Architecture Envy | Toronto Edition

I’m sure it’s pretty obvious by now that I have become obsessed with including some form of nature in design. A while back, I posted about the beautiful Tower of Cedars being built in Switzerland, and only dreamed of having something like that built in Toronto. Well it looks like those dreams may be coming true! There have been a couple of submissions for green living buildings to be built in Toronto, which is so exciting. Finally Toronto will have something new and different to break up all the other condos being built in this city.

The first one is by a Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, of BIG (Bjarke Ingles Group), and is being developed on the entire block of King Street West. The concept for this stunning new city block was inspired by the work Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie did in Montreal on a project called Habitat 67. The idea is to show that architecture can create communities. When announcing the new project, Ingels said, “With King Street West, we wanted to find an alternative to the tower and podium you see a lot of in Toronto and revisit some of Safdie’s revolutionary ideas, but rather than a utopian experiment on an island, have it nested into the heart of the city.” It will be refreshing to have something new, that tries to bring people together as a community instead of being broken up into boxes all over the city. It appears to me as though they are building a community within a city, and they’re doing this be ensuring that the condo not only proves housing, but access to many warehouses in the area and a public courtyard that people can access from the street. Future phases of this project will also include contributing office and retails space as well. I particularly like the design of this building, because it is so unique and really stands out against the otherwise grey concrete surrounding of the city. Plus there’s so much nature in the design, and with all the different levels in the structure, people can view and experience those trees regardless of what floor of the condo they happen to live on.

Next up we have a condo being built on the waterfront at Queens Quay East, which coincidently is also being designed by a Danish architect, by the name of 3XN. This particular design was entered into a design competition and was selected as the winner by developer Tridel. The concept for this condo design is similar to that of the one being designed by BIG, in that the idea is to create a neighbourhood, using the traditional family home as the inspiration for the project. Architect Kim Herforth Nielsen says, “The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighbouring parks, and the city skyline.” The unique design and layout of this new condo is done in a way that every unit will get to enjoy those beautiful views of the lake. This is being achieved by each row stacking up and off set from that of the one below it, and the entire building is shaped in an L pattern. “While the stepped L-shaped form provides a sculptural quality to the building, the large garden terraces are the hallmark of the design. The terraces will activiate the façade, enlivening it with texture, colour, depth and variety, while imbuing it with a human scale.” I, for one, am excited and relieved that Toronto is getting some new and interesting architecture. And it looks as though this is just the beginning for that area of the Lakeshore, since 3XN is building six condos in total for the area, with this one being only the first. I can only hope that the others are as refreshing and interesting as this design is.