It’s been called “courageous, bold and just a little insane”. 10 years, later, the Sharp Centre for Design continues to make a bold statement. This exhibition celebrates the Sharp Centre for Design’s first decade with works inspired by its bold and lively presence.
Curated by Janna Eggebeen.
Special thanks to Will Alsop Design and ALL Design, Scott Hillis, Hadley Obodiac, and Caroline Robble.
Sharp Centre for Design, OCAD University, design and construction 2000 to 2004
- Alsop Architects with Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc.
- Carruthers & Wallace Ltd. and MCW Consultants Ltd., structural engineers
- Peter Caldwell, Executive Vice President, OCAD U Project Steering Committee
- Rosalie and Isadore Sharp, benefactors
- centerpiece of a $42.5 million campus redevelopment project
- 6,215m2 of new studio, workshop, office and classroom space
- tabletop is 80 metres long by 30 metres wide, 10 metres high, and 26 metres above ground
- structural system is an intersecting grid of steel Vierendeel trusses
- cladding is white aluminum tiles with a random pattern of black tiles
- concrete core contains elevators and 15 flights of stairs
- 12 tapered rainbow-hued steel columns, each 28 metres long by 0.914 metres in diameter
- each pair of columns is bolted to three caissons buried 18 metres below ground
- Worldwide Award, Royal Institute of British Architects, 2004
- Engineering Award of Excellence, Ontario Region Steel Design Awards, Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, 2004
- Award of Excellence, Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, 2005
- Most Technically Innovative Project, Canadian Consulting Engineers Awards, 2005
- HUE Award (to Will Alsop), Benjamin Moore, 2006
Architect Will Alsop unorthodox design process begins with abstract paintings and community workshops that encourage a blue-sky conceptualization of the project. At OCAD U, this non-linear, collaborative and ad hoc approach was by turns contentious and serendipitous. By March 2001, the three towers concept represented in the model had morphed into the tabletop, which maintained the neighbors view of Grange Park, opened up stunning panoramas from the studio windows, and provided a new space for play: Butterfield Park.
The playful transformation of ordinary materials into lively objects shows a similar irreverent and experimental spirit.
- Alastair MacLeod, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
Alastair MacLeod is a visual artist and OCAD U Director of Information Technology Services.
- John Kissick, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache and pencil on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
John Kissick was Dean of the university Faculty of Art from 2000 to 2003. He is now Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph.
- Greg Woods, workshop drawing, January 2001. Gouache and pencil on newsprint. OCAD U Archives.
Greg Woods was an architect at Robbie/Young + Wright and the lead project architect for the Sharp Centre for Design.
- Will Alsop, early tower model, January 2001. Perspex and plywood.
- Will Alsop, Really Almost There + Sex study, January 2001. Digital print.
- Lorraine Kwan, The Pencil Box, mixed media.
Lorraine Kwan is an OCAD U alumna and mixed media artist in Vancouver.
- Rob Shostak, Sharp costume, 2004. Mixed media.
Rob Shostack is an architect with Quadrangle Architects, Toronto.
- Sarah L. Mulholland, Squishy Sharp Centre, 2009. Knit object.
Collection of Peter Caldwell.
Sarah L. Mulholland is an OCAD U alumna and the university Social Media Officer.
The construction of the Sharp Centre for Design was very condensed in time and space. It was a feat of controlled chaos and technical innovation that took place over an 18-month period while classes were in session on a dense urban site. For first-hand observers, the building process and the bold animal-mechanical structure that took shape became a source of inspiration.
- ALL Design (Will Alsop), Sharp Centre for Design model, 2011. Metal.
- Terri Meyer Boake, Sharp Centre for Design construction time-lapse video, 2002 to 2004.
Terri Boake is a Professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo whose specialty is steel construction.
- Janie Reed, Look Up! triptych, 2003. Digital print.
- Janie Reed, Feet First, 2003. Digital print.
Janie Reed is an OCAD U alumna and mixed media artist in Toronto.
- Gregory P. McRoberts, Lego Sharp Centre for Design, 2009. Lego.
Greg McRoberts is an OCAD U alumnus and mixed media artist in Toronto.
The Sharp Centre for Design unique pixelated cladding was the outcome of an intense endgame between OCAD U and Will Alsop. The cladding was especially important to the building impact as it would be visible not only on the building exterior walls but also its underside. The architect advocated for a colorful patterned surface of lighted glass panels a decorative tablecloth for the tabletop that would camouflage the building large mass and enliven the streetscape both night and day. The university argued for a more economic and pragmatic choice, and, after Alsop threatened to paint the entire exterior black, a successful compromise was reached with syncopated black spots that added to the completed structure animated character.
- Will Alsop, Void of Opportunity study, 2001. Digital print.
- Edmond Rampen, OCAD Uke, 2013. Wood. Collection of Christine L. Bovis-Cnossen.
Edmond Rampen is a professor of Fabrication Studies at OCAD U.
- Otino Corsano, Oeuvre, 2006. Enamel on Plexiglas.
- Otino Corsano, Big Crossword, 2006. Enamel on Plexiglas.
Otino Corsano is an OCAD U alumnus and visual artist in Toronto.
- Pearlamina Cheung, Fly High, 2014. Silver ring, earrings, and pendant.
Pearlamina Cheung is an OCAD U alumna, a jewelry designer and Assistant Art Director for the Director Guild of Canada in Toronto.
- Christopher Hutsul, OCAD University, 2004. Serigraph.
OCAD U Collection.
Christopher Hutsul is an OCAD U alumnus and an artist and filmmaker in Toronto.