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Transformation AGO

2008 , Toronto, Ontario
Design Architect: Gehry Partners, LLP
Client: The Art Gallery of Ontario
Categories: Cultural & Public Spaces Renovation, Restoration and Retrofit
About project
About project

As the local Associate Architect, Adamson Associates provided peer review and site services for Transformation AGO, the addition and renovation to one of Canada’s most distinguished art museums.

While a Partner at Gehry Partners, LLP, Adamson principal, George Metzger, oversaw this major renovation to one of Canada’s most distinguished public buildings: the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in downtown Toronto. Our Toronto office, Adamson Associates Architects, was the Local Associate Architect and was involved throughout the duration of this 583,000 sf project. The transformation was dramatic, featuring a new glass and timber façade that extends 600 feet along street level and soars 70 feet above. In total, the renovation added over 100,000 sf of new space resulting in a 40% increase to the overall gallery space.

Structural steel was chosen for the framing of the five-storey centre block. The steel was used to stitch together and shore the disparate existing and new elements. Steel columns had to be gently inserted around the historic masonry walls of Walker Court in order to support the deep long-span steel beams that produced a clear-span floor space for the upper levels of the new South Gallery. As these galleries can be programmed for events with a high occupant load, a tuned mass damping system has been incorporated into the service space between the upper floors.

Highlights of the design included the use of Douglas-fir glulam arches, steel, and glass. Abundant in natural light, the amber of wood, and the views of the sky and city, the AGO has become an indelible architectural landmark in North America.


Location: Toronto, Ontario
Design Architect: Gehry Partners, LLP
Architect of Record: Adamson Associates Architects
Client: The Art Gallery of Ontario
Size: 583,000 sf / 54,160 sm
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Art Gallery
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Seminar Rooms
Completion: 2008