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OCAD U part of proposed Mirvish-Gehry development

October 3, 2012

A new 25,000-square foot facility for OCAD University is part of a transformative King Street development plan proposal by David Mirvish, founder of Mirvish Productions, and world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.

The plan, announced in Toronto on October 1, adds new cultural, residential and retail spaces to a site immediately west of the Royal Alexandra Theatre and creates a new visual identity and significant capacity to the city's premier cultural district. This is a long-term, multi-phase project, and the proposed facility for OCAD University is part of the phase one development at the northeast corner of Duncan and King Streets. The proposal calls for three towers to be constructed on the north side of King Street on property owned by the Mirvishes.

Mirvish-Gehry press conference

Artist Frank Stella with Peter Kofman, President of Projectcore Inc., the project development lead, OCAD U President Dr. Sara Diamond, David Mirvish, Counsellor Adam Vaughan and architect Frank Gehry. Photo: Martin Iskander.

"It is truly remarkable to be part of this proposal," says Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University's president. "With the involvement of Frank Gehry as architect, it promises to be an exciting and landmark development for the urban core and cultural district."

The OCAD University Public Learning Centre for Visual Art, Curatorial Studies and Art History will enhance collaboration between the university's Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

This Centre will house:

  • Exhibition and Visual Research Centre

  • Art History, Curatorial and Critical Studies Centre

  • Publication and Printmaking Research and Production Centre

  • Continuing studies for the community.

Included are a lecture hall suitable for public lectures and student use; proper storage and public access to the university's archives; seminar rooms and studios related to fabrication, publications and printmaking; and gallery space to showcase the university's permanent collection and the work of the university's faculty members.

Architectural model for King Street Development
Podium, Courtesy of Gehry International, Inc.

The location for the centre at the corner of Duncan and King Streets extends the university's developing south campus on Richmond Street and connects it strongly to the arts and culture hub on King Street West, from the Royal Alexandra Theatre to TIFF Bell Lightbox.

This capital project is being negotiated with David Mirvish under the provisions of Section 37 of the Planning Act, which permits the City of Toronto to authorize increases in permitted height and/or density through the zoning bylaw in return for community benefits, provided that there are related official plan policies in place. University facilities and public galleries are considered community benefits and OCAD University will receive the 25,000-square-foot space under these provisions.

David Mirvish has a longstanding relationship with OCAD University as a donor and a supporter. He has facilitated access to his collection for the university's faculty and students and has been supportive of previous publication projects. This major initiative, which now enters the approvals and process related to zoning and development regulations, is a continuation of that relationship. The Public Learning Centre will complement the gallery that David Mirvish will open in another tower of the development to house his collection.


Ontario College of Art & Design 100 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1 Canada Tel. 416.977.6000 Fax. 416.977.6000 © OCAD 2007