Toronto, like the Senate of Canada, seems ever fated to be the place for sober second thought. Blessed with undeniable urban vitality, it is yet weighted down by a serious case of the 'what-ifs', by the burden of histories it doesn't have. Some of these histories never existed; others have been demolished.
Originally published in 1987, Toronto Modern was prepared as a catalogue to accompany the eponymous exhibition organized by the Bureau of Architecture and Urbanism (BAU), a group of architects devoted to the recognition and preservation of Toronto's Modernist architectural heritage. Initially formed in response to the unfortunate demolition of George A. Robb's 1955 Bulova Tower (to make way for the Molson Indy racetrack!), the BAU was instrumental in challenging and revising Modernism's reputation as an aberrant temporary interruption of the Western classical tradition. They strove to emphasize the differences - both physically and theoretically - between European Modernism and our own homegrown brand, arguing for the historical and economic significance, charm and dynamism of some of Toronto's most interesting and storied buildings, including the O'Keefe Centre, Massey College, the Toronto-Dominion Centre and City Hall.
This new edition of the catalogue includes the original five critical essays (featuring Ruth Cawker on the design of the University of Toronto and Brigitte Shim on Don Mills, the first large-scaled modern community of the post-war era developed solely by private enterprise), in-depth analyses of ten individual structures, hundreds of black-and-white photographs (many new) by Steven Evans and a timeline detailing the historical and architectural events of the period. This is augmented by a new introduction by Marco Polo, Assistant Professor at Ryerson and Editorial Director of Canadian Architect, bringing readers up to speed on developments since the original exhibition and providing commentary on its impact.
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THE BUREAU OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM was founded in 1985 and its original members consisted of architects Detlef Martins, Marc Baraness, Ruth Cawker, Brigitte Shim and George Kapelos.
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