Client: Luminato Festival
Location: Toronto, Canada
In collaboration with Luminato's Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt and Charcoalblue, PARTISANS executed a singular vision: Convert one of the world’s largest decommissioned power stations into a temporary cultural and performing arts venue. We understand this incredible opportunity—repurposing the iconic yet anachronistic coal plant to celebrate the energy of art—as a way of hacking Toronto’s 20th-century past to project its 21st-century future as a global generator of art and culture.
The Hearn Generating Station is a striking monument to a bygone industrial era and a defining feature of Toronto’s cityscape; yet, its legacy has become unmoored from its original purpose. How does one reactivate the Hearn’s industrial heritage to inspire a completely new way of seeing the familiar?
Architecture is normally obsessed with the fantasy of permanence—legacy and performance as functions of brick and mortar. For PARTISANS, the challenge—and the opportunity—was to use the backdrop of an intransigent architectural relic to create an extraordinary and unexpected temporary experience that will leave a lasting impression.
In the spirit of Cedric Price’s Fun Palace scheme, PARTISANS was inspired by the prospect of making the Hearn accessible to the public and offering architectural, cultural, and digital interventions that draw people together to imagine the future of Toronto. With a book launch and talk on the condominiumization of Toronto, an on-site design workshop, a video game that allows people to #PlayTheHearn, and a free augmented reality app that enables guests to visualize the virtual gallery we designed for Trove, we couldn't be more proud to have been part of the amazing team that helped transform the Hearn.