© Copyright ATA Architects Inc.
All rights reserved. 2012
At the time of its construction in 1978, the 46 floor Palace Pier Tower was considered to be the tallest residential structure in Canada and is considered to be one of the first major luxury condominiums to be built in Toronto’s west end. Palace Pier and its sister Palace Place visually form the gateway between the Humber Bay Shores neighbourhood of Etobicoke and Toronto’s downtown waterfront. Both towers offer views of the City’s skyline and Lake Ontario. Considerable time, however, had passed since the construction of the Palace Pier. The condominium corporation representing the building’s residents, felt that the entrance needed revitalization. The project as part of a renewal program to regain the buildings’ prestige and status among the newer condominium’s both those built and under construction.
ATA was retained to design a new entrance canopy. The landscape firm of Baker Turner was already engaged and was proposing to create an open piazza. The design intent for the canopy was to replace the traditional post modern stucco canopy with a design more compatible with the clean modernisms of the condo building. ATA followed with a dramatic free flowing canopy of glass and steel. It was larger and longer than the existing canopy to facilitate the arrival of more than one vehicle at the entrance.
The canopy’s arching, fluid form provides a sense of movement. Its visual lightness is both complementary and a counterpoint to the glass and metal tower rising above it. Its unique design establishes the entrance as a visual focus at the street level. It is a bold place maker.
In the evening, the canopy transforms into a glowing beacon. It clearly defines the entrance guiding visitors and residents to the front entrance while imparting a sense of arrival and of place. Under its curving ribs clad in glass, one’s emotions are stirred by the beauty of the form. It is dynamic and voluptuous. The execution of the canopy design was a “labour of love” by many professionals and trades to create a form that is both sculpture and canopy.