Finch West Station harkens the OCAD building
Inspired by the 'very strange,' 6,000-year-old Minorcan columns in early architecture
Art will blend with architecture in the six new subway stations now taking shape along the TTC’s Spadina Extension subway line, set to open in the fall of 2016.
In this series, CBC looks at each of the six stations in more detail.
Finch West Station
Architects: Will Alsop at Alsop Architects, London, with SGA/IBI Group Architects, Toronto
Artist: Bruce McLean, London
Finch West Station is an clear relative of Toronto’s OCAD building downtown. Bright colour is a component of both, and both were designed by Will Alsop.
Alsop made a bold design move by taking an unattractive substation box, a necessary part of this station, and plopping it right on top of the building. That added height and gave the building more presence. Adding a giant coloured fluorescent light to one end transformed the building into a landmark.
The building’s interior is tinted by the coloured glass exterior windows. A dramatic double height space is penetrated by columns that hold up the underground roof, and these columns are the artist’s contribution to the station.
Artist and sculptor Bruce McLean was inspired by the "very strange," 6,000-year-old Minorcan columns in some of the earliest buildings humans ever constructed on the surface of the earth. Without any sacrifice to their structural performance, McLean modified the station columns to allude to the palm-tree-based forms these ancient people used as pillars.
The blurred line between the station’s art and architecture makes the art hard to see and, “I quite like the fact that it is invisible,” McLean said. But that doesn’t mean the art doesn’t exist. As an artist, McLean contributes a certain freedom of thought to the building program, he said.
Read about the rest of the Spadina Extension subway line:
- Downsview Park Station
- Finch West Station
- York University Station
- Pioneer Village Station
- 407 Station
- Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station
Michelle Adelman is a fellow in global journalism at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.