Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Art and Architecture Tuesdays: Gooderham's Flatiron Building

The Gooderham Building, better known as the Toronto Flatiron building, was completed in 1892 to be the headquarters of the Gooderham and Worts distillery and more specifically; George Gooderham's office.

The term flatiron refers to the shape of these buildings, which is triangular, roughly in the shape of a clothes iron.  The shape of the building is necessitated by the convergence of two roads.  Our Flatiron building is between Front and Wellington Streets where they join at Jarvis Street.This is a view of the building looking from the east and in the background you can see some of the downtown buildings.

It was built in 1892, and is one example of prominent Flatiron buildings in cities around the world.  The English-American Building in Atlanta (1897), and the Fuller Building in New York City (1902) are other examples with similar architectural style.

It was constructed for distiller George Gooderham, son of the founder William Gooderham. It was the office of the Gooderham & Worts distillery until 1952 and sold by the Gooderham Estate in 1957. 

One of the distinctive building features is its shape, the other is the mural which is painted on the rear of the building, visible to cars approaching from the west. 

From Wiki:
It is well-known both for its narrow wedge shape, and for the mural on its back wall, which uses a trompe l'oeil effect to not only make the wall appear to have more windows than it does, but to also give it a more mobile effect by having its edges 'fluttering' away where they are not 'tacked' down. The mural, called Trompe.d'oille, was created by renowned Canadian artist Derek Michael Besant. The mural is a picture of the Perkins Building, which is located directly across the street. Saved by David and Thomas Walsh, restoration took place in 1998 by the owners Michael and Anne Tippin. The building was declared a historic site in 1975 and is now managed and owned by Woodcliffe Corporation.

At the rear of the building is a very pleasant courtyard with both a grassy hill, fountain  and a bricked courtyard.  It is a frequently used venue for summer City events, such as the Criterium, Woofstock and Buskerfest.

You can go see the Flatiron building Monday to Friday's from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  And I thought I had to wait until the Door's Open Event next summer!  Got to steal a few hours away from work and go have a look!

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