St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Design Competition Winner Announced

Hariri Pontarini Architects, LMN Architects, Tawaw Architecture Collective, Smoke Architecture, and SLA have recently been announced as the winning design team for of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts Design competition.
The winning design to reimagine the STLC is called Transparence and features a high-performance transparent façade that wraps the existing structure, a landmark performing arts theatre in the heart of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.

The design also incorporates several Indigenous design elements, including the exterior which was inspired by the role of Wampum belts in storytelling, artistry and craft and the inclusion of a circular ceremonial fire at Front and Scott streets.

The seven-member jury, made up of leaders in the fields of culture, planning, urban design, architecture, Indigenous design, and landscape architecture, based its selection on the following:

  • Demonstration of a creative, imaginative and innovative response to the opportunities of the site, the building and landscape open space programs;
  • Innovations demonstrated and identified around sustainable and accessible design, including how the design responds to the requirements of the Toronto Green Standard, as well as the extent to which designs meet or exceed the Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines;
  • Interpretation of the vision of the reimagined St. Lawrence Centre and the policy, guideline and consultation framework that shaped that Vision, including how the design supports the Indigenous Creative Community;
  • Demonstration of a thoughtful response to the heritage guidelines pertaining to the existing building and site;
  • Construction cost estimate including cost effectiveness of the proposed design, quality and completeness of the cost estimate; and
  • Quality and completeness of the submission as reviewed by the Technical Advisory Panel.

The new STLC is composed of the main stage theatre, acoustic hall, rehearsal/multi-purpose rooms, artist-in-residence studios, media studios, child minding space, front of house public spaces, front of house support, back of house, outdoor spaces and significant improvements to the public realm.

The five shortlisted design teams publicly presented their designs at the STLC on Tuesday, March 7 to more than 300 attendees in the venue’s Jane Mallett Theatre and a further 600 who participated online. The community had an opportunity to share input on the submissions through an online comments form leading up to the public presentation. The design submissions were judged by the jury on March 8.

The first stage of the two-stage design competition was launched with the release of a Request for Supplier Qualifications in October. Five teams were shortlisted to advance to the second stage, which was launched in November with the release of a Request for Proposals.

The five shortlisted design teams, each of which included an Indigenous design partner, were:

  •         Brook McIlroy | Trahan Architects | Hood Design Studio
  •         Diamond Schmitt Architects | Smoke Architecture | MVVA
  •         Hariri Pontarini Architects | LMN Architects | Tawaw Architecture Collective | Smoke Architecture | SLA
  •         RDHA | Mecanoo | Two Row Architect | NAK Design Strategies
  •         Zeidler Architecture | Diller Scofidio + Renfro | Two Row Architect | PLANT Architect

The winning submission will be presented to the Executive Committee and Toronto City Council in Q3, 2023.