toronto City Hall

Rooftopping Toronto: Rising Above Brutalism At City Hall

At the peak of the concrete behemoth in the middle of downtown Toronto we all know as Toronto City Hall lies a spectacular view. The love/hate brutalist design of the building itself hides its grace at its very pinnacle, it would seem.

It is disconcerting that this vantage point is hidden away from so many, for so much of the year. That being said, whenever I snatch a chance to rise above the sterile eye-shaped structure, I make sure to take my time to gaze about.

The rather severe fences and walls surrounding adjacent

New City Hall

Osgoode Hall

New City Hall

have always marred my view of the building as a complete picture, so viewing the beautiful building from above was quite a treat...

Looking Eastward, I caught a glimpse of some older material, rooftopping-wise...

New City Hall


New City Hall

The view a bit farther South revealed some familiar smoke stacks...

New City Hall


New City Hall


New City Hall

Glancing up Bay Street, the new(ish) Ryerson/Canadian Tire et al building revealed itself to contain a courtyard - something I would never have guessed at street level, given its rather dull and purposive big-box-esque exterior...

I read once that the interior curvature of City Hall itself is supposed to give a sense of embrace and safety. From this view, it seemed more like an enveloping crunch...

Across the way is the stunning Canada Life building, whose top always gives us a tip as to the weather...

New City HallNew City Hall

For years I have struggled to like this wild-child of the 60s; Modernist-Brutalism has never been my taste, yet its architectural prevalence leads me to the conclusion that I am merely 'missing the point', aesthetically speaking.

In an attempt to rise above my own biases and properly incorporate these bizarre shapes into an urban milieu in my own mind, then, I choose to use these concrete giants as pedestals. To maintain a fluid yet unique self-concept of city, it is often necessary to use those seeming oddities as a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves, as tools rather than obstacles.

New City Hall



(To see the rest of the photo set, as well as high-res. versions of those above, you can check out my flickr slide-show below.)


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