MOCA Toronto, formally Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), was founded in 1993 as the Art Gallery of North York and then renamed the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 1999.
In 2005, the museum moved downtown into a warehouse space located at 952 Queen Street West.
The museum mounted 200+ exhibitions, featured 1,100 artists, and engaged over 40,000 annual visitors over a 10-year period.
MOCA played a catalytic role in transforming the local Queen West neighbourhood into the internationally celebrated Art + Design District.
Following an extensive search, in December 2015 MOCA signed a 40-year renewable lease for its new location.
• aA applied a light touch and a simple material palette, excavating the original architecture to
reveal the character of the original building, while updating it to house a 21st century museum.
The result is a unique cultural hub and focal point of a revitalized Sterling Road community.
• The building’s transformation parallels the reinvention of the anchor tenant (MOCA), and the
reemergence of Sterling Road where creative businesses, working in thoughtfully reimagined
post-industrial spaces, are building a community through collaborative programming.
• Open, flexible loft-style interiors accommodate a broad range of museum programming.
• Exposed building structure and mechanical and electrical systems evoke the Tower Automotive Building’s industrial history.
Strategic Interventions reveal and embrace the ‘bones’ of the heritage building – it is clear what is new, what has been restored, and what is in original condition:
• All new exterior work was contained within the first two storeys, to maintain the building’s “threelayer” façade: a two-storey base, a shaft with exposed concrete columns and brick infill, and an attic storey articulated with a cornice and band course.
• The main entrance features an ‘aerodynamic’ aluminum clad awning that evokes the building’s
role in war-time manufacturing of airplane parts.
• New wood swing doors were designed and built to match the original entrance doors.
• Applying the Modernist principle “form follows function”, aA designed a transparent “glass box” west entrance that is evocative of a museum display case.
• The new west entrance traces the sawtooth pattern left on the west façade by the original
rooftop skylights of a demolished one-storey annex.
• The building’s “mushroom” columns are the most striking feature of the interior, and the team
made every effort to maintain the visibility of the column grid, and to enhance the presence of
the columns on each floor.
• The team swapped out all 177 of the original steel-framed warehouse windows with high
performance aluminum-framed replacements to maintain the Tower Automotive Building’s
industrial character while improving its thermal performance and energy efficiency.
• The team replaced the rotted timber framing of the rooftop skylights with structural steel and
installed high-performance windows to restore the light-filled quality of the original 10th floor
• The original loading dock bi-fold wood doors were refurbished and reinstalled.
MOCA Toronto, formally Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), was founded in 1993 as the Art Gallery of North York and then renamed the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 1999. In 2005, the museum moved downtown into a warehouse space located at 952 Queen Street West. The museum mounted 200+ exhibitions, featured 1,100 artists, and engaged over 40,000 annual visitors over a 10-year period. MOCA played a catalytic role in transforming the local Queen West neighbourhood into the...
- Year 2018
- Work started in 2015
- Work finished in 2018
- Status Completed works
- Type Museums / Art Galleries / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings