Size: 13200 s.f. (1065 s.f. renovation)
The Power Plant is one of Canada’s leading art galleries devoted to contemporary art, artists, and ideas. Established in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront, it was renamed the Power Plant when it moved into a repurposed powerhouse located on Toronto’s waterfront in 1987. The Power Plant Gallery features exhibitions, publications, talks, and events from Canadian and international contemporary artists. The ‘Refresh Project’ transforms the a series of existing peripheral spaces into a space for art in the city.
The Refresh Project combines simple gestures and ideas to reinforce the Power Plant identity as a contemporary gallery space. Core strategies involved relocating the main desk in the interstitial space that connects the Power Plant and the Enwave Theatre. This creates a central reception space as well as a flexible event space to support the expanding programs of the Power Plant. The iconic industrial-scale masonry smokestack has been rebranded on the exterior, while on the interior the base establishes a main focal point and acts as a donor wall. The transition between the entrance reception and the exhibition galleries is marked by a wall of monumental branded glass doors, balancing a sense of transparency and openness with requirements for security and conservation. Within the galleries, minimal interventions, such as new poured concrete floors enhance the contemporary gallery atmosphere, and the viewing experience.
The project ultimately refreshes public and private support for the Power Plant as an institution dedicated to contemporary art. While modest in scale, the redesign makes the institution more accessible and visible, marking a first step in a longer term vision for the developing the building and site as a hub for contemporary art. It amplifies Toronto’s position as an important centre for contemporary art and provides an inviting space in which the city’s art community can gather, debate and celebrate the value of art in contemporary society.
231 Queen Quay West, Toronto, Ontario Client
Harbourfront Centre / The Power Plant Gallery
1065 sq.f. of gallery, lobby, reception, and mobile retail unit space KPMB Project Team
Bruce Kuwabara (partner in charge), Taewook Eum (project architect), Jacki Chapel
Boszko and Verity (Construction manager: Orest Boszko), Servocraft Limited (Mechanical), Blackwell Bowick Partnership LTD. (Structural), Hahn Studio & Monnet Design (graphic identity and signage)