A TD executive team review deck contained a somewhat vaguely defined need for this project; a re imagined building that stands as a Toronto icon and encourages people to explore it. The vehicles for programing the building and attracting attention could be too difficult to maintain yet there needed to be a component of the building’s function that allows it to evolve and change over time. The working term that emerged was ‘interactive’ and the executive team agreed that large scale digital media of some sort is a potential type of application to achieve their goals. There was also a desire to reflect openness and a connection to both the local Toronto community and visitors from around the globe.
Upon reviewing the site location, what immediately struck me is the adjacency to surrounding Toronto architectural landmarks like the Old City Hall directly across the street. A prime tourist photo spot of this building is the corner where the bank branch is located. Competing for attention with this beautiful large building would be a challenge for the smallish bank branch nestled within two skyscrapers. It occurred to me that maybe the focus wasn’t the bank branch at all but everything else around.
Would it be possible for the TD Toronto Flagship to give a gift to the local community and visiting tourists, the gift of a brand new view. Considering the site, I imagined this would be the most interesting and unique way to make the location highly trafficked and a destination within the city of Toronto.
Existing TD branch located on a busy downtown Toronto corner.
View across the street of Old City Hall.
I thought that getting this building to have an active character required some careful consideration of a program. Except it had to be simple enough that it almost manages itself. My starting point with the idea came from places like the 10th Ave amphitheater on the Highline and the Sky Room at the top of the New Museum, both in New York City. These are spaces which primarily offer a unique view but also serve as a space for events. Even when nothing is happening there, something is happening and people love to take photos of what they see. So the main part of this concept is a new enclosed roof deck surrounded by glass which houses a multifunctional space including a cafe managed by a local Toronto barista.
Viewport functions as an event space to host programs like Creative Mornings, acoustic music performances, panel discussions and Meetups.
While this space serves as a place for people to gather, I wanted to have a unique experience of getting there from street level. I’ve had the opportunity to ride on an aircraft carrier elevator twice with a large group of people and this seemed to be a perfect way to move people together from street level up to the Viewport. The idea is to create a glass enclosed pad elevator that can move around 20-25 people at a time.
The lower level would include a couple of modules. TD would have a new banking center with ATMs. There could also be a TD retail area stocked with urban necessities like umbrellas, canvas bags, winter hats, and drinks/snacks vending. I’m thinking we humanize the digital display by creating a curtain instead of a hard wall. Exterior facing signage could be a more technologically advanced version of the mirrored exhibits panels at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain which reflect element of the surrounding city.
Viewport would be illuminated at night and overhang the sidewalk to provide shielding from the weather and potentially sidewalk video projection at night.