127 Walmer Road Toronto Canada

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Canadian War Museum

Prior to establishing TYYZ, Mark Tholen was responsible for the design of the Canadian War Museum at the office of Moriyama and Teshima. The museum is an emotional personal exploration into concrete and steel with embedded stories of survival, courage, perseverance and regeneration. The free 'democratic' ideas of organic space creation in the Behnisch and Scharoun tradition were combined with the solidity of WW1 / WW2 cast in place bunker concrete. Inspiration for the solid parts and the spacial lighting concepts of the museum were derived from the appropriate brutalism period in architecture from Neviges Church by Gottfried Böhm to the 'Konzentrationslager Dachau' Memorial by Helmut Striffler from 1967. The specification for the architectural concrete for this building were reflecting a treatment that would best resemble the suffering of war. While the interior walls received a random plywood form treatment, the exterior walls of the war museum were created in a rough cut board form and made from concrete that was saturated with the maximum allowable fly ash content to create a unique appropriate materiality and worn texture; simply one of the worst possible specification for a concrete surface ever written. The results were exceptional, colours ranged from mossy green to various shades of grey with an allowance for gaps between the boards to permit the concrete to ooze out between those boards.

The Canadian War Museum design has been awarded multiple national and international awards, OAA Award of Excellence, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Award, Design Exchange Award and a Governor General's Medal For Architecture in Canada.


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