Albert Lambert Galleria, formerly BCE Place, now Brookfield Place--page 1 (of five pages)

Santiago Calatrava

The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava won the competition for this atrium as part of Toronto's public art requirements. This tall vaulted structure is located between two tall office skyscrapers--the 51 story Canada Trust Tower and the 47 story Bay Wellington tower. BCE Place is comprised of shops, restaurants, and offices and incorporates a number of surviving historic buildings into the complex.

West Entrance


Right: looking up to the two towers flanking the atrium

White painted steel is used throughout the structure.

Looking toward Heritage Square

This six-story pedestrian thoroughfare, sometimes called the "crystal cathedral of commerce," links Bay and Front Streets and connects Bay Street to Heritage Square (see page 4). The galleria/atrium measures 85 feet high, 45 feet wide and 360 feet long (24x14x110 meter).

Looking back toward the entrance

The atrium has eight free-standing steel supports on either side of the narrow space. As the arches move up, they branch into two sections like a tree trunk and even higher into two more sections, thus the comparison often made to a forest canopy. It also bears comparison to a Gothic church nave. The roof, of course, is glazed so that the interior of the space is flooded with light. "All aspects of the structure are meant to be separate from the buildings on either side to allow for both expressive and structural flexibility. The roofs supports are created by eight steel trees spaced 45 feet apart and are tied to the buildings behind them. These trees branch out twice at two different heights (22 feet and 48 feet) and spread out to hold up a space frame consisting of parabolic arches that repeat every 12 feet. These arches are connected by a webbing of steel bars that meet circular arches at the top of the structure. The space frame is also tied to the buildings behind it for additional support. Loads are constantly flowing through the space frame and down through the tree supports. The entire structure is held in tension by the buildings behind it" (quoted from this site).

Continue to page 2.

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© 2010 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.