Monday, September 20, 2010

From cars to conventions... the re-birth of the Automotive Building

The design of the Automotive Building – completed in 1929 and located at 105 Princes' Boulevard, Toronto (on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, fondly known as the 'Ex') – involved a competition with 36 entrants.

The competition winner, Douglas Kertland (1880 – 1982), created what I consider to be the finest example of the 'Stripped Classical' style in Toronto.

The facade of the 120,000 square-foot, two-level facility – built as a showcase for the latest cars, buses and trucks, as well as automotive accessories – featured ribbed pilasters, round arched entries, a decorative moulding and ornamental metal grilles. (For more info, see pages 67 – 69 of Art Deco Architecture in Toronto.)

Here are some photos of the building from 1993 (prior to its major renovation):

Green, cast-iron spandrel panel with multiple planes.

Notice decorative carved owl atop smooth pilaster.

Metal grille covering blind windows contains stylized floral motifs.

In the fall of 2009, after an extensive renovation, the building was reopened as The Allstream Centre, a state-of-the-art convention centre.

Click here to view a photo of the renovated exterior.

The article below, written by The Toronto Star's architecture reporter Christopher Hume at the time of the renovated building's opening, includes a photo of the interior.

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