The Roy Thomson Hall (New Massey Hall)


Panorama shot of the curtain facade


Located on 60 Simcoe Street is the Roy Thomson Hall that was formally known as the New Massey Hall. The project was carried out by Arthur Erickson, one of the most well known architects in Canada. The project began as apart of an office development called Downtown West and later became on its own when the office development did not follow through. Erickson’s major goal and underlying parti for this project was to create a small musical park that could be distinguished by its musical orientation through the use of space. The final design came down to a low-set massing building based on Ed Pickering’s, chairman of the board for the concert hall, needs and instructions for the concert hall. He stated that he did not like the straight line that you never find in nature that exists in modern architecture. Therefore, Erickson worked on solutions to get away from straight lines. This ultimately led him to a long convex curve that swept from the top of the auditorium to the bottom of the low canopy. This elegant steel mesh with glass stood out significantly compared it its surrounding context. Unfortunately, Erickson was not lucky with the Toronto glass manufacturers. They did not have the technology yet to properly install these thousands of specifically cut glass that was going to wrap around the entire building. Originally, the complex steel mesh was intended to transform gradually into a square base with more elegance. In order to work with the glass manufacturers, Erickson had to take away the flow of the glass mesh and turning it into a curved curtain wall that joined the top of a square concrete base. Despite the change in design, the overall building still turned out very well. Concrete and stainless are predominantly used to help create a relaxing atmosphere because of the cool silver grey tone. The sweeping line of the curved curtain wall is definitely not as significant; however, the diagonal steel framing of the wall still provides the feel of beauty in complex assembly. It gives the building an elegant look to its reflective facade. Overall, the building was able to represent the jewel identity that the board of the concert hall wanted. It’s unique glass mesh that wraps the entire building helps give the concert hall an identity like no other in Toronto.


Interior showing an entrance that guides you from small entrance to an opened up spaceMiniature garden with a pool of flowing water and vegetation











Miniature garden with a pool of flowing water and vegetation










Erickson, Arthur. The Architecture of Arthur Erickson. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1988. Print.

Iglauer, Edith. Seven Stones: a Portrait of Arthur Erickson, Architect. Vancouver] B.C.: Harbour Pub., 1981. Print.

Olsberg, R. Nicholas., Edward Dimendberg, Arthur Erickson, Georges Teyssot, Ricardo L. Castro, and Laurent Stalder. Arthur Erickson: Critical Works. Vancouver, B.C.: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006. Print.

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