Completed in 1954, the DTAH studio was designed as the first permanent headquarters for the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA). The building design was the result of a competition won by John B. Parkin Associates, one of the provinces leading modernist firms at the time, with John C. Parkin as project architect.
The new headquarters, which sits in the Rosedale valley ravine, was critically acclaimed as a landmark modern building in Toronto in the press and architectural publications of the period. It was also successful at providing a unifying focal point for Toronto’s architects, with its high profile design injecting renewed pride and energy into the profession at a critical time in the city’s development.
The exterior appearance of the building has changed very little since construction, but the spacious and open nature of Parkin’s original interior was modified to meet the expanding administrative needs of the OAA. The generously proportioned entry foyer was scaled down in 1974, and again in 1982, at the same time that the feature exhibition hall ramp was removed. Both levels have undergone several changes over the years to accommodate partitioned office areas.
In 1992 when the OAA moved to their new building in Don Mills, DTAH carried out renovations to the building, incorporating the functional requirements of a contemporary architectural office while at the same time attempting to recreate the sense of openness, simplicity and spatial clarity of the original building.
“They created a multi-purpose design, permitting maximum enjoyment of the ark-like site”— OAA: A Centennial History