ERA Architects

The animals of the Coliseum

As one small component of the interior restoration of the East Annex vestibule in the Coliseum Complex at Exhibition Place, ERA was asked to remove the wooden wall assembly and install new stair handrails. We considered a number of options and found that the most economical and appropriate for the space was a steel handrail with a solid metal panel to meet the code requirements.

An initial concern was that the design of the railing would have no relation to other elements in the building.  Looking for references and precendents, the design team drew inspiration from the animal-head reliefs on the sculpture wall outside the Heritage Court.  Since 1922, the buildings have been used for the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and were primarily designed to hold animals.  The historic reliefs were translated into vectors, and the digitally-interpreted silhouettes were laser-cut into the railing panels – paying tribute to the building’s programming and history.  Note that the panels will be site-painted green to match the other historic steel elements, including the refurbished original steel industrial windows.