the marilyn monroe tower

Curves reign.  In Chicago this week, Canada’s Marilyn Monroe Tower was named best skyscraper in the Americas by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  Applause to MAD Architects of Beijing, China for designing the highly-suggestive female forms, dropping these creatures of loveliness in the unlovely bedroom community of Toronto.

I happened to be in Mississauga yesterday when the announcement went public, so I took some shots of the stunning sweep, sashay and twist of the towers.  (The less-complex version of the 56-storey Marilyn Monroe sits slightly to the north on the development) in the heart of sprawling, unwalkable Mississauga.Mr. Salvatore, president of Fernbrook Homes and Mr. Crignano, a principal in Cityzen development, commissioned the multi-tower development, paying a premium of 20 per cent to construct the MAD-design. The design, engineered by Sigmund Soudack, makes concrete look plastic.  It features continuous glassed-in balconies, and a tower that rotates clockwise between one and eight degrees.  Supporting walls run longer or shorter depending on the configuration of the concrete floor plates.

Forty-five years ago, Mississauga was an unspoiled landscape of hayfields, but the countryside has since been replaced by strip malls, shopping centres and unwalkable high-rise neighbourhoods. A six-lane thoroughfare leads you through the ultimate in built banality…but even on a misty morning it’s possible to glimpse the outstanding archi-female form in the distance.

a surprising vista in Mississauga: nature and the sashaying condo towers.

Voluptuous design sells.  The Marilyn sold out in a matter of weeks.   For the record, the Marilyn Monroe, a term coined by the public, though the actual title – which nobody seems to know – is the Absolute.  Ninety-two firms from around the world competed to design the towers.  Obviously the jury picked a winner.

  1. Hello Lisa: Thank you for the front row seat at this announcement. I stayed at a nearby hotel two years ago and marvelled at the design and engineering know-how. Nonethe less it creates tension in my mind due to the perceived top heaviness. On the other hand the curved and twisting torso is a treat for the eyes. Bravo!

  2. ann kurdyak said:

    love your blog so much. recently saw your involvement on the panel concerning the mirvish gehry connection. all very exciting!!!!!!!! much appreciation for you sending along your blog!!!!!!!! ann.

  3. Heather Macleod said:

    I really enjoy your blog, Lisa. Keep them coming.
    As an inveterate downtowner, I think it’s about time we stop referring to Mississauga as a bedroom community and begin to support their attempts at making the city more livable and walkable. It’s a big challenge and they need all the support we can give them. After all, in just a few decades we will be joined in a regional metropolis. Just look at what happened to Tokyo in the 60s!

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