TD Centre: An Architectural Mini-Utopia in Downtown Toronto Essay

TD Centre: An Architectural Mini-Utopia in Downtown Toronto Essay

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The TD Centre is a landmark of Toronto. It is one of the most recognizable elements of the downtown core. It has gained this status for two main reasons. The first one concerns its historical significance: the complex was one of the first of many skyscrapers built in the international style. The second reason is personified by the individual behind the planning and realization of the project: Mies van der Rohe. The building was the last high-rise the world-famous modernist created and therefore it embodied all of his concepts and beliefs on the international style. The complex as a whole stands out in the multitude of high-rises of the downtown core because of its typical, recognizable and repeated style. The original three point configuration by Mies has been expanded during the years with three new buildings by architectural firm Bregman and Hammond. Those new additions are different in the relationship they create and extend to the original buildings. In approaching the complex a distinct feature becomes clear. The complex itself is an urban extension of the international style. When entering the area both by car and as a pedestrian an individual is not only witness to a number of remarkable buildings but finds himself immersed in a modernist urban space. In this short analysis it is important to pay specific attention both to the type of construction and to the materials used. All of those elements are important in recognizing how the development of the TD Centre in the 60s shaped the architecture of downtown Toronto and became a widely imitated example of managing the public space surrounding a building.
In approaching the TD Centre one is immediately smitten and sucked into modernist architecture. This is more obvious when ...

... middle of paper ... be built in the International style in a city pervaded by traditional architecture. Furthermore Mies’ was not a typical architect but rather one of the original innovators of modernism, whom was creating in downtown Toronto the last of his high-rises. He wanted to inject as much Mies’ into the TD Centre as possible: it was in a way his stylistic will. The TD Centre was followed by a number of buildings: some imitated it while other tried to experiment in different styles. As a whole however the TD Centre was the engine that brought the international style to Toronto. Although it is now more than 40 years old it still holds its ground proudly. No other complex in Toronto is able to challenge TD’s regularity and solemnity. It is not only a group of high-rises built in a similar style. It is a modernist urban space. An architectural mini-utopia in downtown Toronto.

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