When I visited home a few months ago, I had the fortune of being able to tour Massey College, a graduate residence at the University of Toronto. Though built in 1962 I embarrassingly only learned about it a few years ago and had been wanting to visit ever since.
Right away you can see what captured my interest – it’s a lovely modern interpretation of an arts and crafts expression that also has a touch of Wright in it.
This all starts with the highly articulated brick walls, shaped into strong geometric forms that are further punctuated by openings or careful detailing, such as the copper caps or window sills, or even more intricate details such as the amazing metal work at the corners and the entry gate that could double as its own piece of artwork. (The cone does, admittedly, detract a bit…)
Crowning the clean lines of this base is the concrete and glass latticework that features sculptural flourishes and flair. (These give me vibes of the kind of sculptural work Wright did at the Hollyhock house.)
The whole thing is built to enclose a large central courtyard punctuated by a clocktower that reaches its sculptural fingers to the sky.
The whole affair has a great rhythm, with mass and bold slabs that never feel over scaled that all play nicely off the intricate and highly carved insets, all with a strong vertical emphasis. Very sweet piece of work, that only gets better on the inside… I’ll post that part next week!
Massey College by Ronald Thom
(Who, interestingly, also did many of the most famous buildings at Trent University.)