Buildings designed in the Brutalist style—raw concrete fronted structures built between the 1950s and 1980s—are often overlooked gems among Toronto’s diverse urban landscape. Blue Crow Media, in partnership with local heritage specialists ERA Architects have teamed up to create the “Concrete Toronto Map”—a guide to forty-seven of the city's most notable concrete structures. The two-sided guide features original photography by Jason Woods and a map that details where to find it all, along with details of the structures' significance and heritage.
What began as a post-war experimental medium in Toronto and elsewhere, concrete is found in most of the structures we interact with daily, but it's not always expressed on the exterior of buildings, and is most often covered with other materials. The Concrete Toronto Map celebrates the buildings that celebrate the medium, usually where care has been taken to leave patterns and texture. From clustered concrete tower blocks, like Viljo Revell’s New City Hall to the sculptural structures like the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library by Warner, Burns, Toan & Lunde, the map highlights the buildings that remain as symbols of the brutalist period. The Concrete Toronto Map joins an existing series from the publisher which includes Chicago, Tokyo, and several other major cities.
As many concrete and Brutalist buildings around the world are either being demolished or under threat, this map seeks to highlight and solidify the role of concrete architecture in Toronto’s celebrated cityscape. A statement from the editor reads “Toronto is beginning to redefine itself through its concrete heritage – the fabric of our post-war growth – the architecture of our schools, universities, libraries and mass housing. Many are developing a cult following as a new type of landmark; and some are finding a second life through new investments and restorations. However, most are under threat. This map provides a calling card at this crucial moment of the city’s understanding of its concrete legacy.”
The Concrete Toronto Map is available through Blue Crow Media’s website. Have a particular interest in brutalist architecture? Let us know by leaving a comment in the space provided below.