During Doors Open on May 27 and 28, nearly 150 of the city’s most interesting cultural, architectural and National Historic sites are open to the public, like the Ontario College of Art & Design’s Sharp Centre for Design. Admission is free and many sites are not usually open to the public. For a full list, visit www.doorsopen.org or pick up a guide during the event at the CBC Broadcasting Centre (250 Front St. W.).
The Ontario College of Art and Design’s Sharp Centre for Design opened officially on September 23, 2004. British architect Will Alsop of Alsop Architects worked jointly with Toronto’s Robbie/Young+Wright Architects to create the dramatic structure.THE DESIGN
Often described as a tabletop, the Sharp Centre takes the form of a parallelepiped (for the uninitiated, that’s a “3D rectangle”) and, with the help of 16 colourful steel legs, hovers 26 metres above the existing building. The black and white pixellated cladding is designed to play with the perception of scale.AT NIGHT
Part of the Sharp Centre’s charm is the way its appearance changes according to the time of day: from dusk until midnight, 16 large metal halide lights illuminate the underside.ACCLAIM
When the Royal Institute of British Architects honoured the design with a Worldwide Award, the judges described it as “courageous, bold and just a little insane.” It also won the award of excellence in the Building in Context category at the Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards.
ON THE GROUND
Alsop’s hovering design is due in some part to residents’ concern that access to Grange Park be maintained.FROM WITHIN
The view from any one of of the Sharp Centre’s many windows offers a memorable look at the bustling city below.—Flannery Dean