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Extension of a Medical Center Casey House

Imposing and Sensitive

Hariri Pontarini Architects

Toronto has come comparatively late to the role of Global City. It is only in the past few decades that this sober Victorian settlement has constructed skyward Downtown and expanded laterally across the flat plains that are interrupted on occasion by ravines burrowing down to the shore of Lake Ontario. The conurbation is simultaneously geometric, or manmade, and natural, as a limitless grid of Descartes or Jefferson or their British colonial descendants animated and given character by surviving pockets of rock and water and plant life. Thanks in part to the recentness of Toronto’s urban growth and real estate boom, more buildings, or fragments of buildings, seem to have survived here, in Canada’s business center, compared to other North American metropolises. In fact, Toronto’s architects have developed impressive sensitivities to the integration of heritage structures into strikingly modern complexes, institutions or commercial developments with renovated older buildings that continue to address the public street and larger, unmistakably new buildings immediately behind the old or to one side. Recently completed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, Casey House is the latest in this bipartite typology of old and new, a typology that allows historic or significant elements of the urban landscape to coexist with the new and the functional. Such design decisions, one might claim, mix the rational with the emotional, pragmatism and memory, as if the planning grid of the city and the cherished remnants of nature are synthesized as symbols of the place, the Toronto conurbation, that these multipart architectural projects call home. Hariri Pontarini Architects have attracted notice, internationally, for the extraordinary Bahá’í Temple of South America completed in 2016 in the foothills of the Andes, on the outskirts of Santiago de Chile. Awarded through competition, remarkable for its translucency and its calibration of structural...

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