Saturday, September 25, 2010

Toronto Art Deco book an award finalist!

I'm delighted to announce that my book has been named a 'Finalist' in 2010 Heritage Toronto Awards! 

For info on the awards (or to possibly attend if you're in Toronto!), click here

To read about the other finalists, click here.

Note: Another book finalist is Glenn McArthur's A Progressive Traditionalist: John M. Lyle, Architect (Coach House Books, 2009). This excellent book is the 'definitive work' on the life and work of the man who, in my opinion, was English-Canada's premier architect of the first half of the 20th century, and a master and promoter of 'Canadian-themed' Deco architecture.

How Toronto's Deco skyscrapers looked in the 1960s

This photo is from a post on BlogTO, which features some wonderful photos of the Toronto skyline back in the 1960s, largely before the downtown development craze that deprived us today of such Deco landmarks as the Toronto Star (1929, Chapman and Oxley, demolished 1970).

(For those of us who didn't grow up in Toronto in the Sixties, it's easy to understand what an impact the arrival of the TD Centre made when you study this photo!)

Hopefully our 'community' (political leaders, but ultimately, citizens like you and me) can exercise better judgment a half-century from now in determining which of today's skyscrapers are worth saving and which aren't...

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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Si, there's Art Deco in Puerto Rico!

I just heard about the newly formed Puerto Rico Art Deco Society.

Check out their new website to see some terrific images of tropical style Deco and Moderne buildings. It also contains excellent links to Art Deco societies and other organizations around the world.