Uno Prii


Uno Prii was born in Tallinn, Estonia on February 28th, 1924 and is the Architect. At the age of 76, Uno Prii biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, and networth are available.

Date of Birth
February 28, 1924
Place of Birth
Tallinn, Estonia
Death Date
Nov 27, 2000 (age 76)
Zodiac Sign
Uno Prii Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

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Uno Prii Career

Prii created his own architectural firm in 1957. Having his own firm allowed him to explore his architectural vision, which diverged from the straight lines and simple forms emphasized by Modernism, the dominant style at the time. In the 1960s, apartment living was quickly growing in popularity as thousands of immigrants arrived in Toronto. Baby boomers also entered the work force and sought convenient living spaces.

The 1960s was Prii's most exuberant era, when he saw the completion of many buildings with the sculptural curves and artful details that he became known for. In this era, Prii took advantage of new slip-form concrete moulds which slid up buildings as concrete was being poured. The architect pushed his sculptural design ideas with passion. Some potential clients were alienated and walked away. Toronto builder Harry Hiller, a Polish-born carpenter by trade, was one client who was open to Prii's vision, and it was for him that Prii developed some of his most well-known apartment buildings, including 35 and 44 Walmer Road, and 20 Prince Arthur Avenue.

Uno Prii's design for The Vincennes at 35 Walmer Road was among his boldest works yet. Prii's lightly curved façade features a dramatic yet elegant flare at the fifth floor, allowing for deeper balconies. The façade is white, a characteristic shared by several of his most distinctive towers from the 1960s. Fins shoot towards the sky. Prii designed the wide apartment tower with a large curved canopy over its entrance, perforated with a series of small holes at the edge. Harry Hiller completed the tower in 1966.

It was at 20 Prince Arthur Avenue where the collaboration of Prii and Hiller produced what is arguably Prii's most expressive design ever to be realized. The single 23-storey high-rise apartment tower completed in 1968 emphasizes its vertical form with a bold, upwards-sweeping concrete façade. What appear to be flying buttresses create a massive flared base projecting outwards from the main façade. These elements not only became the distinguishing feature of the tower, but reduced the need for wind bracing. The 'flyers' merge with the façade, continuing upwards beyond the roofline, crowning the tower.

The sides are blank concrete walls with a smooth texture and white finish, save for a black vertical stripe running the length of the walls, opening up to a massive arch at ground level. A rectangular section of the façade behind the arch is painted black for contrast. The white walls are contrasted with opaque blue balcony railings on the main façade facing the street, as well as on the opposite side of the building. The minimalism of the side walls furthers the sculptural aesthetic of the tower.

In 1969, Uno Prii would also see the completion of the Jane-Exbury Towers in suburban North York, a series of five towers staggered one after the other. These white towers share a similar sculptural design that references both The Vincennes and the Prince Arthur Towers. The roofline and side walls with an arch at ground level recall the Prince Arthur Towers, and an outward flare in the façade just above the lowest floors is similar to the Vincennes. The staggered arrangement of the towers on a large suburban site, surrounded by open green spaces, gives the towers an impressive presence, taking advantage of the more open suburban context.

Prii worked with Hiller again, and in 1969, his design for 44 Walmer Road was completed. The white façade is light and thoroughly rounded. The 12-storey apartment building is characterized by circular and linear motifs, with a semi-circular canopy over the driveway in front, perforated with large holes around the edges. Prii also designed a complementary fountain located in front of the building with two intersecting parabolic arches over a circular pool, connecting with the canopy. The water sprays upwards out of a large, concrete element shaped like a champagne glass, and spills out into a pool.

The building featured curvilinear, circle-patterned balcony railings designed in an artful pattern as its most distinctive feature. They were removed for balcony repairs to be made, but then owner Gaetano D'Addario decided not to reinstall them, choosing unremarkable clear glass railings in July 2001 as the replacement, in spite of protests from tenants, neighbours, the architect's family, and individuals in the architecture community like Larry Richards of the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture.

By the early 1970s, Uno Prii began to use more rectilinear forms. He adapted ancient imagery for decorative motifs, creating post and lintel allusions with concrete slabs, and stylized faces inspired by Moai and rectilinear human figures. In this period, he transitioned from glazed white brick to more organic hues like brown and natural terracotta, and from smooth white concrete to textured, grey concrete surfaces.

In the early 1980s, Prii retired and closed his design firm.