The National Ballet School located at 400 Jarvis Street is the ultimate example of postmodern architecture.  It combines historic and contemporary buildings to create a balanced visual environment.  Northfield a large Victorian home even acts as a visual anchor creating a much needed focal point.


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Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building

Located on the northwest corner of University Avenue and College Street, Foster and Partners’ Leslie Lee Dan Pharmacy Building is a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate more than 1,000 pharmacy students. It is the largest pharmacy faculty in Canada built for multi-functional purposes. There are several reasons that gave birth to the Pharmacy Building project. First, the University of Toronto demanded an elegant building so as to highlight the entrance to the campus. Second, the original buildings were undersized in terms of lecture rooms, laboratories, and other functional spaces. There was a convincing need to provide sufficient space for the current and the increasing number of students. Third, classrooms, research and administrative space, practice labs, and library were spread throughout the university campus; therefore, it was necessary to organize and centralize them in one building to allow the students to manage their time more efficiently. By lifting the bulk of the building with series of slender concrete columns, Foster and Partners has created a unique corner condition. The most dynamic space that attracts attention happens on the ground level in the main atrium. It features extraordinary egg-shaped “pods” that appear as if they are floating freely. Akin to any other building, Foster and Partners’ Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building is not only an object built to fulfill its purpose, but an entity which reflects time and place. The Pharmacy building, which has become one of the landmarks in Toronto, mirrors the era of modern culture as well as the general trend in architecture.

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St. James Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St James is the heart of Anglican faith in Toronto. Completed in 1876, the building was designed in the style of English Gothic Revival by Frederic Cumberland, a leading architect in the city at the time. Most notable is the cathedral’s spire, which is the tallest in Canada and second tallest in North America at 306 feet. It serves as the seat of the Bishop of Toronto and is one of the most important centres for worship in the city. It is a part of the living heritage of Toronto.

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BCE Place Gallery and Heritage Square

The BCE Gallery (aka Allen Lambert Galleria) is located within Brookfield Place, an office complex situated in the heart of Toronto’s downtown financial district. The office complex spans an entire city block and incorporates the Bay Wellington Tower and the TD Canada Trust Tower, which are joined together by the Galleria. The structure is constructed of inclined steel supports that rise upwards to form a vaulted ceiling representative of a forest canopy.

The BCE Gallery was designed in 1987 by noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The structure makes use of a number of innovative design and engineering techniques to create a unique space that harmoniously joins several different types of buildings and venues. The Galleria has become an important part of Toronto architecture in that it serves as a guide to successfully interfacing a variety of constructs created in more rigid and rigorist styles.


Lewis Kausel, Cecilia and Pendelton-Jullian, Ann Santiago Calatrava. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002

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University of Toronto Graduate House

The University of Toronto Graduate House architectural experiment was a success. It is a welcome experience to the academic and creative ambition that the university strongly encourages. Architect Thom Mayne’s deconstructionist principles towards design are evident in the harsh defensive exterior done in dark gray concrete and screens facing out onto the streets that contrast with the light and open interior courtyard; further showing the delamination occurring across the different portions of the building façade. The interior is minimal and bare, with densely packed programming and small but elegant accommodations for public space. The interior hallway, turned exterior cornice and signage to the main campus entry dominates the west elevation and proclaims loudly “University of Toronto” across the entire building length. Stephen Teeple, the co-architect, played his part in accommodating student living and creating usable and comfortable skip-stop apartment suites that separate private and public into two floors. The deconstruction of the exterior is reflected in the interior finishes of exposed concrete and steel framing, an innovative yet risky design strategy for student housing that had earned the building the Progressive Architecture Award, the Canadian Architecture Award, and the American Institute of Architects Award. The design is aggressive yet not obscene, and it does not try to offend, even though it has and will continue to do so in the near future. And for that experimental and innovative stance within downtown Toronto, it has earned our respect.

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Toronto Dominion Centre, built in collaboration with Mies van der Rohe, Bergman and Hamann, and John B. Parkin and Associates was originally constructed from 1963-67. Sandwiched between King and Wellington streets, the complex was the largest of its kind at the time of completion housing a multitude of shops, restaurants, cinema, parking garage and over 3 million square ft of office space. His international style focuses primarily on the element of flexibility and the ability to create a form influenced by function, not generated by it. The steel frame of the building supports a series of matte black I-beam mullions, fascia covers and glazing frames housing bronze-grey tinted glass. A 26 ft high glass wall is inset from the perimeter on the ground floor creating a large open entrance way creating a visual connection from street to street. In later years numerous additions and renovations where done to the site, adding four more smaller towers ranging in height from 22- 36 storeys constructed in a similar style as the original towers designed by Mies.

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Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts

The Four Seasons Centre for the performing arts opened in June 2006 at a cost of $150 million.  Architects Diamond + Schmitt made use of glass, steel, reinforced concrete and black brick cladding to create a play of rectangular solids and voids.  Emphasis was placed on acoustical quality over all other elements.  The site is situated across from Osgoode Hall, next to Toronto Sheraton Centre at the intersection of Queen Street and University Avenue.  The R. Frasier Elliot Hall, with approximately 2100 seats, is the central focus point of the building.  The 5 storey atrium lobby known as The City Room lights up the street like a lantern during performance nights, creating a dialogue with University Avenue.

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