Arthur’s Restaurant, Toronto

gh3*, Toronto

Photography by Raymond Chow

Arthur’s Restaurant occupies one of a pair of partial-octagon apsidal projections flanking the entrance to the octagonal George Weston (Loblaw’s) headquarters tower at Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto, which dates from 1975. Indeed, if a building is octagonal, chances are its architect was Leslie Rebanks, whose eight-sided projects include the Fiberglas Canada Research Centre in Sarnia and the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses in Toronto. (“A lot of people think we only do octagonal buildings,” Rebanks said in an interview.) Viewing his work as sacrosanct and keeping changes to the façade and other architectural features to a minimum, gh3*’s main gesture is an octagonal suspended convex bulkhead or canopy that hovers over parts of the vestibule and main dining room. Unique Store Fixtures were the fabricators who brought a vision to life that includes deep facets enlarging as they radiate toward the perimeter, covering the canopy. Here we see the influence of the sculpturally expressive roof undersides in reinforced-concrete structures pioneered by Pier Luigi Nervi (Olympic Sports Palace, Rome, 1957). The detailing, lovely to look at, reduces the intimidating scale of the space and makes the steakhouse feel more intimate.