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Wittington Place (Moshe Safdie)

junctionist

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I was looking through a collection of Moshe Safdie projects, and being naturally inclined to see his Toronto projects, I discovered this unbuilt postmodern project from 1989 which makes his evocative opera house proposal seem tame in comparison (because of the scope).

Description below:

This mixed-use project is located on a twenty-five acre site at the center of a rapidly developing urban area of Toronto. The proposed program for the site includes office space totaling 2.5 million square feet was to be built in several structures: a retail complex, a 600-room hotel, a residential development containing 1,000 units, and a 20,000-seat sports arena. The main urban design strategy is to create a major glazed street, a grand galleria, which would connect all parts of the project. Two office buildings and the hotel form a series of gateways arching over the grand galleria. The project design was an invited competition entry.
(found here)


Does anyone remember this, specifically the location? It ranks up there in terms of outlandish architecture which was never built. It probably would have assumed iconic status.
 

interchange42

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It would have been fun taking visitors up there to laugh and point: balking and pointing at NY Towers is a poor substitute.

42
 

junctionist

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I originally thought it would have been for the (now) rapidly developing area south of Union, where Wittington also owned land and the ACC ended up. Perhaps there would also be some vague contextualism with the triumphal arches and Fort York.
 

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Mark Osbaldeston is researching this project for the second of his books on Unbuilt Toronto. Apparently, there are plans in more detail at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal - this image has been floating around for a while, but there is little other information about it, so I've never seen fit to add it to TOBuilt. I look forward to Mark's further work on this.
 

wyliepoon

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^ So there'll be a sequel to Unbuilt Toronto? Nice. I mentioned to Mark that there are still a number of projects out there that weren't included in his first book, including the Weston Skyscraper which was also meant for this site.
 

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A sequel is definitely in order. The subway lines which were never built but extensively planned, Ataratiri, and this project are good indications that there are many interesting and unique proposals which Unbuilt Toronto didn't cover.
 

Urban09

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Wylie, it was in fact your mentioning of the Weston Skyscraper that got me interested in researching that location (it's Mark here) -- thanks for that. There were some pretty significant proposals there it seems, so I'm hoping to be able to flesh out the history.
 

wyliepoon

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Mark:

Good luck with your research. There's a number of unbuilt Toronto skyscraper projects where if you ran a Google search all you would find is just one or two renderings and/or photos of the model, and next to no information (Weston is one, Eaton's/John Maryon Tower is another). I'm willing to spend a bit of money just to read a bit more info about these projects.
 

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For the John Maryon tower, I do cite two sources at TOBuilt that could be looked up (though for one you'd have to go to the National Library in Ottawa). There may have been a few newspaper inches about it. For more, I suspect you'd have to hit the archives. Some of these proposals were just a flicker in someone's eye.
 

Urban09

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I think that's right Archivist -- this may have been a particularly big flicker. Thanks for the tips on the sources.
 

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