David Mirvish + Frank Gehry = Spectacular
David Mirish and Frank Gehry.
In my opinion — not that anyone was asking — the proposed three-tower project at King and John, developed by David Mirvish and designed by master architect Frank Gehry, is visionary. Of course, I’m not alone; Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan in inclined to agree. “This is an astonishing proposition,” he said today at a press conference at the Frank Gehry-designed Art Gallery of Ontario, although he was quick to caution that “this is a big story and will require lots of public debate.”
And debate we will; it’s already started on Saturday when the first inklings of the massive three-tower project (with heights reaching to 85 storeys and an estimated 1,500 units) hit the Internet/Twitterverse/blogasphere.
Many, of course, worry about the density, with 3,000 people more people be added to the precinct. Not to mention the infrastructure improvements that will be required and the traffic nightmares that would follow (especially during construction). Others bemoan the loss of the Princess of Wales Theatre, and others are worried about affordable housing.
After listening to David Mirvish and Frank Gehry explain their plans, however, and Vaughan adding his qualified approval, I am thrilled with the density and the coming amenities that will finally hit a street that has restaurants and hotels and not much else. A piece of urban day-to-day life is just what the doctor ordered.
That this particular piece of real estate is going to be designed by one of the world’s great architects, is just the icing on the proverbial cake.
“These are not just buildings,” Mirvish said today, “They are three sculptures for people to live in.”
The centerpiece will be the 60,000-square-foot Mirvish Collection, a free art gallery that will showcase Mirvish’s large collection of modern art.
“Collections like David’s, are pretty rare,” Gehry said today. “To be a part of this is a great honour.”
The development will also include a multi-floor facility for the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCADU) Public Learning Centre for Visual Art, Curatorial Studies and Art History, including galleries, studios, seminar rooms and a public lecture hall.
After all, this is “about building a city, not building a building,” in the words of Adam Vaughan.
To see a video about the project, go to mirvishandgehrytoronto.com.