John Armstrong

Click to enlarge images

Six Views of the South Elevation of the Seaway Towers Hotel during Various Stages of its 1992 Demolition (2001)

The Seaway Towers Hotel, a signal example of modernist architecture in Toronto, was built in 1961. Estonian born Toronto architect Ants Elken’s striking triangular design for the tower acknowledged the wedge of land the building sat on at the Y-junction of Lakeshore Boulevard and the Gardiner Expressway. The hotel’s location immediately east of the Humber River and at (what was then) the western edge of the Gardiner Expressway cast the building as a lakeside gatehouse for the city.

In the spring of 1992, I photographed the demolition of the Seaway Towers Hotel on a daily basis. For this group of six artworks made in 2001, I chose six views of the hotel in the middle stages of the demolition. Although the photographs do document the gradual disassembling of the building, one sees neither the beginning nor end of the process. On top of each of the photographs, I painted a piece of decorative or functional glassware, ceramics or paper dishware: items that might have been found in a home - or indeed in the Seaway Towers Hotel’s bar or lobby - in the 1960s.

Oil on fibre base photograph on linen
Each panel: 61 x 81 cm (24 x 32 inches)

Blue Mountain
Cornflower Pink Tulip Yellow Stripe
Minton Stafforshire