"Harbourfront Center Theatre was originally built as an ice house where large blocks of ice intended for freight and cold storage were kept. It was converted in the 1980s into a 416-seat theatre. The recent renovation has created a sleek, three-storey glass envelope that surrounds the entire building, providing thermal insulation and unique energy-generating windows.
The Waterglass project is a world first for integrating art glass, photovoltaics and heat mirror technology bringing it to the highest insulation values possible for glass. Within the transparent blue curtain, hundreds of embedded solar cells convert solar energy into usable energy for the theatre. A significant upgrade for a 90-year-old ice house.
Harbourfront Center is situated on Lake Ontario in Toronto. In my design, the lake flows into the glass canopy at the western end appearing to fuse with a series of solar panels creating a pattern of energy and light on water. In the northern face, the water forms a quiet deep pool and then lifts for this into a series of waves. As the wave reaches the eastern end, it becomes spray and mist floating around the corner into the east facade. Above the east entrance the water becomes a dream-like boat holding our past, present and future. This is expressed though 360 screen printed images of Lake Ontario -- its human history, geography, ecology and primal beauty.
Early Images of Native occupation on the lake give way to maps and European explorers. Toronto grows up along the waterfront and over time our industry, port and way of life create barriers to the lake. In the uppermost imagery, a new awareness of our place in the word shows a way forward -- through revitalization of the rivers, care for other species, renewable energy, and respect for the lake. All of this is framed by shorelines and eternal horizons -- as if the lake was holding us in her hands."Sarah Hall - A Thousand Colours, pg.268.