CreateTO and TO Live announced the winners of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (STLC) Design Competition. The team selected to renew the venerable arts venue includes Hariri Pontarini Architects, LMN Architects, Tawaw Architecture Collective, Smoke Architecture, and SLA.
The winning design for STLC NEXT is called, not surprising, Transparence, and is based around the concept of openness, with a unified approach that includes both constructed and natural environments.
A transparent façade of high-performance glass will wrap around the existing structure that has traditionally had a main entrance on the north side of Front Street East. Glazed surfaces will reflect light coming from the north, with a texture that emulates the fabric of curtains. A mesh structure adds shimmer to the west side of the façade. Colour, wood and other textures from the interior will be visible through the multi-layered structure.
The L-shaped plan is intended on creating a new, and more open, experience from the street side. The design essentially shifts the focus of the building by putting the Main Theatre on Scott Street. The street view of a shimmering wall of glass will be complemented by a row of trees. An overhanging structure creates an outdoor space, including a space for outdoor performances.
Beyond the building, trees and colourful perennials will add an urban green space that extends to the Scott Street Plaza, created to the west. The design envisions the block as a hub for arts and performance.
Indigenous aesthetics have been incorporated into the overall design, including the Wampum belt inspired concept of the exterior. A ceremonial fire in the shape of a circle will be built at Front and Scott streets.
The decision was made by a seven-member jury with members steeped in the worlds of culture, planning, urban design and architecture, Indigenous design, and landscape architecture. The designs were presented at a live event on March 7 to over 300 people, with another 600 participating online. That community was given the chance to voice their input in the form of online comments. Each of the five shortlisted teams included an Indigenous design partner.
Meg Graham, Partner, Superkül and Jury Chair commented in a media release. “Inspired by TO Live’s powerful vision for the future of the Centre as a radically dynamic and open platform for the arts, the five shortlisted design teams delivered schemes that were diverse in their approach, each of them deeply creative and thoughtful. In rotating the main theatre and wrapping it with a lobby open across its north and west edges to the street and a new plaza on Scott Street, the winning scheme by Hariri Pontarini Architects, LMN Architects, Tawaw Architecture Collective, Smoke Architecture, and SLA masterfully brings the theatre to the street, and the street to the theatre — creating in one deft move a seamless theatre and civic space open to the world.”
CreateTO is the City of Toronto’s real estate agency, and TO Live operates three venues: Meridian Hall, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, and Meridian Arts Centre, among other projects.
What’s next? The winning submission will be presented to Executive Committee and Toronto City Council in Q3, 2023.
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