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Seeing Toronto Through the Eyes of an Architect

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

With travel being a constant in the Studio members growing years, understanding a city always happened through landmarks. Landmarks are loved by locals, and are endearing to foreigners. They become more than just tourist traps or destinations; they tell a story of the history of a place or set the foundation for the architectural future of the city

When the Studio moved to Toronto, we found the city was littered with architectectural gems; some celebrated, some forgotten and some destined for an untimely “death”. In fact, when we arrived in Toronto, Libeskind’s contemporary renovation to the conservative architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum was just about to open. Toronto was, once again after the CN Tower and Toronto City Hall, put on the international map. When followed by Will Alsop’s equally stunning and surreal contemporary addition to OCAD University that punctured Toronto’s skyline with a unique blend of design genius and a hint of things to come, we knew we were in a city that was only learning to take architectural risks while still celebrating its heritage. The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Aga Khan Museum were two more contemporary landmarks established by starchitects that solidified Toronto’s place on the architectural map. Though not as big a risk taker as her European counterparts, Toronto retained its image as a blend of the old and the new, creating a new architectural trend of sorts; something we see seeping into new condominium developments.

All this excitement, only meant that we had to capture it will equal vigour in our art work. The Blue Prints collection was more than just an exercise in drawing the gems of the city; it was a way to present the mind of an architectural designer. Have you ever wondered what an Architect’s sketchbook looks like? The tens and hundreds of sketches they prepare before finalising on an idea? This collection was basically a sneak peak into a book like that – it imagines what a final architectural sketch of landmark buildings would have looked like before they became a reality in our urban landscape.

We began to uncover the history of Toronto as we sketched these buildings. Both old and new had stories to tell and paved ways for the architecture around them.  We started with Toronto’s most iconic landmark – the CN Tower. We moved on to cultural gems like St. Lawrence Market and Massey Hall. We even paid an ode to Honest Ed’s before it was torn down.

We hope you enjoy how we’ve captured Toronto’s landmarks in our intentionally architecturally referenced Blue Prints collection.

You can get prints of these hand drawn icons on our Etsy store as individual or in sets.