Set in the heart of Toronto’s historic Garment District, Ace Hotel Toronto's character and material palette recall the robustness of the surrounding brick-and-beam factories and
Forged from a close, yearslong collaboration between Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and Atelier Ace, Ace Hotel Toronto utilizes materials valued for their intrinsic strength, integrity and tactility, employing the simple and functional to craft something spectacular. The materials also evoke a Canadian feeling, marking Ace’s first home in the country. Although a new building, the design captures a layered sense of time to feel at home among its surroundings and obfuscates its own age.
In an area lacking shared spaces, the building is envisioned as a civic building that is a crucial part of its neighbourhood and city. Easily visible from the street, the entry way and lobby extends the public realm and becomes an inviting living room within the community. The monumental scale of the triple-height spaces lobby is complemented by more intimate spaces where warm light, rich textures, and striking original art shape spaces for conversation.
Located across from St. Andrew's Park, a significant downtown green space, the neighborhood hotel is within walking distance of local attractions and public transit. The guest rooms look out upon the park, as it evolves throughout the seasons.
Featuring 14 above-ground stories and four basement levels, the 123-room hotel includes an expansive public lobby at the ground level; Alder, a signature restaurant on the lower level; second-level meeting rooms; and Evangeline, a rooftop lounge and bar.
Red brick is Toronto’s material, and the hotel’s red clay facade recalls the important role bricks played in forming the city’s visual identity. A statement of resistance against recent glassy developments in the area, the symbolic brick reaches back in time to pay homage to bygone buildings, allowing the structure to feel a part of its context.
A rhythmic series of soaring, poured-in-place, steel-edged concrete structural arches rise from below grade to a level above. Each frame terminates with an oversize industrial steel “knuckle” that transfers the load from above to the foundations below. Initially set in wood forms, the concrete features the appearance of textural wood grain, mixing and matching material and pattern playfully. The lobby, clad in red oak lining, is hung by slender steel rods from these massive supports, which carve out the boundaries of the space. Intended to feel as if it were slipped into an existing structure, the lobby’s suspension creates the sensation of levity within the massive, muscular space. Oversized glass windows offer onlookers clues to the intricate spaces within while filling the interiors with daylight.
Ace Hotel Toronto stands as testament to the quiet but regenerative power that thoughtful architecture and design can have on its environment. As it pays homage to what came before, the hotel is simultaneously attuned to what is yet to come; the building is a civic space, crafted as a home for creative thinkers from near and far, and represents a long-term investment in the city it serves.
Brigitte Shim and A. Howard Sutcliffe formed the architectural design practice Shim-Sutcliffe Architects in 1994.
Their critical design practice reflects their shared interest in and passion for the integration and interrelated scales of architecture, landscape, and interior and industrial design.
To date, Shim and Sutcliffe have received sixteen Governor General’s Medals and Awards for architecture as well as an American Institute of Architects National Honor Award, among many other professional accolades.