Construction magazine, May 1929 (via TRAC)
The Concourse Building

... It is quite apparent to anyone with even a smattering of knowledge about building that the basic structure is of heavy steel and of concrete columns and beams. No attempt is made by the overlaying covering material to conceal the rough structure. On the contrary, the position of the columns running from the base to parapet is revealed and stressed. The native strength and beauty inherent in the bare outlines of the structure are glorified.

Old forms of architecture, such as Classic, Gothic, Elizabethan, and the rest are laid aside. The Concourse Building is a modern of the moderns. It is frankly a skyscraper, not dressed up as a Doric temple, or as a Gothic hall: but a skyscraper exulting in its own inherent characteristics of strength and height. The base is massive, consisting of three storeys of solid stone. The columns and pilasters flow upward without interruption clear to the parapet. The windows, numerous and large, are frankly vertical rows of glass, recessed between the vertical columns. The old-fashioned tall building treated the wall as a self-sufficient flat surface, which it is not, punctured by windows, and resembling a sieve or a waffle, surmounted by classic friezes or cornices.

The Concourse Building, on the contrary, deals simply in mass and height. Ornament is not artificially applied. The building is arresting and striking, because the qualities belonging to a skyscraper are not hidden, but emphasized. It should not be assumed that the materials were casually chosen; on the contrary a glance reveals that none but materials most appropriate to the design have been selected to produce the resulting effect.

In this respect, the brick work plays a definite part in emphasizing the underlying basic structure. The columns are overlaid with light grey brick, whereas the windows and spandrels are shown as alternating vertical lines in a darker color, the effect being much like organ pipes or a clump of slender trees.

Color indeed plays a most vivid and important part in achieving the general result. This[,] with the freedom from slavish precedent or traditional style in the design, and the introduction of poetical lines from the verse of Canadian poets, in the chiselled inscription of the walls of the entrance hall, makes the structure one which has a wide popular interest and appeal. ...

"The Concourse Building, Toronto," Construction V. 22 N. 5 (May 1929), pp. 138-44.

articles and reference

the latest news in a slow-moving tale   

c o n c o u r s e