Toronto’s recent building boom has galvanized, as never before those living here to try to understand the riches of design skills and efforts going into all this change. Consequently, the May weekend festival of visits to architectural highlights, called DOORS OPEN, has become a hugely attractive event. This year, Jack Diamond, a principal figure of the world renowned Diamond and Schmitt Architectural firm, delivered a brilliant account of his project resulting in the new Montreal Concert Hall (Maison Symphonique de Montreal)—an account that penetrated to the heart of architectural genius.

He prefaced his power point disclosure by noting that architects often slide into powerful surface appearances and underestimate the need to provide effective overall functioning. Only when both the science and the poetry dovetail do we come to architecture worthy of it name (a metier alert to architectonics, to, that is, the developmental functions of spaces informed by the gamut of human endeavors).

As to his Montreal structure, he spoke at length about the acoustic issues of a hall, covering very complex phenomena in a way that could clearly impact for a novice. A master of great musical venues (having constructed to acclaim the New Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, his vast store of scientific initiatives is complemented by attention to the social as well as to the artistic experience of the audience; and the satisfaction of the performing artists.


Undeniably an incisive current of architectural fertility, Diamond’s concept of parity between the prosaic and the poetic may be a bit too dismissive of those priorities of “surface.” Here the north entry way to George Brown College’s Waterfront Medical Technology facility is all about poetic tripping. And it packs a serious punch!


The Old School Effort!


Perhaps roundly hated (by purists). But a place like Toronto can do with some sensual, soaring indulgences! Aw shucks is over.

IMG_5975 Merely tall?  Or refreshingly tall?


Very Old Toronto—it’s first bank, constructed in 1827. A medieval barrier to bank robbers.



The integrity of practical elements being very beautiful.



The foyer of George Brown College’s waterfront center. A place to take a deep breath. Is it as efficient as it could be? That’s about a hidden art—very significant but not dominant.



Birth of the Cool!


Uralita c1929; J. Mir Virgili; 39″ x 27″

An original vintage graphic design of the unglamorous but still strangely beautiful factors of construction design. This poster has been a favorite of architects through the years.


Yokogawa 75th Anniversary 1990; Kazumasa Nagai; 41″ X 29″

Here the architecturally alert, Kazumasa Nagai, celebrates a hi-tech firm’s attention to details adding up to a vibrantly animated big picture including the developmental consciousness of finite sensibility. Such heady issues are right at our doorstep now, bidding us to take them seriously.

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