rfmcdonald: (photo)
Not a public laneway #toronto #skyline #condos #tower #laneway #alley #downtown


Signs notwithstanding, this laneway separating all these condo towers does at least look like a real street.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
CN Tower in red and blue #toronto #artgalleryofontario #cntower #skyline #red #blue #lights #night


The rear staircase of the Art Gallery of Ontario, extending five stories above Grange Park and overlooking the skyline of downtown Toronto, offers dramatic vistas.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Last night, I went downtown to King Station to take in the latest high-profile public artwork by Montréal artist Aude Moreau, "Less Is More Or." The choice of the Toronto-Dominion Centre, and of the use of the Mies van der Rohe phrase "Less is more", and the use of lights on the night skyline, was inspired.

"Less is more or" (1) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (2) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (3) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (4) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (5) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (6) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (7) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (7) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (8) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (9) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism


"Less is more or" (10) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism #roundhousepark


"Less is more or" (11) #toronto #financialdistrict #torontodominioncentre #audemoreau #lessismoreor #lights #tower #skyscraper #miesvanderrohe #minimalism #roundhousepark


This press release explains the work--its creator's intent, its scale, its viewability.

Over the Labour Day weekend, Toronto's original skyscrapers will be used as colossal canvases for the largest public art project of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, artist Aude Moreau will use lit and unlit windows on the top ten floors of the Toronto-Dominion Centre's towers to form the words "LESS IS MORE OR" in hundred-foot-tall glowing letters. Building on the phrase made famous by TD Centre's luminary modernist architect Mies van der Rohe, the ambitious artwork is presented by Cadillac Fairview and TD Bank Group as part of TD Centre's 50th anniversary celebrations.

"Fifty years on, these towers have left an indelible mark on our skyline and helped transform Toronto into the world-class city it is today," said David Hoffman, TD Centre General Manager. "This remarkable artistic endeavor reflects TD Centre's bold vision and ongoing leadership in design excellence, innovation and sustainability – none of which would have been possible without the collaboration and support of our tenants and the community."

The ambitious undertaking has required months of planning and preparation, as well as the help and cooperation of tenants across the complex. Five electrical contractors – Guild, Ainsworth, Symtech, Plan and ACML – donated their services to temporarily reconfigure the buildings' automated lighting systems, while a crew of staff and volunteers will work to open and close blinds on over 6,000 windows across the TD Centre's five towers.

"When Aude Moreau proposed the project almost a year ago, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to partake in a public art installation of this magnitude," Andrea Barrack, VP, Community Relations and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. "TD has been a proud supporter of the arts in Canada for decades. The creative and innovative manner in which Moreau celebrates the architecture and legacy of Mies van der Rohe is just another example of how Canadian artists are continuing to raise the bar in contemporary art."

[. . .

By adding the word "or" to Mies van der Rohe's statement on minimalism, Moreau invites the viewer to reconsider the values of modernism - to reinvestigate the architect's famous words, to reconsider the values of openness and transparency in the modern world, and to complicate the phrase, leaving it open to a multiplicity of viewpoints. The work revisits the interpretation of the evolution of modernism and the possibilities of what is to come.


My thanks to Paul for pointing me towards Roundhouse Park, to the southwest of the Toronto-Dominion Centre at the foot of the CN Tower, as a viewing point. The last two photos in the series were taken there, while the other nine were taken as I was either approaching or exploring the complex.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Towers of the Toronto-Dominion Centre #toronto #financialdistrict #tdcentre #torontodominioncentre #architecture #evening


I love the black Mies van der Rohe towers of the Toronto-Dominion Centre.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
One New York City poster of three


Two New York City posters of three


I bought these posters, neatly framed behind glass, from a now-defunct store in downtown Charlottetown--Zellers?--when I was 10 or so. These posters have remained on my bedroom wall ever since, even after I moved. From skyscraper skylines on my walls to skyscraper skylines outside my walls, I've gone.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
The high-rise towers of St. James Town, a neighbourhood inspired by Le Corbusier just southeast of Yonge and Bloor, might have a bad reputation stemming from the towers' substandard construction and the poverty of the neighbourhood. The towers themselves can still look quite stunning, against the background of (for instance) a drizzly day and a cloudy sky.

Towers of St. James Town (1)


Towers of St. James Town (2)


Towers of St. James Town (3)


Towers of St. James Town (4)


Towers of St. James Town (5)


Towers of St. James Town (6)


Towers of St. James Town (7)


Towers of St. James Town (8)


Towers of St. James Town (9)


Towers of St. James Town (10)
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Yesterday morning, I got off from the shuttlebus at Yonge and Bloor and decided to look up. The towers that are on three corners of this intersection are tall, One Bloor East being particularly fetching. The southwest corner that was formerly home to Stollery's is vacant, but I entirely expect it to be filled.

Looking up at the Bay


Looking up at CIBC


Looking past the former Stollery's


Looking up at One Bloor East
rfmcdonald: (Default)
The Financial Post carries Alastair Sharp's Reuters report noting that debt-laden Trump Tower here in Toronto has not received any bids, and that the bank that is its main debt holder is likely to take the building.

The court-run sale of a downtown Toronto high-rise bearing the name of U.S. President Donald Trump received no initial bids and ownership will likely fall to its main debt holder, a letter from the receiver showed.

The court process only indirectly involves Trump, whose sprawling business empire licenses its brand and manages the Toronto property on behalf of the developer, Talon International Inc. But the Trump International Hotel & Tower’s new owner will need to navigate an unresolved dispute over whether they can get out of that arrangement.

No qualified bids apart from a stalking horse offer of $298 million were received for the luxury hotel and condo property by an initial deadline, the receiver, FTI Consulting, said in a letter dated Feb. 21 and seen by Reuters on Monday.

“As a result, the Receiver has determined that the Stalking Horse Bidder is the Successful Bidder,” the letter said.

With no rival bidders emerging, the hotel’s ownership will likely fall to JCF Capital ULC, which on Sept. 29 bought the $301 million owed on the tower’s construction loan, before quickly moving to initiate the sale process.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Looking northwest, Church and Wellesley


In the afternoon light, the condo towers of the Yonge and Bloor area loom over Church and Wellesley. The northwest corner of this intersection is likewise set for a massive transformation, a condoization. This scene will not be here for much longer.
rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • Beyond the Beyond links to a US military science fiction contest.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly notes that journalism is meant to offer criticisms of the president.

  • Crooked Timber has an open forum about the inauguration.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos from seminal 1980-era London club Billy's.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper reporting on a superflare on brown dwarf EPIC 220186653.

  • A Fistful of Euros' features Doug Merrill's meditations on 2009 and 2017.

  • Language Log looks at the etymology of the Vietnamese name "Nguyen."

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Donald Trump's desire for a military parade.

  • The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump as a winner.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a book on the economics of skyscrapers and notes a skyscraper boom in China.

  • Steve Munro looks at buses and their distribution on TTC networks.

  • Transit Toronto looks at how Exhibition Place work will complicate multiple bus routes.

  • Window on Eurasia notes low levels of Russian productivity, shares a Russian argument as to why Russia and the United States can never be allies in the long term, looks at counterproductive Russian interference in Circassian diaspora institutions, and shares argument suggesting Trump's style of language explains why he wants to forego complicated multilateral negotiations for bilateral ones where he can dominate.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
Writing for WBEZ, Jesse Dukes and Jen Masengarb lead an interesting thought experiment: What will become of Chicago's Willis Tower in 150 years? The answer, they suggest in their fascinating piece, has much to do with what will happen to Chicago generally.

When Chicago was still celebrating the end of the Civil War, the city had a population of roughly 200,000 people. The most memorable structure from that era, the Water Tower, was still three years from construction. Today, 150 years later, the city’s population has grown by more than 1,200 percent, and the city’s tallest building, the Willis Tower, is more than 1,300 feet taller than the height of Chicago’s tallest building in 1866.

This is all to say a lot can change in 150 years. Which makes our question, from engineer Bill Muscat, pretty challenging:

What do we do in 150 years when our current buildings are too old? What do we do with an old Willis Tower?

Bill asked because he’s noticed that some of Chicago’s earliest skyscrapers — buildings he considers iconic — have been demolished recently. The first generation of skyscrapers is about 120 years old, so he picked a timeframe of 150 years, figuring that the Willis Tower would be pretty worn out by then. The tower was originally constructed in 1973 for the Sears Roebuck & Company headquarters, then renamed in 2009 by Willis Holding Group, who obtained naming rights as part of a lease agreement.

Bill’s question is based on the premise a building can become “too old.” That’s only partially true. The structural steel in a building like the Willis Tower could last for thousands of years, as long as it is climate-controlled and protected from the elements. The building’s cladding and systems (electricity, plumbing, HVAC) can certainly wear out, but they can also be maintained indefinitely, and even updated, as long as the building owners can afford it.

Bill’s question’s appealing because it gives all of us license to become amateur futurists, but in a focused way. As we reported an answer for Bill, we heard that when you think about the future of tall buildings in cities, it’s useful to consider why we build very tall buildings in the first place.

In 1900, architect Cass Gilbert famously described a skyscraper as a “machine that makes the land pay.” While tall buildings are certainly impacted by demand for space, client or city image, it’s economics that truly drives the construction of skyscrapers. Developers seek to maximize the rent that a single parcel generates. Urban districts with expensive land tend to have tall buildings, because those buildings have more floors, more square feet, and therefore, more revenue potential.

But calculations about whether a particular skyscraper “makes the land pay” are deeply entwined with the fate of the building’s immediate neighborhood, and the city in general. The building, its neighborhood and its city — each can change, and so can the relationships between them.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Fort York, looking east #toronto #fortyork #skyline


When I was solicited by Flickr to submit my best photo to their Your Best Shot 2016 group, it took me only a moment for me to make my choice.

The above photo is a full version of a squared-off photo I took on Instagram late this May, while I was exploring Fort York on Doors Open. Beyond the low stone wall of the fort's northern rim, everything stretches out: First the rest of the fort, then the glittering condo towers of the waterfront and the CN Tower. This photo is the background image I use on my various mobile devices: It just works that much for me.
rfmcdonald: (obscura)


I found this black-and-white photo depicting the Toronto skyline circa 1971 at Tumblr's Fuck Yeah Toronto. I could not find a source for this image, which is a pity since it does provide a lovely overview of downtown Toronto in the early 1970s. The skyscrapers of the Financial District are mostly there, but the CN Tower is still under construction and vast wastes stretch out to the Lake Ontario shoreline.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Enduring mist, 2 #toronto #yongeandeglinton #condos #tower #clouds #fog #mist


There was heavy fog yesterday all along Yonge Street, from the downtown to the midtown. Even in afternoon, tall towers like these were cloaked.

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