of brilliant architecture — the construction of iconic projects of the future. The Mirvish project consists of a trio of unusually interesting, 80-storey buildings. It will contrast well with the city’s existing skyscrapers. (Three of Toronto’s impressive bank office complexes, for instance, TD, CIBC and BMO, while fine plazas, are just knock-offs from Mies Van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, and Edward Durrell Stone.) Frank Gehry, who appeared to be descending into self-indulgent eccentricity with his proposed memorial in Washington to Dwight D. Eisenhower that featured a statue of the victorious theatre commander and two-term president as a 14-year-old farm boy, has produced a beautiful design (though it would be better if the Princess of Wales Theatre could be preserved).

Toronto must avoid the Canadian tradition of nit-picking the ambitious and original and, as it did when it built the new city hall, it must seize and promote this great and self-generated opportunity.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com...ck-as-quebec-decays-toronto-seizes-greatness/

AoD
 

buildup

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AT the very least this proposal has elevated the subject of urban design into a much broader realm. Articles coming from everywhere, JBM had a fine one, for example. Very good for the city, only one not very inteested in the subject or any subject is Rob Ford.
 

adma

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From a heritage POV, in effect, the hoopla over the proposal represents the "mainstreaming" of two concepts, (1) on the pro-heritage side, the embrace of recent-past heritage (thus, all the fixation over the Princess of Wales as opposed to its brick-warehouse neighbours); and (2) on the anti- (or perhaps post-)heritage side, the Rem Koolhaas "Cronocaos" notion of "insignificant universal junk", which I posted here way back when.

Should we preserve everything? Koolhaas says no. Both "Preservation…" and Cronocaos propose alternatives: a "bar code" for cities with random, alternating, strips of space that "could either be preserved forever or systematically scraped," or a number of guidelines for the obliteration of what AMO considers "Insignificant Universal Junk": "parts of the cultural or natural heritage [that] are insignificant and transient and therefore need to be demolished to facilitate the growth and development of mankind as a whole…" (Designboom) These might be controversial, thought-provoking measures, but they aren't viable solutions. Preservation cannot be left to chance, and the truth is that, in some cases, even junk needs to be preserved, because it's bad for us, and we have to remember that. Leftover or discarded products of corporate or official culture might seem insignificant, but they are never devoid of meaning and cues.

Which could just as well be an argument for rather than against retention of what exists--though in the whole Koolhaas spin, the existing warehouses are the embodiment of such "junk" to be swept away on behalf of the bold and new.

Oh, and one interesting thing re the whole Gehry/Mirvish hype: where have the Fords been in the middle of all this? After all, wouldn't this epitomize the kind of world-class enema this city needs, a la ferris wheels and monorails? I'd practically expect them to take credit for this happening within their mayoralty--instead, dead silence. (Maybe if Gehry designed a football stadium or Woodbine Live! or something...)
 

Lenser

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AoD: like you I am, in general, no fan of Conrad Black but in this case I doff my hat to him. Pretty measured, considered response. In this instance he has refrained from his penchant for bombast and dense, gnarly verbiage... good on him. In the main, I agree with his point; I really hope this project doesn't suffer from being watered down into a dull porridge.
 

400WellingtonGuy

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I've been thinking about Mirvish's comments that he believes that he must keep a premium of only $100/sq.ft compared to his rivals to make this project viable. His plan is to build 3 "statues" (tree fort, rocky outcrop and icy chard) that each have unique cladding (one possibly in terracotta), all low-carbon tower designs, donate 25,000 sq.ft. to OCAD, build a museum that will have no cash flow except for the colour red, and finally a $$$ streetscape worthy of this proposal.

With the likes of Conrad Black and others pontificating that this project should not be watered down by the masses, I can only imagine the difficult position Mirvish has put himself socially now with these great expectations, and conversely, financially.

As I see it, he has two options ending in the same result. Firstly, if he keeps his premium of $100/sq.ft. guideline in place for economic viability, this project is only going to get watered down and the "statues" will disappear. He will be embarassed in his social and art circles, especially after the big confident show he put on last Monday. He'll be forced to walk away. If he finds a way to keep all the good stuff in the project, his costs will escalate and if he tries to pass that on to each buyer, he will price his way out of the market and not even the first tower will be built. He is a trapped man.

So, what's a man like Mirvish to do. He should consider decreasing the biggest risk of this proposal, selling all of those condos by doing what he should have done in the first place, diversifying the project and bringing other people's wallets into the equation to ease the minds of his lenders. He risks all of his family's money on extending himself and promising so much.

One tower should have been commerical office space and partnered with the likes of Allied, Brookfield etc. While condos are cooling, office space in the core is not. You can't tell me that the City of Toronto would not lease space right away in a building across from Metro Hall. The second tower should have been a hotel, partnering with W or Gansevoort. Certainly these folks are still looking for an iconic space in a great location. Finally, the third tower can now be those exclusive (only one tower you see) and high end residential condos in a Gehry building. Now that will sell at premium prices to be in a "statue", the only residential "statue", in today's market.

I also think the likes of Councillor Vaughan, the City's planning department and the local community will give Mirvish those building heights much easier with a more diversified mixed-use project. This approach would truly be a model for future mega-developments in the inner core which need to be mixed-use as much as possible.

In many ways, this project's condo-emphasis to pay the bills appears lazy and suburban, a total contradiction of what Mirvish is trying to sell us for King Street West. I hope we see a revised plan before he spends too much money on a flawed plan. It would be unfortunate to lose such an opportunity.
 

Tewder

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Good points WellingtonGuy. There's something about three supertalls of condos that just doesn't sit right.
 

Automation Gallery

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Yeah, but then again, there is something about three freestanding buildings by Frank Gehry, a six storey podium for two major museums, a three-storey gallery, along with 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, a visual arts research centre for OCAD University, dont forget a bunch of retail shops, restaurants, terraces, and gardens, .... that sits just about right:cool:
 

Automation Gallery

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I feel that there are many people here that want all this, but dont want the tall structures, give up the 90s PoW theater, and demolish a couple non heritage factory bldgs for that.....Hey, “you cant have your cake and eat it tooâ€:confused:
 
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gabe

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Christopher Hume made some great points.


Mirvish and Gehry partnership will transform Toronto: Hume

http://www.thestar.com/entertainmen...make-david-mirvish-s-king-and-john-properties



Even Gehry’s most celebrated structure — the extraordinary Bilbao Guggenheim — is a fully integrated element of the Spanish industrial town in which it’s located. Connected to the streets, the river that runs behind it and even Bilbao’s transit system, this museum is much more than an artifact.

Still, in a city as easily frightened, even timid, as Toronto, the project will elicit endless criticism. The howls of protest can already be heard, but the same response greeted many of our most distinguished buildings, from E.J.Lennox’s Old City Hall to Viljo Revell’s City Hall. As for height; every highrise tower in Toronto, commercial or residential, is occupied despite our fear of heights.

The truth, love it or hate it, is that Toronto is well on its way to becoming one of the tallest cities in North America. The real issue is design excellence, not size. If anyone can make the case for the 21st-century skyscraper, it’s Frank Gehry.
 

Bentley

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I've been thinking about Mirvish's comments that he believes that he must keep a premium of only $100/sq.ft compared to his rivals to make this project viable. His plan is to build 3 "statues" (tree fort, rocky outcrop and icy chard) that each have unique cladding (one possibly in terracotta), all low-carbon tower designs, donate 25,000 sq.ft. to OCAD, build a museum that will have no cash flow except for the colour red, and finally a $$$ streetscape worthy of this proposal.

With the likes of Conrad Black and others pontificating that this project should not be watered down by the masses, I can only imagine the difficult position Mirvish has put himself socially now with these great expectations, and conversely, financially.

As I see it, he has two options ending in the same result. Firstly, if he keeps his premium of $100/sq.ft. guideline in place for economic viability, this project is only going to get watered down and the "statues" will disappear. He will be embarassed in his social and art circles, especially after the big confident show he put on last Monday. He'll be forced to walk away. If he finds a way to keep all the good stuff in the project, his costs will escalate and if he tries to pass that on to each buyer, he will price his way out of the market and not even the first tower will be built. He is a trapped man.

So, what's a man like Mirvish to do. He should consider decreasing the biggest risk of this proposal, selling all of those condos by doing what he should have done in the first place, diversifying the project and bringing other people's wallets into the equation to ease the minds of his lenders. He risks all of his family's money on extending himself and promising so much.

One tower should have been commerical office space and partnered with the likes of Allied, Brookfield etc. While condos are cooling, office space in the core is not. You can't tell me that the City of Toronto would not lease space right away in a building across from Metro Hall. The second tower should have been a hotel, partnering with W or Gansevoort. Certainly these folks are still looking for an iconic space in a great location. Finally, the third tower can now be those exclusive (only one tower you see) and high end residential condos in a Gehry building. Now that will sell at premium prices to be in a "statue", the only residential "statue", in today's market.

I also think the likes of Councillor Vaughan, the City's planning department and the local community will give Mirvish those building heights much easier with a more diversified mixed-use project. This approach would truly be a model for future mega-developments in the inner core which need to be mixed-use as much as possible.

In many ways, this project's condo-emphasis to pay the bills appears lazy and suburban, a total contradiction of what Mirvish is trying to sell us for King Street West. I hope we see a revised plan before he spends too much money on a flawed plan. It would be unfortunate to lose such an opportunity.

Something to consider. The land today by any normal stretch is worth about 75 million or so. He's effectively doubling the densities on this land with the proposal, and then some. If he gets this approved, it will probably increase the value of the land to somewhere between 150 and 200 million. By bringing Gehry on, he's instantly added 75 to 125 million in his pocket. He could theoretically break even on the condos (if he goes it alone with no financial partners) and still do exceptionally well. But if he brings in partners, they will not get a piece of the return on the land, therefor they will expect a significant return on the condos.

I'm going to build a financial model for fun, just to better understand the economics. Curious to better understand the hard construction costs. Given the complexities of these towers, unique materials, and a spectacle of a podium, I can see hards coming in 100/sf higher than a typical project, which probably explains his comment of needing to sell at 100/ft above market to make it viable.
 
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adma

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I feel that there are many people here that want all this, but dont want the tall structures, give up the 90s PoW theater, and demolish a couple non heritage factory bldgs for that.....Hey, “you cant have your cake and eat it tooâ€:confused:

Except for the technicality that the factory buildings you declare "non heritage" do have listing/designation heritage status. Which, in the end, may be more of an awkward legal tripwire/albatross...but still; they are. Whether they're heritage enough for the circumstance is another matter...
 

wyliepoon

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My interpretation of the Gehry models...





 

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