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    24 October 2017 |

    Curtain rises, again, on Ontario Place’s Cinesphere

    Alex Bozikovic | Orginal Article Link

    The theatre, which will open to the public in November, is part of a vision to transform Toronto’s waterfront into a widely accessible park

    Ontario Place is coming back to life.

    The province will announce this week that the site’s Cinesphere theatre will open to the public in November for regular events and screenings. Following that, the waterfront site, just west of Toronto’s downtown core, will host a series of public events this winter. It’s part of a vision to transform it into a widely accessible park for downtown Toronto that will also be a hub for cultural and sports events.

    “We imagine a new series of pavilions and experiences along the lakeshore that will be worth the drive, or the bike ride, to go down there and spend time,” says Alex Josephson, with the architecture firm Partisans.

    Partisans, together with landscape architects at Janet Rosenberg & Studio and other consultants, have won the job to provide a vision for the interim revitalization of the site, and then to create detailed designs. The first stage of the work was a quick renovation of the Cinesphere for the Toronto International Film Festival in September; now the team is working on a renovation to the landscape and existing buildings.

    The designers’ ambition is to treat the existing site, which opened in 1971 with designs by architect Eberhard Zeidler and landscape architect Michael Hough, as a venue for a variety of temporary events. The Cinesphere, housed in a 19-metre dome, and the “pods” – large, glassed-in exhibition halls that stand on pylons above Lake Ontario – will house a variety of events. Ontario Place “should be a platform that can adapt and change as the world around us changes,” said general manager Nancy Rowland.

    “We’re recognizing that the pods themselves and the Cinesphere are really the heart of Ontario Place,” Ms. Rowland added. She said Ontario Place staff are exploring film screenings and other uses of the Cinesphere. “We’re trying to get them back into use. They’ve been inaccessible for a long time.”

    This means dealing with a considerable design legacy – a set of radical buildings that were the province’s answer to Montreal’s Expo 67. Mr. Zeidler adopted the technical ambition of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and Frei Otto‘s West German Pavilion. In these buildings, Mr. Zeidler has written, “the technological possibilities of their day… were crystallized in a form that finally became an expression of their time.”

    Ontario Place “is an icon,” says Pooya Baktash, who leads Partisans along with Jonathan Friedman and Mr. Josephson.

    The details of the design and programming are still being developed, Ms. Rowland said. But Mr. Josephson said: “We’re imaging a series of pavilions and lookouts that could range in use from reading room to a lookout to fire pits to bike trails. And a sauna; imagine polar bear dipping in Lake Ontario.”

    Partisans’s best-known projects include a sculptural private sauna on Georgian Bay, but the office is also working on new retail spaces in Union Station and completed the temporary fitout of the Hearn Generation Station for the Luminato Festival in 2016.

    RLTD news
    25
    April
    2017

    Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods and CN Tower receive 2017 Prix du XXe siècle

    The National Trust for Canada, in partnership with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), announces the Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods and the CN Tower as recipients of the 2017 Prix du XXe siècle – recognized for their enduring excellence and national significance to Canada’s architectural legacy. Ontario Place’s dramatic structures by Toronto architect […]

    12
    November
    2014

    Ontario Place, Toronto

    By: All Images courtesy of Zeidler Partnership Architects This article originally appeared in the docomomo US web site on November 12, 2014 Designed as an inclusive space for public entertainment, education, culture and recreation, Ontario Place is an internationally renowned, urban waterfront park in Toronto. With its integrated environment of parkland, lagoons and megastructures, Ontario Place crystallized […]

    2
    August
    2014

    Ontario Place’s entire site identified as a Place of Provincial Cultural Significance

    As part of the recently released plan to revitalize Ontario Place, which closed in 2012, the province designated the entire Ontario Place site, as a provincial heritage property of provincial significance.  Attached below is the statement of cultural heritage value. Description of the property Ontario Place is located off the shore of Lake Ontario on Toronto’s […]

    31
    July
    2014

    Construction set to begin on first phase of Ontario Place revitalization

    The provincial government says it will start the first phase of its planned Ontario Place revitalization in the next few months. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau says construction is expected to begin soon on the first phase of the project — a new urban park and waterfront trail expected to open in […]

    12
    June
    2012

    Ontario Place: A Modernist cultural landscape at risk

    An internationally renowned urban waterfront park, Toronto’s unique futuristic site called Ontario Place captured the avant-garde architectural ideas of the late 1960s. It’s closing for some badly needed attention that, unfortunately, could include demolition of its most historic features. Learn more! This article is featured in the latest edition of Heritage Magazine available through the […]

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