Fort York Visitors' Centre Competition Down to Final Four


Scheme A; see full set courtesy of Spacing on Flickr

It is the most historic thing in Toronto; built in 1793 to defend what was then called York (now Toronto), it was over-run by American forces and burned in 1813, but was rebuilt and repelled another invasion in 1814. The fort has been under attack many times since; it the sixties it was almost over-run by the Gardiner Expressway, which was finally diverted to the south edge of the fort. The elevated highway is actually rather dramatic and elegant at this point.

This was not lost on many of the architects chosen for the limited competition to build a visitors' centre in time for the bicentennial of the war. Five of Toronto's best were shortlisted (one did not submit, to the everlasting anger of all of the other architects who might have liked to be among the five.) They all face the interesting problem of integrating a two hundred year old fort with a fifty year old highway. Some of them even pull it off.


Scheme B; Full set on Flickr

Most have a lot of green attributes, including extensive green roofs, probably a good idea if you are dealing with important views from the fort towards the lake and America.


Scheme C; Full set on Flickr

We know the names of the architects on the short list, but don't know who is attached to which scheme. The four firms competing are Baird Sampson Neuert Architects; du Toit Allsopp Hillier / du Toit Architects Limited; Patkau Architects with Kearns Mancini Architects Inc.; Raw Design with Gareth Hoskins Architects. I have my own ideas about who did what, but that will be the most interesting revelation of all.


Scheme D; Full set on Flickr

But to my eye, one scheme just blows everyone else away, there is no comparison. I wonder if you agree. Which do you like?

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