Westbank and Allied reveal plans for King Street West

Yes is More: In Conversation with Architect Bjarke Ingels:
'How can architecture create communities?'

TORONTO, Feb. 23, 2016 /CNW/ - Acclaimed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, principal of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), revealed his vision for a landmark block of Toronto's King Street West this evening. The capacity audience, from the worlds of architecture and design, arts and entertainment, government and academia, was assembled at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Ingels shared his views on how architecture can create communities while paying homage to Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie and Habitat 67, the groundbreaking model community he designed fifty years ago in Montreal.  

"With King Street West, we wanted to find an alternative to the tower and podium you see a lot of in Toronto and revisit some of Safdie's revolutionary ideas, but rather than a utopian experiment on an island, have it nested into the heart of the city," said Bjarke Ingels. "It would be strange if one of the most diverse cities in the world had the most homogenous architecture."

During the second half of the evening's program, Ingels was joined on stage by a panel of prominent Toronto-based thinkers to discuss the power of city building as a means to achieve better outcomes for cities. Audience members were invited to pose questions to Ingels and the panel. Ian Gillespie, principal of Westbank Corp, led the event.

Panel participants included:
Bjarke Ingels, founder, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, TIFF; Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Past President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University; Richard M. Sommer, Dean, John H. Daniels faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto and Zahra Ebrahim, Co-CEO, Doblin Canada and Past Principal, archiTEXT. The evening's discussion was moderated by Denise Donlon.

"One of the questions we always look to answer in our design process is 'how can this project contribute to the community or to the city and what are the opportunities to make a positive impact?'" said Ian Gillespie, principal of Westbank. "As city builders, we're looking to produce better outcomes for cities and in this case the best possible contribution to the King and Spadina community," he added.

In August, 2015, Allied Properties REIT and Westbank Corp announced a joint-venture arrangement to redevelop 489-539 King Street West in Toronto. Allied will transfer to Westbank an undivided 50% interest in the Property with a view to pursuing a mixed-use project comprised of office, retail and residential uses, with the residential component being sold as a condominium.

About BIG
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is a New York and Copenhagen based group of architects, designers and thinkers operating within the fields of architecture, urbanism, research and development. BIG is led by 12 partners and 17 Associates. With an international team of 300 people, BIG works on projects across a broad spectrum of industries and in more than 20 countries worldwide. In Canada, the firm is currently working on Vancouver House - an urban village and high rise for living, working and leisure in Vancouver, as well as the 70,000 m2 mixed-use Telus Sky Tower in Downtown Calgary. BIG takes a human-centered approach to architecture - looking at how urban environments can increase the quality of life, designing cities and buildings as double ecosystems that are both ecologically and economically profitable.

About Westbank
Established in 1992, with over $25 billion of projects completed or under development, Westbank is active across Canada and expanding into the United States with luxury residential, rental apartments, affordable housing, office, retail, and hotels. The main focus of the innovative practice is on large mixed use projects with a strong emphasis on sustainability. Its goal is to create a body of work that is improving the cities in which they practice while incorporating a high degree of artistry. Leading Westbank's list of city-changing projects are the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Shaw Tower, the Woodward's redevelopment, Shangri-La Hotels in both and TELUS Garden. 

About Allied
Allied Properties REIT is a leading owner, manager and developer of urban office environments that enrich experience and enhance profitability for business tenants operating in Canada's major cities. Its objectives are to provide stable and growing cash distributions to unitholders and to maximize unitholder value through effective management and accretive portfolio growth.

NOTE: Images are available

SOURCE Westbank Projects Corp.

For further information: Anne O'Hagan +1 (416) 566.6516 or aoh@rogers.com; Kate Daniels +1 (416) 723.9331 or katemedia@rogers.com


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