Boot, by Libeskind

Studio Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright SDA)
Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright Studio Daniel Libeskind)

“Two years ago, as a ‘so there’ gesture to his staff, who had all told him he would never make a scheduled lecture in Bozeman, Mont. […], he went out and bought a pair of cowboy boots as proof that he had done it”, David Colman wrote back in 2003 in the New York Times.

“He hasn’t taken them off since. ‘I now understand why cowboys die with their boots on,’ Mr. Libeskind said.” They are very comfortable, and: “’They completely change how you walk,’ he said. ‘You walk more formally, more vertically. It’s hard to walk sloppily.’”

Plus: “’The boots have a certain levity,’ Mr. Libeskind added. ‘Life can’t get too serious.’”

It is said that philosophers often write about cups and coffee, because they drink it so much for their tough thinking. Just as we saw Snøhetta building Snøhetta’s, here is a ‘boot’ from an architect that cherishes his. What does it say about Philip Johnson then that he built his lipstick building?

“One local critic privately compared the proposed condo tower to a chunky Vivienne Westwood boot. But that doesn’t faze Libeskind”, newspaper The Star writes, “’I love Vivienne Westwood, by the way,’ the world-famous designer said at a Toronto reception earlier this year. ‘Look, people can make any comment they want. People can see anything they want in a building.’”

Fascinatingly the newspaper continues calling Libeskind a ‘superstar’. The cherishing of the designer goes so far that the developer has called it the ‘L-tower’, the Libeskind-tower. That is not all new; in the new business district in the south of Amsterdam there is already the ‘Ito-tower’ (Toyo Ito) and the ‘Viñoly-tower’ (Rafael Viñoly). Architects are increasingly celebrated, it seems. For architecture, that is not bad at all, even Nicolai Ouroussoff has recently realized.

The L-tower is not the most typical work of Daniel Libeskind. Gone are the crisscross lines on turned rectangular volumes, we are familiar with from the architect. Here the ruler has been displaced by a pair of compasses. A massive curve descends from the top of the condo-stack at 205 meters above Toronto all the way down onto the cultural center in the plinth of the building. Another curve forms a round-round arch as a centerpiece of the project.

It looks like… a boot, yes. The arch, and the ‘slendering’ of the tower-volume at that ‘heel’ formally support this image. What also helps is that the lower part of the project has a slightly different texture – no puncturing balconies, and increased floor-to-floor height.

While the tower houses 480 condo’s, this plinth building is meant as a ‘colleague’ to the old theater-building that stands right next to this new project. “If fundraising permits, the podium will house an interactive cultural and artistic arts lab, with a wide range of facilities”, newspaper The Star notes.

Personally I would have expected the entrance of the cultural center right in the middle of the arch, at street level, but curiously all one finds there are the doors to the expedition of the podium of the theater behind. Ironically, it is where the boot lifts from the ground visitors enter the cultural center.

It also looks like the ‘boot’ is lifted only shortly before it could crush a piece of the old building. Not a very positive metaphor either. A little more distance to old building would have made the difference, I think. This is a jam-packed sheme.

“First occupancy of the tower has been given the rather specific date of November 30th 2010 and penthouses will cost up to 2.5 million Canadian dollars”, Skyscrapernews sarcastically writes. Maybe precise, but not a very tight schedule, that is three years from now!

Studio Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright SDA)
Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright Studio Daniel Libeskind)

 

Studio Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright SDA)
Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright Studio Daniel Libeskind)

 

Studio Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright SDA)
Daniel Libeskind - L Tower, Toronto, Canada (Copyright Studio Daniel Libeskind)

The project is added to the Architects and Representation pages. 


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