To ro nt o Cit y Ha ll

100 Queen Street West

Bran don Berry 500 374 667

‘Toronto City Hall: How Finnish architecture rebranded a city. Vol. 12 Issue 10 http://digital. Brigette and Kapelos.Ruth and Shim. Accessed 5 October 2010 http://www.Bibliography McClelland.library.’ Globe and Mail. 1899.glasssteelandstone. 2010. Page 193.com/BuildingDetail/81. Detlef and Cawker. http://www.com/news/arts/lisa-rochon/toronto-city-hall-howfinnish-architecture-rebranded-a-city/article1712186/ “Toronto City Hall. George.ca/cab/search/search_frameset. Marco and Mertins.theglobeandmail.” Last modified: unknown.htm . Mark and Polo. Toronto Modern Architecture 1945 – 1965 Toronto: Coach House Bookstore. Accessed on 6 October 2010.mcgill. 2002 Lisa Rochan.php “Toronto City Hall” Canadian Architect and Builder. Michael and Fram.

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13 with impassioned tributes by Mayor David Miller. Saarinen talked the other judges into his choice. former mayor David Crombie and Ambassador of Finland H. the long-time Finnish conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Aalto was out of town. to visit his good friend Esa-Pekka Salonen. designed during the 1940s. soaking up the spirit of the man. curated by Helsinki-based architect Tuula Revell. daughter of Viljo. Finland is a land of birch trees and jagged outcrops of rock that inspires epic pilgrimages among architects. his books. Toronto’s first Jewish mayor. This September.Lisa Rochon: Cityspace. We all know that’s hardly where the story ends. Revell/Toronto/Helsinki: Finnish Architecture and the Image of Modern Toronto. That first evening we had the idea of the curved towers. In Helsinki. Globe and Mail. who spoke at the exhibition opening to an overflow audience in the council chambers. Viljo was away. And next morning we presented this idea to Viljo and he accepted it. the city was instantly rebranded. Bengt Lundsten. a guest speaker at next week’s symposium. Legendary Torontoborn architect Frank Gehry.” says Lundsten. says that Saarinen was compelled by the . His first exposure to the Finnish aesthetic – one that privileges craft. How did the image of modern Toronto come about? The critical thrust of the design didn't actually originate specifically with Revell. “We made photographs of that. Yale University architecture professor Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen. It was an alien thing: a building of sublime concrete instead of Victorian brick. Risto Piipponen. Lundsten tells me: “The curved towers came up very quickly.” Later on. more recently. has travelled to the Nordic country seven times. a space ship. at night. Bengt Lundsten – only now. It was as if a massive column of concrete scored with vertical fluting had been cracked open to reveal a civic surprise: a mushroom. We had an American architect in our office at the time and he read through the program as our English was very poor. 2 October 2010 Toronto City Hall: How Finnish architecture rebranded a city Made modern: That was what happened to Toronto when it launched a 1958 international design competition and landed an emerging star of Finnish modernism. pulled the Revell submission from the heaps of rejected submissions. New City Hall was architecture that imagined something wide open and worldly for a collective consciousness.E. There were three of us together in the evening in the office. Revell proposed two curved tall towers of asymmetric heights that seemed to cradle the council chamber in a powerful embrace. When it opened in 1965. when acclaimed architect Alvar Aalto displayed one of his early laminated plywood chairs. Three decades later. one of the architects noticed the same kind of semicircular shapes in the shadow of a curved lamp. at 82. two birthdays are being celebrated – Revell’s centenary and the 45th anniversary of City Hall – with an exhibition and symposium. Revell’s Finnish colleague. and. modernist architect Eero Saarinen. a building mandated by the sophisticated Nathan Phillips. possibly a white pearl. in a city dominated by a Protestant ethos. as we always worked in the evening. Viljo Revell. turned up a day late to help judge the submissions and. Conceived together with his Helsinki teammates. make angels buck-naked in the snow after an intense sauna. The exhibition. alone in the attic of Old City Hall. The Revell City Hall scheme was one of 531 entries submitted by architects from around the world – the largest design competition ever attempted – but wait for it: The jury initially rejected Revell’s scheme. the art hanging on his walls. considering retiring from architecture – describes this story with exquisite care when I call him at his Helsinki office. kicked off at City Hall on Sept. innovation and the pleasure of pure graphic form – came during a public lecture in 1946 at the University of Toronto. to design its futuristic City Hall. Gehry travelled for his first time to Helsinki to visit the Aalto office. but with his associates. Gehry has returned often to tour the heroic but humanist architecture. extremely quickly. but his assistant allowed Gehry to simply sit in his office chair. Seppo Valjus and Heikki Castren. The Revell submission jumped out at Saarinen.

At that point. “this is a reminder that a democracy is made of individuals and that City Hall belongs to all of us. we worked all together. It was very military. he would have turned 100 this year. Lundsten recalls that when they moved to Toronto to work on the commission the three Finnish architects discovered a factory of architectural production at Parkin’s rather than the synergy of the studio they knew from Revell’s office in Helsinki. there were myriad ways to heighten human contact: curved wooden railings of teak and mahogany. and highly prescient. too. .” It was not always easy. underground parking facility was dug into the ground. Tragically. design partner with Plant Architect Inc. the vision and reality of the commission set in.” is what Aalto wrote to Revell in his congratulatory note. Carrara marble lining the flutes of the towers with off-cuts used as marble inlays for the interior floor. Toronto City Hall is a masterpiece of modern architecture. a monumental parabolic arch. I was very surprised that we were not allowed to speak to the higher-up individuals in the Toronto office. Parkin was signed. to guarantee a silky-smooth finish. It was a very creative atmosphere and that’s very important for architecture. mere months before the opening of City Hall in 1965. “Seldom does a colleague feel so happy over another’s victory. “We were three young architects from Finland and we were quite shocked by the atmosphere in the Parkin office. still endures as the image of St. While the scale of the building was monumental. The tight budget of $18-million (in the end it reportedly cost $25-million) forced some unfortunate cuts to the original scheme: a single mushroom stem replaced the three columns originally designed to hold up the council chambers and house winding staircases within each of them. In Revell’s office. “Perhaps. he died of a heart attack in Helsinki. Concrete was treated with European grace. He had returned home the previous day after making a final site visit to his civic monument. of the Nathan Phillips Square revitalization. Saarinen’s Jefferson National Memorial. everybody discussing together.” Had Revell lived. A massive. steel forms used to hold it as it was poured.” says architect Andrew Frontini of Shore Tilbe Perkins + Will. Revell. wanted to define his architecture as a series of pure forms. Mo. For the way it pops out of context and creates a powerful graphic.ability of architecture to communicate visually and powerfully to the public. a gift of the Finnish imagination that had already changed the face of Toronto. very strict and not at all creative. Louis. With the competition winner decided. We had never been scared of Viljo Revell. a contract to work with Toronto architects John B.

As these seemingly degrading tags are heard as embarrassment or in mockery. With his team of Bengt Lundsten. skating rink. aluminum suspended ceiling. trims. a public library. Seppo Valjus and Heikki Castren behind him and Canadian architect John B. second was merely temporary.”2 . although this metaphor never settled with the people. The building is surrounded by a piazza which holds home to a reflecting pool. and terrazzo (exposed marble with other fine collections) and carpet floors. columns and walls. The first was condemned due to fire. The two surrounding tower house the municipal level of government as the podium holds the Council Chambers for the city. Other uses within the structure include political and administrative functions. Mainly. Parkin. and rightly so.1 The competition for the new construction of Toronto City Hall was inspired by the historical pasts of the previous three city halls. As stated previously. they are meant in great fondness. “They are proud of their seat of government. 890 square metres at 100 Queen Street West. this newly assembled relationship began to leave their mark on the face of Toronto. the registry office. and the third quickly became too unimportant in size for the rapidly growing metropolis. The structure is constructed with methods of reinforced concrete slabs. The shell like structure gives light to an image of the eye and a ‘pupil’. stainless steel curtain wall. public cafeteria and observation gallery. Construction of the structure began in 1961 and is comprised of pre-cast concrete cladding. the building consists of two towers and a spaceship-like structure on the centre podium and covers a total of 75. and elevator cabs. the metaphoric structure of the eye and the pupil did not launch with fellow Torontonians. and well-groomed gardens.Toronto City Hall began as an international competition opened by the city in 1958 involving over forty countries. wood doors and rails. and a shell structure for the Council Chambers. 520 architects and 531 entries. a Finnish architect by the name of Vilijo Revell pushed his way to the top. Amongst the crowded mess of submissions. Viewers looking at City` Hall interpreted it as a UFO or a burrito.

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php 5 October 2010 . 2002 2Unknown http://www.glasssteelandstone. Toronto Modern Architecture 1945 – 1965 Toronto: Coach House Bookstore. Michael et al.co m/BuildingDetail/81.1 McClelland.

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