Former church to house actors
By KATE TARALA
The theatre company’s previous home in Hunter Street’s Civic Arcade is set for demolition as part of the redevelopment of the city block that also contains the derelict Civic Hotel.
The former church, in Watt Street, had been flagged for redevelopment as a restaurant and wedding reception venue but will now house Tantrum Theatre for the next three years.
Tantrum will be joined by Performing Arts Newcastle at the site, which includes the church, a hall and adjoining buildings.
With its high wooden ceilings, wrought iron detail and stained glass windows, the building will add something special to the setting of theatrical productions.
Tantrum Theatre has cultivated a reputation as Newcastle’s leading theatre company for young people with bold performances and new works.
Tantrum general manager and tutor Mitchell Reese hoped the site would become an arts hub, with the potential for another group to move in.
‘‘It is a brilliant space to hold workshops, performances and rehearsals,’’ he said.
U.K. architect Will Alsop designs Yonge St. condo for North Toronto: Hume
Midrise condo planned for Yonge south of Lawrence offers a new vision of 21st-century city and its architecture.
By Christopher Hume
Normally, the launch of yet another condo on Yonge St. would pass unnoticed, except by the neighbours. But it will be hard not to notice the project proposed for Yonge St. and Strathgowan Ave. To begin with, it’s designed by Will Alsop, the British architect best known in these parts for the “flying tabletop,” officially the Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design University.
That’s the McCaul St. building suspended on a series of brightly coloured steel columns. No one who has seen it will be surprised to hear the condo is, well, somewhat out of the ordinary. That would be true in any part of town, but in leafy North Toronto, Alsop’s offering will not only turn heads, it will wrench necks.
That’s what architects love to do, of course, not that most ever get the chance. In Alsop’s case, however, he has become the go-to guy for clients who want something unique, even provocative. Though easy to forget, Alsop’s buildings are much more practical than they appear. Putting OCAD University on legs, for example, meant not having to close and/or move the school, saving time and money.
But for most, what we see is what we get. The Strathgowan condo will be midrise — 10 storeys — but beyond that, it’s hard to describe. For starters, the building is wrapped in a steel screen, patterned, pierced and perforated to resemble a lacy architectural façade. Vaguely reminiscent of Jean Nouvel’s exquisite Arab World Institute in Paris, Alsop’s condo also has the feel of one of those French Quarter buildings in New Orleans with the ornate wrought iron balconies.
“It’s diaphanous on the lower levels,” Alsop explains. “We’re using a woven stainless steel. It’s more like fabric than steel. You can detail it as if it were PVC.”
Even more striking, the building is divided horizontally into two sections. The bottom, seven storeys tall, slopes outward as it drops down to Yonge St. The top part, a three-floor rectangular structure that extends beyond the base, bears a slight resemblance to the OCAD U tabletop.
It looks like nothing ever seen in Toronto; yet there’s no reason to think it won’t belong, especially on a stretch of Yonge that has very little identity of its own. The most memorable piece of architecture here is the Glengrove Hydro Substation, a 1931 neo-gothic beauty that outshines its neighbours, including the many apartment buildings that are the most distinctive feature of Yonge south of Lawrence Ave.
“The client was looking for something a little different,” Alsop says, straight-faced. “She also wanted to do a different type of interior. You can slide inner walls so that bedrooms become balconies. You can open your whole apartment to the outside. We’re trying to keep the units as open and flexible as possible.” That client, former architect Bianca Pollak, confirms she did indeed want to do something out of the ordinary.
“I believe this part of Yonge needs something,” she explains. “I see this as an opportunity to do something. When Will is involved, the results are always extraordinary. We’re all very excited.”
It’s still early days, Pollak makes clear, and the project has yet to be submitted to the city for approval. Though the neighbours might be shocked at first, they will quickly get over that. Besides, Pollak plans to add one full floor of public parking underground. That will appease many, though the 10 storeys will undoubtedly be an issue, too. In truth, nothing less makes sense in this part of 21st-century Toronto.
Hemingway gate to be auctioned on eBay
The gate hung at the side entrance of the property where the Nobel Prize-winning author lived in the 1930s and wrote many of his classic works.
It is believed to have been installed in 1935, when a brick privacy wall was built around the Whitehead Street home Hemingway occupied with his wife and sons.
In 1964, the property became a museum honoring the author. The gate was replaced in 2011 with one that better protected the nearly 50 cats that reside on the property. The original was donated to Helpline, a non-profit local crisis hotline, to be auctioned for fundraising.
Open viewing at luxury Dore home
It is fitted with the most up-to-date technology including audio system, digital radio, security system and under-floor heating and is covered by a 10-year building warranty.
The front door opens into a reception hall leading to other ground floor rooms. A formal lounge or cinema room incorporates a 50in plasma screen, DVD and speaker system. Glass sliding doors lead to an open plan kitchen, dining area and family lounge.
The kitchen area is fitted with contemporary high-gloss units with granite worktops. Integrated appliances include a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, wine cooler, a range of conventional, steam and microwave ovens, plate warmers and a five-zone induction hob.
The dining area has porcelain-tiled floor and sliding doors to the back garden. The lounge also has folding doors to the garden; focal point is a stone feature fireplace. There is a study, a utility room and a cloakroom with wc.
Stairs rise to a galleried landing leading to a master bedroom suite including a Jacuzzi air bath and rain head shower.
There are two more bedrooms, one of them with en-suite bathroom and Juliet balcony, a fourth bedroom or study and a family bathroom with luxury white suite by Roca.
More stairs rise to a second floor where there are two further bedrooms, both en suite. Outside is a block-paved front garden screened by stone walls, wrought iron railings and laurel hedging. This leads to a generous garage with electric doors.
The back garden is fully enclosed, comprising stone-flagged terraces, shaped lawn with timber sleepers, seating areas, awater feature, planted borders and ornamental trees.
The $65m dowry for any man who can woo Cecil Chao’s lesbian daughter
Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao wants granchildren to inherit his business so he is offering ‘a moderately deluxe life’ to any man who can woo his daughter
By David Pilling
The wrought-iron gate at the top of the path leading to Cecil Chao’s waterfront mansion says “Happy Lodge”. And Chao, a Hong Kong property tycoon, certainly takes every opportunity to be happy. Colourful even by the flamboyant standards of the city’s billionaires, the 76-year-old claims to have slept with 10,000 women – and to be adding regularly to his tally. A lifelong bachelor, he made headlines last September by offering a $65m bounty to any man who could woo and marry his lesbian daughter, Gigi. It turned out that he was not so much offended by her sexuality as in want of grandchildren to whom he could pass on his business.
I had caught a glimpse of Chao soon after he made his novel proposal. I was visiting friends in Pok Fu Lam, a quiet residential neighbourhood on the western edge of Hong Kong island. They lived in Villa Cecil, a collection of apartments owned by Chao with stupendous views of the Lamma Channel. A Rolls-Royce pulled up to the gates of Happy Lodge at one end of the complex. It bore the licence plate “Cecil”. In the front sat Cecil himself, waving delightedly to someone. In the back were two glamorous young women.
Now I was sitting in Cecil’s living room. (Hong Kong is a friendly place where almost everyone refers to each other by their first name.) The gate to Happy Lodge had been set ajar, so I had wandered down the path past a fishpond full of koi carp. The little door to his house was also open. In the living room was a grand piano, a tall, simply decorated Christmas tree, two large modernist statues and lots of glass and chrome. The far wall was glass, behind it a beautiful sea view. It reminded me of the Isla Negra house owned by Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet enamoured of the ocean.
There didn’t seem to be a bell. It was warm, even in early December, so I stood outside until, after some time, I was greeted by a Filipina maid who ushered me inside. The enormous room was round with an improbably high ceiling in black mirror. Overlooking it was a balcony with an entertainment area and a banqueting room. You reach the top floor by a winding staircase. As the entrance is on the third floor the staircase also winds down to the staff quarters and to Cecil’s bedroom, site – almost inevitably – of a round bed.
Cecil eventually appears from below and we sit on one of three sofas arranged in discrete areas of the room. He looks improbably young and easy of movement for a man of 76 – a youthful appearance he attributes to his regular basketball sessions and nocturnal activities.
He’s wearing a brown suede jacket, a sweater, cravat and casual trousers. He calls one of his staff – he has eight in total, including a driver – to bring him his “light” sunglasses. A maid appears with a pair of Ferragamo.
Cecil designed the house himself some four decades ago when he returned from studying architecture at the UK’s Durham University. “It started with very contemporary thinking: black mirrors, stainless steel, high ceiling, skylights,” he says. “But when you get older you like Chinese and European classical culture,” he adds, gesturing to the assortment of antique furniture, ink paintings, Chinese lacquerware and Buddhist statues around. “We also have a Japanese garden.”
The house, at around 16,000 square ft, was designed to let in lots of natural light and to incorporate the sea view. “We tried to keep both sides light, mingling in the green environment,” he says. “So you have an interior garden mixed with an exterior garden and a waterfall outside.” He notices the waterfall is not operating and picks up a white telephone from the glass coffee table. “Julia, can you turn on the waterfall,” he says, his instructions transmitted through loudspeakers as though he were a Bond villain. “Our guest would like to see the sharks,” I imagine him saying. “Julia, can you please release them.”
We walk over to his terrace for a better view of the ocean. Below is a kidney-shaped swimming pool with a small stone elephant poised as if about to dive in. There are rocks and coral on the pool floor. “So we can snorkel,” he explains.
to be continued