Benjamin Brown: Architect
On view: February 12-April 23, 2016
Urban Space Gallery (401 Richmond Street West)
On view were never-before-seen watercolours, original drawings, and blueprints—all exquisite examples of Brown’s originality, craftsmanship and style.
During the 1920s, Benjamin Brown designed some of Toronto’s most significant architectural gems including the Balfour Building at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street. Spanning the landscape, Brown designed commercial buildings in the garment district, fashionable clothing stores, glamorous residences, a summer resort at Jackson’s Point, the Primrose Club as well as significant Jewish communal buildings. These buildings will be explored within the context of Brown’s career, Toronto’s architectural heritage, and the growth of the Jewish community during this time.
Through the presentation of original architectural drawings, historical photographs, maps and a video documentary, this multi-media exhibition positioned Benjamin Brown as one of Toronto’s most important early leading architects. Intricately rendered architectural details as well as beautifully painted façade drawings and presentation pieces will document the breadth and range of Brown’s accomplishments in the commercial, industrial, corporate, religious, and residential landscape.
A short documentary film, on view in the gallery, presented contemporary perspectives on Brown’s buildings and how they stand as testaments to the past while re-purposed for today. Local architects Jack Diamond and Michael McClelland, architectural historian Marta O'Brien, and Globe and Mail architecture critic Alex Bozikovic are included in the film.
And, local artist/urban geographer Daniel Rotsztain created an illustrated map of Toronto, richly animating the project and demonstrating how Brown’s buildings span the Toronto landscape.
Building History: The Story of Benjamin Brown is Now Online
Building History: The Story of Benjamin Brown is now online as part of the CBC's Canadian Reflections' 2016 season.
Click here to watch the documentary short that accompanied this exhibit.