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Forma Featured In New York Times

July 15, 2023
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Frank Gehry Returns to The Streets of His Canadian Childhood 

Ian Austen, New York Times 

Frank Gehry, the architect whose free-form Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, redefined architecture and set off a surge in museum construction in the late 1990s, was recently back in Toronto, celebrating the beginning of a new project. 

Born and raised in Toronto, Mr. Gehry has had only one work in Canada, his highly regarded renovation of the Art Gallery of Ontario, which opened in 2008 in the neighborhood where he grew up.

At 94, he is famously uninterested in retiring, and he came to Toronto last month to witness what he intends to be another masterpiece in Canada: two condo towers that will be his tallest project to date. One tower will be 84 stories high; the other, 74.

The project, known as Forma, will sit near Roy Thomson Hall, the current home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, on streets Mr. Gehry roamed in his youth, when the area was dominated by railway lines and warehouses. 

It began as a collaboration between Mr. Gehry and David Mirvish, the theater owner who Mr. Gehry knew from Mr. Mirvish’s days as a private art gallery owner. The original plan, unveiled a decade ago, was for three towers of more than 80 stories each, but was scaled back after backlash from the public and from some politicians. The final design preserves, rather than knocks down, the Princess of Wales Theatre and retains two of the four warehouses that would have been demolished in the first plan. Mr. Mirvish also sold the project to a consortium of developers.

After Mr. Gehry posed for many photos of the groundbreaking, I met with him in an office being used by the developers. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

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