For the BCE
Place competition Santiago Calatrava went beyond the brief and proposed a
full-blown architectural solution.
element is a towering gallery, with a roof over Heritage Square, that runs
the full length of the broad passage and penetrates the block from east to
west. This intervention gives form and meaning to spaces that otherwise
would have become isolated by a general lack of co-ordination.
traditional glazed and vaulted arcades of 19th century Europe, with their
purpose-built interior facades, the gallery has been conceived as a
free-standing element between existing buildings; a space defining function
that imposes a new point of orientation. Escalators, aligned along the main
galleryšs central axis, lead to Torontošs subterranean, central pedestrian
network. Calatravašs original scheme included an entrance from Garden Court
and Front Street with access beneath a mechanized, closing roof.
side of the main linear passage, inwardly inclined dendritic supports branch
out in a single plane to create a colonnade, which supports the imposing
parabolic vaults that rhythmically span the space.
The tight vaults, made of welded steel, resemble the timber structures that
Calatrava used for the barrel roof of Wohlen High School Hall.
continuous roof structure gives sequential direction to the 130 meters long,
14 meters wide and 27 meters high arcade. The arcade connects Heritage
Square, the Canada Trust Tower lobby, the relocated classicist Clarkson
Gordon Building, Garden Court and Bay Street. The five-story gallery
structure also continues out into the streetscape, where it establishes a
presence for BCE Place diagonally opposite Mies van der Rohešs Toronto
transition from Galleria to Heritage Square is marked by two large, rotating
glass panels. These ŗwings˛, which substitute for the more intricate folding
mechanism originally proposed, are set into the upper, intermediate space of
the existing arch structure. The arch is one of a series of masonry-clad
concrete facade frames that define the regular plan of the square (30 x 30
dendritic structure supports the glazed translucent roof of 9 intersecting
barrel vaults. The centerpiece of the covered square, also designed by
Calatrava, is a circular fountain of steel tubes, which opens like a flower.
Brookfield Development Corporation, Toronto.