Zhang Huan's 'the Rising' has been turning heads outside Toronto's Shangri La hotel.

Shangri-La hotel grabs urban design honours

Shangri-La hotel‘s ‘the Rising’ has landed an award of excellence in the 2013 Toronto Urban Design Awards.

Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Huan’s massive stainless steel sculpture “the Rising” took top honours on Sept. 11, in TUDA’s ‘Elements’ category, which recognizes “stand-alone object, public art installation, landscape element or small-scale piece of a building which contributes significantly to the quality of the public realm.”

Marianne McKenna is a founding partner of KPMB Architects and a member of the Toronto Urban Design Awards jury.

“[We the jury] thought it was certainly a remarkable piece of urban design,” McKenna said. “Everyone said wow this is pretty interesting.”

The 72 x 65 foot sculpture is made of stainless steel and was unveiled in May 2012, three months before the opening of the hotel.

The sculpture’s meaning is subjective although the Shangri-La Hotel’s Director of Communications, Kerry Connelly, says many people think it’s a dragon or a flock of pigeons coming out of a larger bird.

“The downtown core is really turning into a piece of public art and the sculpture is very eye catching. Tourists visiting the city will see a statement being made on University Avenue,” Connelly said.

Huan’s sculpture is one of many pieces of contemporary art found throughout the city as part of the city’s effort to contrast the monotonous glass buildings.

The 2013 Urban Design Awards currently have an exhibit of the winners on display at the Toronto City Hall rotunda until the end of the week with exhibits at district civic centres until Oct. 11.