Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2016 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2016 Recipient

Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

PLANT Architect Inc. in joint venture with Perkins + Will Canada (formerly Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners Inc.)

Lead design architect(s): 

Chris Pommer (PLANT Architect Inc.)
Andrew Frontini (Perkins+Will)

Viljo Revell’s Toronto City Hall (1965) is a well-loved Modernist icon. In 2007, the City of Toronto launched an international redesign competition for its 12-acre civic space, Nathan Phillips Square, which had become run-down and dysfunctional over time. Targeting LEED Gold, the winning design involved strategically rethinking the heritage-designated square to transform it into an exemplary 21st-century public space. Through the redesign or relocation of existing elements and a new series of buildings and gardens framing the open space, the revitalization enhances the functionality, versatility and appeal of Toronto’s signature civic space while augmenting its connectedness to its surroundings.

Jury Comment(s): 

"Nathan Phillips Square has long been the symbolic center of the city, but was too often left empty or littered with temporary structures. The courageous renovation and reprogramming of the square now makes it one of most sought after public spaces in Toronto. Carefully balancing Viljo Revell’s original design with new additions to support active uses in all seasons, it has become a hyper-democratic place. With purposefully designed spaces allowing people to unwind or be active, engage in collective experiences or seek solitude, the square accommodates many different users and uses. What makes this project so great is that it preserves the essentials of this historic square while adapting it for future generations.  The jury commends the architects, and city of Toronto for realizing this project, which has created one of the most outstanding public spaces in Canada."

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Images: Steven Evans