Another depression-era high-rise structure is coming down in Toronto. The Art Deco Women’s College Hospital building, completed in 1935, is currently being torn down on Grenville Street, just east of Queens Park. With the recently built first phase of the new Women’s College Hospital (WCH) facility now completed to the east, the aging hospital structure on the western edge of the property is being cleared to make way for a future second phase of the hospital.
The original 10-storey wing of hospital is the last of three wings to be demolished for the rebuilding of WCH after the recent teardown of both the 1956 and 1971 wings. Though the WCH property had been designated as a National Historic Site by the Federal Government, none of the individual structures on site were themselves protected from redevelopment.
Crews continue to clear the site, which aside from the original structure’s remaining western half, has been shored and excavated down to the addition’s former basement levels. The building is being taken down with hydraulic high-reach excavators, which bite chunks out of the building while hosing down the area to minimize dust.
Still standing at ten storeys, the 1935 building is being methodically stripped of its skin and taken down in segments from east to west. When we stopped by the scene recently, crews were busy removing a large section of concrete from the eight floor.
Many have wondered whether the building could be saved or reincorporated into the new hospital, but the aging facility was considered no longer viable in an age where health care has become very high tech, and where programs are changing significantly: Women's College Hospital now operates without patient beds. Couple these changes with the financial impact of maintaining an aging structure, and heritage architecture concerns were outweighed in this instance.
For additional information and renderings, check out our dataBase file, linked below. What's your take on the teardown? Have your say in the associated Forum thread, or use the comments section provided at the bottom of the page.
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