OTTAWA, ONT. — The Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods in Toronto have been awarded the recipients of the 2017 Prix du XXe Siecle by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), in partnership with the National Trust for Canada.
The RAIC and National Trust bestow the Prix du XXe Siecle to promote public awareness of outstanding Canadian architecture and landmark buildings of the 20th century. The CN Tower received the honour as well.
Both buildings were recognized for their enduring excellence and national significance to Canada’s architectural legacy.
According to a release, the structures at Ontario Place by Toronto architect Eberhard Zeidler made the waterfront park an instant landmark.
Completed in 1971, the Cinesphere, known as "the Bubble," is a 35-metre-wide dome made from steel and aluminum tubes that housed the world’s first permanent theatre for IMAX technology.
A bridge-like suspension structure elevates the five inter-connected pods over Lake Ontario.
The pods were first used to host a multimedia exhibition but were designed to be flexible and accommodate different functions, the release adds.
At the most basic level, each pod is a three-storey box, encompassing 743 square metres.
The jury noted that the Cinesphere and pods emulated for Toronto the great architectural and social success of Expo ’67 in Montreal.
"While the Cinesphere and Pods no longer house the functions they were originally designed for, they still exhibit the strong design presence they did when first completed," noted the jury.
"They realize, in tangible physical form, some of the most ambitious Utopian architectural ideas from Europe and the United States of the 1960s."
The jury members include Julia Gersovitz, founding partner of EVOQ Architecture and adjunct professor at the McGill University School of Architecture; George Baird, architect and former dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto; and Michael Heeney, principal architect for Bing Thom Architects in Vancouver.
The Prix will be presented at the RAIC/Ontario Association of Architects Festival of Architecture taking place until May 27 in Ottawa. Recipients will also be acknowledged at the National Trust for Canada’s national conference and awards event in Ottawa on Oct. 13.