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2006 01 14
Holt Renfrew
One of the more robustly urban stretches of Toronto is the section of Bloor Street between Yonge and Avenue Road. Two buildings form the conceptual gateway to this part of Toronto, a role abdicated by the prosaic towers at Yonge street.

At 55 Bloor is the somewhat looming Manulife Centre, an awkward but strangely adaptable piece of pseudo-brutalist architecture by Clifford and Lawrie. Constructed in 1968, the building's popular shopping concourse links the 51 storey apartment tower on Charles Street with the 19 storey office tower on Bloor. On the opposite side of the street is the simple, modern Holt Renfrew building constructed one decade later in 1978 by the firm of Crang and Boake. The minimal white marble facade of the Holt Renfrew store - a Toronto landmark - has a figural power greater than its 3 floors should allow.

Beyond its role as a datum between the public street and the semi-private store, Holt's planar marble wall is a membrane between realms of affluence and utility.

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 01/14 at 08:34 AM

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