The Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods and the CN Tower has been honoured by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), in partnership with The National Trust for Canada, as recipients of the 2017 Prix du XXe siècle. The award recognizes projects for their enduring excellence and national significance to Canada’s architectural legacy.
Ontario Place’s dramatic structures by Toronto architect Eberhard Zeidler made the waterfront park an instant landmark. Completed in 1971, the Cinesphere (known as “the Bubble”) is a 35-metre-wide dome made from steel and aluminum tubes that housed the world’s first permanent theatre for IMAX technology. A bridge-like suspension structure elevates the five inter-connected Pods over Lake Ontario. The Pods were first used to host a multimedia exhibition but were designed to be flexible and accommodate different functions. At the most basic level, each Pod is a three-storey box, encompassing 743 square metres.
Piercing the Toronto skyline at 553.33 metres, the CN Tower held the title of the world’s tallest free-standing structure for more than 30 years. Completed in 1976, the Tower was originally conceived as a telecommunications facility to serve Toronto and the surrounding region. Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Architects and John Andrews Architects International worked with engineers and contractors to design and build the structure.
The jury citation noted the Tower is one of Canada’s most iconic structures and wrote, “The CN Tower is an incredible achievement of Canadian engineering and construction that pushed the boundaries of concrete technology.”
The Prix will be presented at the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture taking place May 24 to 27 in Ottawa. Recipients will also be acknowledged at the National Trust for Canada’s national conference and awards in Ottawa on October 13.
“This year the Prix du XXe Siècle celebrates combined achievements in both architecture and engineering design quality,” said RAIC president Ewa Bieniecka, FIRAC. “Both these projects deserve accolades for innovation. For the past four decades, these iconic places have captured the imagination and provided joy to their visitors”.
The RAIC and National Trust bestow the Prix du XXe siècle to promote public awareness of outstanding Canadian architecture and landmark buildings of the 20th century.