This morning, OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sara Diamond was joined by David Mirvish along with Craig Webb of Gehry Partners LLP, to unveil more detailed plans for the educational institution's new Visual Arts Centre. The university has received permission to deploy the name The Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts from the Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry for the facility which is slated to occupy 25,000 square-feet in the first phase of the ambitious three-towered Mirvish+Gehry megaproject planned for King Street West in the Entertainment District, to the immediate west of the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond unveiling PoWCVA, image by Jack Landau

Located on the third and fourth floors of the east tower's podium, the facility will feature gallery spaces open to the public including ones dedicated to OCAD U's faculty, the school's historical collection, and curated exhibitions. A 254-seat theatre-in-the-round will be open to both student learning and to the public, and provide a unique venue in Toronto for visiting lecturers and for performance artists. Programming of the space will be done in collaboration with the David Mirvish Collection gallery. Students at the Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre will also have access to spacious seminar rooms, world-class art studios and gallery facilities. Conceptual floor plans were released at the event.

3rd floor layout including theatre-in-the-round, image courtesy of OCADU

Cross-section of theatre-in-the-round, image courtesy of OCADU

4th floor layout, image courtesy of OCADU

The western phases of the Mirvish+Gehry development will feature a 60,000 square foot Mirvish Collection museum, which as well as being open to the public, will provide OCAD U students with ample opportunity for study. “OCAD University, its staff, and students, share a broad range of interests that coincide with mine” said Mr. Mirvish. “I can imagine a collaboration that starts with curatorial studies and extends to shared public lectures. Our relationship will be an evolution where we will work together to find opportunities”.

OCAD University studio space, image courtesy of OCADU

OCAD University facilities in relation to the Mirvish+Gehry site, image courtesy of OCADU

The project will be the largest and most significant urban project to date by architect Frank Gehry, and is expected to redefine Toronto’s skyline and add to the city’s cultural appeal. While the plans released to date are still preliminary and subject to change during the approvals process, from what we have seen so far it is safe to say that something unique is destined for this stretch of King Street West.

Duncan Street entrance to future Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre, image courtesy of OCADU

For additional information and renderings regarding the Mirvish+Gehry project, please visit the UrbanToronto dataBase page linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the related forum thread, here, or voice your opinion in the comments section below.

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