Art Gallery of Ontario - Stage III Expansion 12/01/87
The Evolving Institution
Art galleries have become an increasingly important part of the public life of our culture. The new institutions are characterized by the event of the building which provides a forum for public interaction and participation in the activities of the institution, as well as the viewing and interpretation of art. As the audience broadens and grows the Art Gallery of Ontario must project the evolving spirit of the institution; greater accessibility, a diversity of functions and events, and the continued development of a rich and varied collection.
As the gallery expands its role in the community, certain values remain constant. The building should embody the excellence and integrity sought for in the collections. The legibility of the facade, the richness of materials and the quality of detailing are vital components in the perception of the architecture as a participant in the display of art.
Presence in the City
The additions to the AGO on Dundas Street, Beverley Street and Grange Park project the vitality of the institution within its immediate context and give it an appropriate presence at the scale of the city. The building is conceived as a lively international centre for the visual arts; a gathering place for artists, teachers, students, scholars and the general public.
Layers of History
The expansion attempts to revalue the historical layers of the AGO building and make a coherent composition of the elements of the existing building in combination with the new components. The result is clear and composite; a reinforcement and an enhancement of the AGO, and a strong statement of the contemporary values of the institution.
Our scheme is conceptualized as three layers of building: the north additions comprised of tower, entrance court and galleries which address Dundas Street, the reorganization of public circulation and major galleries along a two level east-west spine which constitutes the middle layer of the project, and the south additions which address Grange Park, Grange House and Beverley Street.
The proposal contains three courts which correspond to the three layers of building. The new entrance Court accommodates ceremonial and everyday rrival on Dundas Street while th Walker Court provides a central interior court which acts a a stable nucleus to the galleries. The new Sculpture Court provides a skylit wintergarden for informal gatherings and a connection to the south addition and the back of the Grange House.
Two Distinct Facades
The project has two distinct fronts, one to Dundas Street and one to Grange Park. The massing respects the existing cornice line of the buildings; all additions above that height are treated as roof elements. The north additions comprised of the long vaulted gallery addition, the generous entrance court with its pyramidal roof, and the new entrance tower create a strong presentational image that express the urban character of the institution and locate it within the city.
The south additions; the sculpture court and the southwest wing are carefully massed to relate to the Grange House and park. The lower portion of the addition is faced in brick, and maintains the alignment of its cornice line with that of the Grange House and the adjacent OCA West Wing. A large outdoor sculpture terrace is created on the second floor and is accessible from the Prints and
Drawings Centre as well as from the Member's Lounge.
Entrance Tower and Canopy
The entrance tower on Dundas Street acts as a beacon for the Gallery and locates the new entry into the AGO. A continuous glass canopy along Dundas provides covered access into the museum shops and directs visitors to the main entrance.
The new Entrance Court provides a dramatic sense of arrival as well as direct access into the Gallery. The court is a double height space with full height columns supporting the mezzanine. The pyramidal roof is punctuated with small skylights which filter natural light into the court.
A double tier of Gallery shops are located on Dundas Street. The addition permits the Book Shop, Volunteers Shop and Poster Shop to have an individual direct street address which provides vitality and commercial activity along this stretch of Dundas Street.
New North Galleries
The galleries are located above the shops, below the vault along Dundas Street. The new gallery spaces provide an identifiable context to reinforce and highlight the special qualities of the contemporary art collections. The proportion and scale of the rooms provide for flexibility within the space to allow for adjustments over time and changes in the collection.
The reorganization of the public circulation on the first and second floors of the existing building creates a strong east-west circulation spine which increases accessiblity and clarity within the gallery for the Moore Gallery, the Irina Moore Gallery, the Zack's Gallery, the new Contemporary Galleries A,B, and C, the new Inuit Gallery, the Signy Eaton Gallery, as well as the J.S. McLean, John Ridley and Georgina Ridley Galleries. A special Henry Moore memorial room is incorporated into the tower and drawings and smaller pieces of the Moore collection are displayed at the mezzanine level of the entrance court.
The movement system through the gallery anticipates an increase in the number of visitors. The circulation is arranged as a sequence of defined spaces which provide a clear route. A new monumental stair, adjacent to the arrival court, and the existing stair and ramp are incorporated to provide access to the second floor. The three court spaces provide occasions to stop and view from the second to the first floor. Views to the exterior, to Dundas Street and to the Park, are provided from both the north and south additions.
Within the existing AGO the original exterior walls of the 1926 Darling & Pearson building which form the Walker court are exposed as an architectural artefact. On axis with the Walker Court a new opening provides views and access through the E.R. Wood Gallery and the new Sculpture Court to the Grange House beyond.
The new Scupture Court creates a double-height glazed space between the existing building and the Grange House with views to the south and the park setting. The facades of the two historic buildings; the Darling and Pearson building and the Grange House are exposed within the glass enclosure. Two grand stairs connect the Zack's gallery to the east and the new south wing to the west.
A smaller tower on Beverley Street marks the new south entrance for school and group tours. From the street, access is slong the park facade of the new south wing through an arcade to the entrance at the South Lobby. From this point groups descend to the Ground Level and to the four new Orientation theatres via the sequence of lower Lobby/Gallery spaces. The expanded Art Rental facility is also accommodated at this level with a spar te address on Beverley Street.
A new gallery and the restaurant facility are located at the first floor. Operable glass doors open along the arcade to the south and provide views to Grange Park. The second level houses the Prints and Drawings collections; the building steps back at this level deferring to the scale of Grange House and the adjacent OCA West Wing. A sculpture terrace behind the screen wall of the facade is accessible from the vaulted Members Lounge. The third and fourth floors with their gridded curtain wall elevations incorporate new administrative and curatorial offices, photographic services, archives and a new Board Room overlooking the sculpture court and the park. These new office spaces and accessible storage areas provide convivial places of work for gallery staff.
poured in place concrete or structural steel framing for north and south additions
steel framing for new sculpture court
stone at north addition
matching pre-cast at southwest addition with brick at lower southern portion to be compatible with existing masonry of the
Preformed duracron aluminum and glass curtain wall system at two levels of office space (floors 3 and 4).
insulated metal roofing system: anodized aluminum or prefinished steel panels at tower shafts, pyramid over entrance court, long vaults at north galleries and over the existing ramp and shallow vault over members' lounge
granite and marble patterned, in public areas
hardwood/carpet, in secondary public areas, offices, members lounge, boardroom
stainless steel and glass
This proposal assumes phased construction to allow the AGO to maintain operations and access to the public during the expansion work. The first phase would complete the additions to the south allowing the new entance on Beverley Street to act as a temporary m in entrance while the second phase--the north addition including Entrance Court, shops and galleries, is under construction.
The table below summarizes the actual areas sbown on our proposal for the AGO Expansion. The gross square footage is 9% greater than the Development Planning model. (Complete area breakdown of our scheme and the Development Planning Hodel is attached.)
It is anticipated that if our design proposal is accepted two approaches can be reviewed with the AGO with respect to the areas. The first would be to reduce the area of the south additions; the second to phase construction and allow the above grade portion of the sculpture court to be part of a later phase as more funds became available.
Statement by the Jury
"The jury has unanimously selected an architect, Barton Myers, whose attitudes, priorities, and sensitivities it has enthusiastically endorsed. The design strategies to complete the Third and Final Stage of the Art Gallery of Ontario expansion are strong. They address the major elements of entrance, street, park, and galleries. The new entrance is created as a distinct, new, and powerful space. A strongly defined northern boulevard is developed along Dundas, incorporating Gallery shops, weather protective canopies, and a rhythm of trees on both sides of the street.
The new elevations respond in scale and articulation to the existing Victorian architecture. The southwest addition bordering Grange Park integrates the existing historical buildings into a harmonious, well defined garden facade. The galleries are now coherently connected on two levels in a carefully considered sequence of rooms.
The Art Gallery of Ontario has evolved over time and constitutes an assemblage of pieces. As such one of the main challenges of the last phase of building is to give the museum legibility and a cohesive character. In creating a new architectural expression, the Stage Three extensions have respected the integrity of the earlier Gallery buildings."
(Specialized magazine excerpt)
12 scanned / 12 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Photograph of Model
- Photograph of Model
- Photograph of Model
- Conceptual Sketch
- Site Plan