A beloved Toronto performance institution will soon be rebuilt with a fresh design, and new details are offering up a taste of the possibilities for the impending redevelopment of The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.
The 1,367-seat, dual auditorium theatre at Yonge and Front Streets is set to be demolished after over five decades of serving Toronto’s arts community, and the City is pressing forward with a plan to find the perfect replacement for the facility.
Despite a 2007 renovation breathing new life into the aging venue, the St. Lawrence complex would cost the city a staggering $42 million to maintain, as it is currently not up to accessibility and other standards.
With its fate decided by City Council in 2020, a design competition was started to select its replacement by TO Live, a city agency that manages and operates this and other venues.
Following the first stage of the competition, five teams — each including an Indigenous design partner — were shortlisted as finalists and invited to submit designs for the replacement St. Lawrence Centre, and those designs were revealed to the public this week.
Team 1: Brook McIlroy, Trahan Architects, and Hood Design Studio
Team 2: Diamond Schmitt, Smoke Architecture, and MVVA
Team 3: Hariri Pontarini, LMN Architects, Tawaw Collective, Smoke Architecture, and SLA
Team 4: RDHA, Mecanoo, Two Row Architect, and NAK Design Strategies
These designs will be judged by a jury of leaders from various fields, including culture, planning, urban design, architecture, Indigenous design, and landscape architecture.
Adjudication and selection of the winning design are expected to take place in March.