Brookfield Place, Toronto

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(Last Updated On: March 17, 2019)

There are clues that something amazing awaits within even before you enter Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto. (Hint: Look up.)

This would be just another of many towering downtown office/commercial centers were it not for the fact that the exterior canopy becomes the soaring Santiago Calatrava-designed atrium (the Allen Lambert Galleria) linking the two towers.

As if this soaring cathedral of glass weren’t enough, the façade of the 1845 Merchants’ Bank was reconstructed within, creating an odd interplay between the traditional stone building and the web of steel and glass in which it resides. It brings a bit of warmth to the space, humanizing it a bit more and making it a more welcoming respite.

The atrium was created to comply with a requirement that public art be incorporated into the development, with Calatrava’s design selected through a competitive process. The result is proof positive that government design and public art requirements can have a significant impact on the urban form and livability. Done well, it can be amazing.

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