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489-539 King Street West

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

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Renderings for the Toronto project were released on Feb. 23, 2016.

Project Description

Acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, principal of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), revealed his vision for a landmark block of Toronto's King Street West this evening. The capacity audience, from the worlds of architecture and design, arts and entertainment, government and academia, was assembled at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Ingels shared his views on how architecture can create communities while paying homage to Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie and Habitat 67, the groundbreaking model community he designed fifty years ago in Montreal.

"With King Street West, we wanted to find an alternative to the tower and podium you see a lot of in Toronto and revisit some of Safdie's revolutionary ideas, but rather than a utopian experiment on an island, have it nested into the heart of the city," said Bjarke Ingels. "It would be strange if one of the most diverse cities in the world had the most homogenous architecture."

During the second half of the evening's program, Ingels was joined on stage by a panel of prominent Toronto-based thinkers to discuss the power of city building as a means to achieve better outcomes for cities. Audience members were invited to pose questions to Ingels and the panel. Ian Gillespie, principal of Westbank Corp, led the event.

Panel participants included:
Bjarke Ingels, founder, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, TIFF; Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Past President and Vice Chancellor ofRyerson University; Richard M. Sommer, Dean, John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design,University of Toronto and Zahra Ebrahim, Co-CEO, Doblin Canada and Past Principal, archiTEXT. The evening's discussion was moderated by Denise Donlon.

"One of the questions we always look to answer in our design process is 'how can this project contribute to the community or to the city and what are the opportunities to make a positive impact?'" said Ian Gillespie, principal of Westbank. "As city builders, we're looking to produce better outcomes for cities and in this case the best possible contribution to the King and Spadina community," he added.
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