Latitude/Longitude: 43.6533, -79.3841
For a city with so much recent building and such a strong reputation as an attractive environment in which to live, Toronto has a notable shortage of original modern architecture. That it does have a Modernist New City Hall, however, is a credit to its citizens, who in a general plebiscite in the 1950s voted down a proposed Hall in the traditional Classical architectural style. Mayor Nathan Phillips continued to campaign for a Hall after that vote, and won approval for one in 1956 with the proposal to hold an international architectural competition. Viljo Revell’s design won that competition, beating 500 other entries; its selection is attributed to its sculptural quality and monumentality.
The New City Hall – actually Toronto’s fourth – comprises two curved towers, of unequal heights, built around a circular council chamber and public space, and providing a sculptural backdrop for Nathan Phillips Square. The south-facing concave surfaces of the towers are glazed, heating the offices beyond the capabilities of their air conditioning in summer; while the larger convex walls are the core of the building’s structure, formed entirely from ribbed concrete, with no window openings.
⇒ Architecture Guide to TORONTO