York Urbanist


December 28th, 2011

Newmarket’s signature York Region Administrative Centre, a masonry-clad structure designed by Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc.  won a 2007 Masonry Masterpiece Award 15 years after its construction. The 245,000-square-foot building, completed at a cost of $60 million, demonstrated design innovations
contributing to sustainable development before it was trendy to do so.

Its large size and uniquely Cardinal-esque styling make it stand out from all other architecture within York Region.  Its only failing is that it has a sister in Hull, Quebec called the Museum of Civilization.  The curvy façades could be twins. The style mapping is a complaint made of another starchitect, Daniel Libeskind for his ROM Crystal’s mate Denver Art Museum.

Notwithstanding the replication of building style, the administrative centre is emblematic of York Region.  The interior first floor is like a street with doors to the offices and meeting rooms.  The command it presents on the exterior to Yonge Street gives Newmarket a bravura that belies its small town persona.  Twenty years after construction, it remains fresh amongst architectural styles.  Douglas Cardinal stuck to his design principles, as the client agonized over the budget excesses. The shadows it casts are purposeful and the absence of angles and corners is easy on the eye. This building is one of the finest examples of public offices built in Ontario during the past 25 years.

Iconic Rating – 9.5 out of 10

Desirability – 9.5 out of 10

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