A Torch on the Square

“…it works to put some awe into the ‘swifter, higher, stronger’ of what Olympians actually do” – Marnie McBean, Gold Medalist

At times, a modest architectural gesture reverberates loudly. Situated along the edge of a newly created urban square in the downtown core, a novel building program led us to make a significant urban statement. The idea behind the project was inspiring and Olympian – create a facility designed to embody the spirit of the Olympic Games, a place to meet sporting heroes, and to pit one’s own skills against the best records of medal winners – using high-tech simulation and measurement devices.

A dozen do-it-yourself exhibits were organized within the five-storey complex. Visitors could row, cycle, curl, speed skate, ski, snowboard, slap hockey pucks, make like a gymnast on the parallel bars, stage an imaginary biathlon by trekking on a cross-country skiing simulator and then shooting a rifle at virtual targets, or hop into a bobsleigh – with computers tracking their results and comparing them to Olympian records.

The building defines a gateway between the commercial city precinct and adjacent residential neighborhoods. As a new permanent landmark, the sign tower establishes an urban edge and animates the adjacent public spaces.

“an amazing facility that offers visitors, especially children, a taste of what the Olympics are all about.” – Toronto Star