Spotlight On: Keele centre 500 Keele St

 

Keele Centre the Intermodal freight transport building built by the CPR in the 70’s to offset the gaining role of trucks offsetting train transportation is undergoing roof repair work.

This great industrial building  which still provides light commercial space, having let go the heavy industry that once monopolized the building, the buiding  is in this author opinion a necessarily and valuable part of keeping some industrial nature in the Junction. One of its strengths is it relative distance from most of the residential occupation in the area.

In addition it is a very beautiful  monolithic structure, and a tough building  once when the authors studio was there, a hole had to cut (rather chopped)  though the roof, 3 exhausted artists and  2 days later it was done (80’s). Other than the curtain walls between units, which are made of concrete block, and come and go as required by renters the structure is a reinforced concrete wonder.

Now the building is home to a wide group of firms a bespoke design/build studio (windows on south front visible from Keele Ave.  This unit reflects a common shared artistic history of the building from the 80’s with a number of industrial designers and craft-persons using the unit.

One of  Canada’s best stained glass craftpersons is there.

A music practice studio, along with a host  other smaller concerns.

About the only item missing is the fighter jet that sat on the site for decades.

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

"Beautiful" isn't a word that comes to mind, but in terms of industrial architecture, it's a very interesting and unique structure. The ramps are a great Modernist touch, and the grey concrete contrasts with the rich tones of the brick. With the tall ramps on columns, and the massive plaza in between the two buildings for loading docks, it has a sense of monumentality.

When you see that space from the ramp by Keele with a sunset in the west, it looks grand. I do wish they'd address some cosmetic issues like the landscaping along Keele and repainting the top floor white but there are repairs done regularly and graffiti is being removed.

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