A museum of ceramics may not be everyone’s cup of tea [rimshot], but the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art is one of Toronto’s favourite buildings. Garnering an unprecedented positive rating of 81.5%, the structure took top honours in the third annual Pug Awards, which were announced today.
The Pug Awards, despite their frustrating website, had Torontonians vote on 22 new buildings with a simple thumbs-up, thumbs-down rating. 40,000 votes later, the brilliant Gardiner came out on top while the atrocious Be Bloor condominums landed a deserved last, with only 2.7% of participants brave enough to voice their approval.
Re-opened a year ago and with 3,000 pieces in the permanent collection, the Gardiner is Canada’s largest museum dedicated to ceramic art. Designed by renowned architecture firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB), the building alludes to the cantilevered style of Frank Lloyd Wright and the clean modernist lines of Le Corbusier. The museum also sits directly eastward from the Royal Ontario Museum’s new Crystal, which will undoubtedly find a spot in next year’s Pug Awards.
In second place, with a 77.7% approval rating, is the stylish One King West, which is graceful in its thin profile and boatlike prow. Third and fourth place went to the Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building and the Tip Top Lofts conversion. Participants were torn over the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (59.7% approval) and nine out of ten of the lowest-rated buildings were condos.
The Pug Awards (formerly Pugly Awards) is also known as The People’s Choice Awards for Architecture, and was started in 2005 as a means to express both displeasure and enthusiasm for newly-completed architectural projects. The handpicked design board includes rock legend Geddy Lee, Toronto Life‘s John Macfarlane, ex-mayor David Crombie, and National Post gossip gadfly Shinan Govani.
Gardiner Museum photo by Shai Gil, courtesy of KPMB Architects