Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building

Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building, Canadian Architecture Images

Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA

Prix du XXe siècle Award, Ontario, Canada – design by Diamond Schmitt Architects

16 May 2018

Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA

Design: Diamond Schmitt Architects

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA

DIAMOND SCHMITT AWARDED PRIX DU XXE SIÈCLE

TORONTO, May 16th, 2018 – The Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, is this year’s recipient of the Prix du XXe siècle, an award that recognizes outstanding contribution to Canadian architecture of 20th century design.

YMCA exterior 1984:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building
photo : Fiona Spalding-Smith

The prize, presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and Heritage Canada The National Trust, celebrates design quality and enduring excellence. The award can recognize a building in Canada designed by an architect from any country, or a building anywhere in the world designed by a Canadian architect.

Completed in 1984, the Central Y is the flagship of the YMCA in Toronto. The 14,400-square-metre (155,000sf) facility allowed the organization to continue its tradition of leadership and service to inner-city residents while responding to the lifestyle and cultural needs of a growing downtown population. The Central Y is considered one of the most successful in the world, with the highest membership utilization, according to metrics of YMCA International.

YMCA exterior 2014:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA
photo : Lisa Logan

The distinct program, articulated in five building types – each with its own functional and architectural form – is unified by spacious, logical and exciting circulation routes that reveal all major program areas and encourage public passage through the building.

YMCA Gymnasium:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building
photo : Fiona Spalding-Smith

A distinguished three-member jury selected it “not only for its remarkable design qualities but also for its generous stance as a welcoming urban neighbour and humanist intervention in the heart of downtown Toronto.”

YMCA Auditorium:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building
photo : Fiona Spalding-Smith

The facility includes a full recreational complex with two swimming pools, double gymnasium, racquet courts, a dance studio, indoor and rooftop running tracks, a 300-seat multi-use auditorium and day care centre. A defining feature is the Athletes’ Stair, which connects all levels under a linear skylight.

“Recognition for designing one of the best buildings of the 20th century is an honour and validation for the design principles we maintain to this day,” said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.

YMCA Auditorium:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building
photo : Fiona Spalding-Smith

The RAIC jury noted the building’s condition is in extremely good shape today. “This is a testament to the robust execution of the architecture, especially surprising given the number of users throughout the building,” said the jury.

YMCA stair:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA interior
photo : Steven Evans

On revisiting the Central Y thirty years after first reviewing the design for Canadian Architect magazine, Larry Wayne Richards wrote in 2015 for the same publication, “Attention to the circulation armature of a building was (and still is) among Diamond Schmitt’s most admirable traits. They understand circulation as an opportunity for social engagement.”

YMCA main welcome desk:
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA
photo : Lisa Logan

The presentation of the Prix du XXe siècle will take place at the RAIC Festival of Architecture in St. John, New Brunswick on June 1st.

Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is based in Toronto with studios in Vancouver and New York City. The portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, recreational, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include a new campus for York University in Markham, Ontario and the new home for the Senate of Canada in Ottawa. The firm is shortlisted for the design of the new Ottawa Central Library.

YMCA Pool – Steven Evans
Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA interior
photo : Steven Evans

Metropolitan Toronto Central YMCA Building images / information received 160518

Diamond Schmitt Architects


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