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Frank Gehry’s supertall joins the growing list of high rises fuelling Toronto’s skyscraper boom

Tim Gibson

17 February 2021

FRANK GEHRY'S studio has released new renderings of the architect’s tallest project to date.

The two towers, rising to 302-metres and 266-metres respectively, are currently named the “Gehry Project” and join a number of smaller mixed use buildings as part of the King Street West development in Toronto.

The Canadian city is in the middle of a veritable skyscraper boom. Currently there are 30 buildings under construction that are over 150-metres high while a further 50 have been proposed.

At this rate, Toronto is on track to replace Chicago as the second city with the most skyscrapers in North America - behind New York.

Gehry’s proposal might be the most striking new addition to the city’s skyline; a pair of shiny metallic skyscrapers that appear as stacked boxes, decreasing in volume and twisting as they rise - in keeping with the architect’s playful style.

Above: The two towers will be a striking addition to the Toronto skyline, near the iconic CN Tower. Image courtesy of Gehry Partners LLC.

The towers have gone through several iterations since first being announced in 2012 as three towers, then redesigned in 2014 as two, then redesigned again in 2017 when their height and density were officially approved.

The new 2021 renderings represent a refining of the design and are our closest glimpse yet at what the final development will eventually look like.

The most significant change is a new podium which will better align with a nearby historical building and avoid obstructing views of the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre.

The buildings will have 84 floors and 74 floors, respectively, and will host space for the OCAD University (Ontario College of Art & Design University), as well as office, retail, and residential spaces.

Above: The 302-metre-high west tower will be Gehry's tallest project to date. Image courtesy of Gehry Partners LLC.

The project is a homecoming for Gehry who was born in Toronto, "With this project, I wanted to create an ensemble of buildings that were respectful to the city and referential to the Toronto that I once knew," the architect said in a press release.

"I wanted the two towers to each have their own personality, but I also wanted them to talk to each other, creating a dynamic and changing addition to the skyline depending where you were viewing them from in the city.”

While a significant addition to Toronto, these two towers are far from the tallest new buildings for the city.

The 312-metre-high SkyTower is currently the tallest building under construction in Canada. A slender, elliptical structure from architect David Pontarini, the mixed-use tower will have 840 condo units and form the anchor for a cluster of three high rises.

Above: The One (left) and SkyTower (right). Images courtesy of Foster + Partners and David Pontarini - Hariri Pontarini Architects.

The city has another supertall under construction; the 308-metre-high Foster + Partners-designed The One.

Another mixed-use skyscraper, The One will have 18-storeys dedicated to restaurants, events, retail, an Apple Store, and a luxury hotel, while above that will be 416 residential units.

A demand for housing is behind the city’s skyscraper boom, with more than 86 percent of new projects being residential.

The city has been experiencing a population surge largely driven by immigration, Toronto is now the fastest growing metropolitan area in all of North America.


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