Category Archives: Architecture

Doors Open, Toronto (and Look Who Drops In)


With Doors Open Toronto 2009 just around the corner we here at Swipe and BUILT are more thankful than ever to be part of the extraordinary culture complex at 401 Richmond Street West. A prime destination during the festival, 401 is expecting several thousand visitors over the weekend of May 23rd and 24th. Accordingly, Swipe and Built will be open both days from 10 am to 6 pm.

In celebration of this celebration of our city’s cultural, social and architectural heritage, BUILT offers the following selection of recently published Torontoiana, beginning with a look at the history of local urban sprawl from one of the most sagacious figures in Toronto municipal affairs, ‘Mayor Blue Jeans’ himself, John Sewell.


The Shape of the Suburbs: Understanding Toronto’s Sprawl
? 2009: John Sewell cdnmapleleaf

A meticulous and thoughtful account of how Toronto became ‘Greater’ Toronto, expanding on the author’s classic study The Shape of the City. When BUILT opened it’s doors for the first time last week a photo was needed for the 401 Richmond Street newsletter and it was (rightly) deemed unnewsletterworthy to simply shoot one of us behind the counter so, on the flimsy pretext of a book signing, former Mayor John Sewell was lured down to the shop where he graciously agreed to have his picture taken. After recounting a series of fascinating anecdotes, taken from the book, on the origin and purpose of Toronto’s expressway system, the economic and political history of infrastructure in the 905, and the unlikely connection between the QEW and Adolph Hitler, Mr Sewell was off on his bicycle and back to work (despite the fact that he has every right just to sit at home all day muttering “I told you so.” over and over). Hard to imagine that, back in the Seventies, riding a bike to Council meetings was an occasion for snide derision in the Toronto SUN and elsewhere. (2009: University of Toronto Press; ISBN 9780802095879)



Toronto’s Visual Legacy: Official City Photography from 1856 to the Present
? 2009: Steve MacKinnon, Karen Teeple & Michelle Dale cdnmapleleaf

This unexpectedly beautiful book, published in conjunction with the City of Toronto Archives to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the city’s incorporation, brings together a selection of official City of Toronto photographs chosen by City archivists from their collection of hundreds of thousands of images. Among our favourites, this 1913 scene at 21 Elizabeth Street with the perfect juxtaposition of poverty and power which, unfortunately, characterizes the area around City Hall to this day. (2009: Lorimer; ISBN 9781552774083)





Art Deco Architecture in Toronto: A Guide to the City’s Buildings from the Roaring Twenties and the Depression
? 2009: Tim Morawetz cdnmapleleaf

With a friendly and accessible writing sytle, Art Deco Architecture in Toronto combines the elegance and flair of a coffee-table book with the accurate, practical information and anecdotal background of a guidebook. This important new book will provide the lay-person, architectural historian or Art Deco aficionado with a meaning ful appreciation of this important architectural style as it manifested itself in Toronto.

Concrete Toronto: A Guidebook to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies
? 2007: Micheal McClelland & Graeme Stewart cdnmapleleaf

Concrete Toronto acts as a guide to the city’s extensive inventory of significant concrete buldings and re-examines the unique value of the material and design idiom. Included are the insights of many of the original concrete architects along with a wealth of new and archival photos and drawings. (2007: Coach House Books; ISBN 1552451933)

Endangered Species
? 2007: John Martins-Manteiga, ed. cdnmapleleaf

In partnership with The School of Design at George Brown College, Dominion Modern catalogues twenty-six formative examples of Canadian Modernist architecture threatened with demolition and seeks to engender a wider debate about the value of this aspect of Canadian design heritage. (2007: Dominion Modern; ISBN 9780968193327)

GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto
? 2007: Alana Wilcox, ed. with Christina Palassio & Jonny Dovercourt cdnmapleleaf

In this third volume in the influential uTOpia series, green-minded Torontonians are invited to imagine a more environmentally responsible and humane city. Included is a directory with profiles of green organizations in the GTA, as well as a how-to guide and a fun-facts section. (2007: Coach House Books; ISBN 9781552451946)

Historical Atlas of Toronto
? 2008: Derek Hayes cdnmapleleaf

In this new addition to the acclaimed series, geographer Hayes charts Toronto’s history with more than 200 period maps, providing a unique visual record of the city’s development. (2008: Douglas & Mcintyre Ltd; ISBN 9781553652908)

Inside Toronto: Urban Interiors 1880s to 1920s
? 2006: Sally Gibson cdnmapleleaf

Recognized with a Heritage Toronto award in 2006, this lovely book combines 260 vintage images with extensive original research to document the rarely recorded places where Torontonians lived and worked at the turn of the last century. (2006: Cormorant Books; ISBN 189695195)

Mean City: From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!
? 2007: John Martins-Manteiga cdnmapleleaf

Mean City captures the spirit of an unparalleled boom period in Toronto architecture and industrial design when, from 1945 to 1975, young architects and designers attempted to defy convention in a most conventional city. The book also persuasively laments the indifference that has lead to the loss of so many great modernist buildings in Toronto. (2007: Key Porter Books; ISBN 1556239126)

TSA Guide Map: Toronto Architecture 1953-2003
? 2005: Toronto Society of Architects cdnmapleleaf

This Guide Map is intended to encourage the public to explore modern architecture in the City of Toronto, cataloguing both well known buildings and those deserving of wider recognition. We are happy to report that he TSA is currently working on a new Guide Map on Open Spaces, which is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been
? 2008: Mark Osbaldeston cdnmapleleaf

A tremendously engaging approach to the social history of architecture and urban planning, Unbuilt Toronto examines the aspirations of the city by looking at significant building projects that were never realized, from St. Alban’s Cathedral and Eaton’s magnificent College Street tower, to the Spadina Expressway and the Queen subway. The book inspired a very successful exhibition at the ROM last winter, which is currently being remounted at Urbanscape in the Junction. (2008: Dundurn Press; ISBN 1550028359)

Art Deco Architecture in Toronto: $39.95
Concrete Toronto: A Guide to Concrete Architecture from the 50s to the 70s: $29.95
Greentopia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto $24.95
Historical Atlas of Toronto: $49.95
Inside Toronto: Urban Interiors 1880s to 1920s: $59.95
Mean City: From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!: $26.95
TSA Guide Map: Toronto Architecture 1953-2003: $7.95
Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been: $26.95


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

Swipe Opens a Second Shop at 401 Richmond: BUILT, Books on Architecture


The rumours are true, Swipe has opened a second shop in a beautiful, high-profile suite on the ground floor of 401 Richmond Street West. BUILT, Books on Architecture is hoped, in the fullness of time, to fill the void left by the (really, really depressing) closure last year of the venerable Ballenford Books. For more than 30 years a succession of Susans served the community with a commitment and a level of expertise that we cannot hope to match, at least in the short term. In fact, so as not to make matters worse for our colleagues, Swipe avoided architecture as a subject area altogether for as long Ballenford was in business, with the result that we now feel embarrassingly ill-prepared and uninformed. So … um … help!

E-mail us and let us know what you need, want, or would just like to see at the new shop. Or drop by and see what’s here and what’s missing. We’re open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm and we’ve even got windows! Please help us to make this your community bookstore.


In the Shadow of Mies, from Toronto to Seoul


Exploring Tectonic Space: The Architecture of Jong Soung Kimm

? 2009: Fritz Neumeyer & In Ha Jung

South Korea’s most respected architect, Jong Soung Kimm, spent his formative years in Chicago, first as a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology and, after graduation, as an associate in the studio of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Our interest in Kimm’s work stems from his role as principal architect on the Toronto-Dominion Centre Banking Pavilion (commonly credited to Mies himself), the central lobby of the T-D Centre, and the Centre’s 54th floor Reception Hall. Unfortunately, this book, which had its genesis in an exhibition held in 2006 at the Architecture Forum Aedes in Berlin, focuses exclusively on projects created subsequent to Kimm’s return to Seoul in 1978. On the other hand, Kimm’s work over the past thirty years is stunning, from the Weightlifting Gymnasium for the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the Sonje Museum of Contemporary Art in Kyongju to the Hotel Hilton International and the recently completed Headquarters of SK Corporation, both in Seoul. We would rather these works had been contextualized by the inclusion of material from Kimm’s time with Mies, but for those of us enamoured of Kimm’s Toronto work, at least now we know how the story ends. (2009: Stichting Kunstboek; ISBN 9783803006875)

Exploring Tectonic Space: The Architecture of Jong Soung Kimm: $59.95

Jong Soung Kimm at Aedes, October 2006, courtesy Architecture Forum Aedes


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at:

The Las Vegas We Learned From.


Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

? 1968 / 2009: Robert Venture & Denise Scott Brown with Hilar Stadler & Martino Stierli, Editors

While Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Venturi’s 1966 manifesto challenging the austerity of Modernist orthodoxy, is undoubtedly his theoretical masterwork, it is Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form written in 1972 with Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour that is most often read by architecture students today. The book summarizes studies of the Las Vegas Strip undertaken by Venturi and Scott Brown with students at the Yale School of Architecture in 1968. What the book failed to reproduce was the extensive photographic and filmed documentation of the Vegas Strip taken by the group as part of the study process. It is these seminal images, drawn for the Venturi / Scott Brown archives, that Las Vegas Studio makes available for the first time. This is a truly lovely little publication and a remarkable photographic record of Las Vegas in a formative period. (2009: University of Chicago Press; ISBN 9783858817174)

Las Vegas Studio: $62.95

Venturi / Scott Brown Study Group’s Las Vegas Helicopter footage 1968


To purchase any of the products or titles mentioned here, please visit our downtown Toronto location, call us toll-free at 1-800-56-swipe or e-mail us at: