Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2010 Recipient | Royal Architectural Institute of Canada

Governor General's Medals in Architecture — 2010 Recipient

Corkin Gallery
Award Category: 
Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Inc.

Lead design architect(s): 

Brigitte Shim, FRAIC
Howard Sutcliffe, MRAIC

A former pure spirit storage room becomes a contemporary gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District. The legibility of the existing elements and their relationship to new insertions are fundamental to the design proposition. By judiciously removing only a few elements, clear strong spaces that respect the industrial nature and its associated scale are created within and above the existing walls and columns. Multiplicity of levels and range of heights create a varied and layered space. New elements are detailed to connect sensitively to their century-old substrates, and provide a layer of human-scaled elements in a dramatically volumetric space.

Jury Comment(s): 

"An intelligent adaptation of the distillery infrastructure, re-purposing the building to effective ends.  The project shows that it is not enough to preserve the “history” of the building with a passive voice, but instead requires a strategic intervention, drawing out its latent qualities and giving it renewed meaning.  Delivered with impeccable detailing, the project distinguishes between the old and the new – a well-rehearsed genre – but here brings the two into seamless and inventive cohesion."

"The contemporary insertion is careful and clever, creating a spatial complexity that the original building lacked – while maintaining all the old structural elements.  The dialogue between old and new is respectful and makes a better building that the simple sum of the elements used."

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photos: James Dow