REVELL/TORONTO/HELSINKI: Finnish Architecture and the Image of Modern Toronto

Viljo Revell is the celebrated Finnish architect who created a civic masterwork when he designed Toronto City Hall (1965). Its curving towers and sublime public square expressed a humanism and monumentality that defined Toronto as a modern metropolis. The Toronto Society of Architects and the City of Toronto invite you to celebrate the centenary of Revell (1910-2010) and the 45th anniversary of the official opening of City Hall by attending the following events:


On September 13, 2010 at 8:00pm in the City Hall Council Chamber, acclaimed architect Frank Gehry speaks on his new work and his deep connections to Finland. This will be followed by an on-stage interview with The Globe and Mail architecture critic Lisa Rochon. Moderator David Crombie – Toronto’s former “Tiny Perfect Mayor” (1972-1978) – will introduce the session with some brief reflections on activating Toronto’s civic spirit within new City Hall.

And from September 13-26, 2010 in the City Hall Rotunda, an accompanying exhibition chronicles the events leading up to and including the international design competition, which ultimately produced Toronto’s iconic City Hall. Monumental photographs of Revell’s architecture in Finland selected from an exhibit at the Didrichsen Museum in Finland are suspended in City Hall Rotunda, providing a dramatic and largely unknown context for his contribution to Canada. Renderings of the ongoing redevelopment of Nathan Phillips Square, including the recently opened green roof at podium level, will also be featured.

A cross-cultural symposium in the City Hall Council Chamber on September 23, 2010 will explore the impact of Revell’s modernism and the humanism of legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Speakers will discuss the powerful significance of the City Hall competition – then and now. Canadian architects will discuss the inspiration they have drawn from the great Finnish designers. Speakers include Tuula Revell, architect and daughter of Viljo Revell; Juhani Pallasmaa, Principal of Juhani Pallasmaa Architects; Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Architecture; and Brigitte Shim, Principal of Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Panellists include Christopher Pommer, Partner of PLANT Architect Inc.; Andrew Frontini, Architect, Shore Tilbe Perkins + Will; and Richard Strong, Landscape Architect of Toronto City Hall (1965).


The symposium runs from 6:30pm to 9:00pm, with light refreshments and a cash bar available beforehand in the members’ lounge.

All events are free and open to the public. City Hall is located at 100 Queen Street West in Toronto