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Frank Gehry to Design New David Mirvish Museum, OCADU Space in Toronto

Yesterday, Toronto art collector David Mirvish and Toronto-raised architect Frank Gehry unveiled the design for a new King Street West complex that will include a Mirvish-collection museum and a new facility for OCAD University.

The complex will consist of two six-storey stepped podiums topped by three residential towers ranging in size from 80 to 85 storeys. The west block of the plan features a stepped podium with the Mirvish collection in the atrium. The east block of the plan includes the preservation of the Royal Alexandra Theatre (owned by Mirvish Productions, of which David Mirvish is founder) and another stepped podium housing the OCAD University facility.

The new 60,000-square-foot museum will feature contemporary abstract art from the collection of Audrey and David Mirvish. The collection was built over 50 years, beginning when David Mirvish ran an art gallery in Toronto from 1963 to 1978. The collection includes works by Jack Bush, Anthony Caro, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, David Smith and Frank Stella. Viewing of the collection will be free and open to the public and the space promises to present curated artist-focused exhibitions that will be available to other institutions. It will also host travelling exhibitions.

The OCAD University Public Learning Centre for Visual Art, Curatorial Studies and Art History is due to include exhibition galleries, studios, seminar rooms and a public lecture hall. The galleries will feature curatorial programming drawn from university’s faculty, collection, archives and printmaking and publications research centre.

As part of the plan, the Princess of Wales Theatre, owned and operated by Mirvish Productions, will be replaced along with adjacent warehouses. Frank Stella, whose commissioned murals are part of the Princess of Wales Theatre, will partner with Frank Gehry to develop new work for the project, integrating art and architecture.

“The Princess of Wales Theatre is a wonderful space to experience theatre, but the next step for the future of this neighbourhood is providing new kinds of cultural spaces,” said David Mirvish.

“Urban universities such as OCAD University contribute to and benefit from their situation within a creative city,” said Sara Diamond, OCAD University president. “We are a hub for art, design, media, research, innovation and the business of creativity, and this new facility, in the heart of a transforming cultural district, is a perfect setting for OCAD University.”

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