Following months of construction, a new pedestrian bridge opened at Cadillac Fairview's Eaton Centre in the heart of Downtown Toronto. Designed by WilkinsonEyre Architects and Zeidler Partnership Archtects, the bridge over Queen Street West connects the main volume of the Eaton Centre with the Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue flagship locations, replacing the original 1977-built skywalk that was taken down earlier this year.
The striking work was the product of an international design competition held in 2014, with WilkinsonEyre's winning entry representing a contextual "handshake" between the differing architectural styles of the two buildings it connects. This design was officially unveiled in April, with bridge assembly beginning the following month just to the west on James Street. The next major progress came in July, when the bridge's steel structure was carefully moved and hoisted into place above Queen Street.
As important as the structure is for its use, its architectural qualities were given equally high importance. At its north end, the bridge is rectilinear, responding to the Eaton Centre's modern style. Proceeding south, the bridge gradually morphs into a rounded shape in reference to the arched second floor former window of the Hudson's Bay/Saks building through which it connects.
200 etched bronze panels and 355 slumped glass panels form a gradual transition between the two buildings, further driving home this design statement.