"Frank Gehry is back in Toronto − at least via Zoom. At 91, the world’s most famous architect is actively working on a major project in the city where he was born: two towers on King Street West that are the biggest and the tallest buildings of his career.
After more than eight years of discussion, this complex project is advancing. The developers say they will begin sales on its condo apartments in 2022. Mr. Gehry will speak remotely at a public meeting Feb. 9 to introduce the latest version and request city permission for small changes.
Is he happy with the results? Mostly. “I always feel uneasy blowing my horn,” he said last week from his California home, showing his usual mix of self-deprecation and pride. “But I think the buildings have a level of humanity other buildings around them don’t have, and a respect for local surroundings.”
Mr. Gehry has long worked to achieve his own artistic goals within the commercial and technical constraints of architecture – and those become very difficult at this scale, which will be about two million square feet of construction.
But it looks as though he will pull it off."
"The towers were first proposed in 2012 by David Mirvish, whose family owned the sites at the corner of King and Duncan streets. Mr. Gehry presented his initial vision through physical models, which were sculptural and eccentric – sketches, rather than realistic high-rise architecture. Two years later a real design was approved by the city, and after a change of ownership, the two towers are now 308 metres and 266.5 metres tall. They will include 2,087 condo apartments, facilities for OCAD University, shops, and either a hotel or offices.
Since the most recent version of the project was made public in 2018, interior changes have been relatively minor. But the architectural expression has changed: Both the form and textures have been simplified and refined. Each tower is still made of asymmetrically stacked boxes, which cantilever out in different directions. They’re a bit more regular now, but still a complementary pair."