As the city that saw it fit to complement the world’s tallest free-standing tower with a yonic counterpart, Toronto has long focused upon assembling a great list of world-class buildings to aptly reflect its international standing. And now, the Toronto skyline is set to welcome its finest addition yet with 1 Delisle Condos.
Although still in pre-construction, this development by Slate Asset Management has already been making waves in the architectural community for its startling, eye-catching design. Featuring a sculptural 16-sided facade that uses a recurring hexagonal honeycomb pattern that organically shifts from a square base to a rounded 556 foot-high apex, this stunning design has been the recipient of effusive praise.
While Canadian print media are calling the future addition to Yonge and St. Clair as an “architectural icon” while it has been hailed as a "powerful and beautiful addition to the skyline" and a "very striking piece of architecture" by none other than Toronto’s own Design Review Panel.
And, in addition to the high aesthetics of this highly-stylized skyscraper, much of the hype surrounding this development has to do with the involvement of Jeanne Gang, the world’s foremost female architect.
At the same time her architectural firm Studio Gang has been winning international awards and prominent design competitions such as the extension to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Gang has been recognized by Time Magazine as the world’s most influential architect of 2019, the only person in her field to be named to the Time 100 list this year.
Fame and spectacle notwithstanding, 1 Delisle Condos promises to be a significant development that will have a lasting impact upon the city.
By challenging housing conventions as well as serving as an international model for sustainable development, this luxury condo looks to subvert the status quo through the use of Gang’s characteristic ability to incorporate design as a way to connect people socially, experientially, and intellectually.
According to conventional building practices, being able to see into other condominium suites is typically regarded as poor design. And yet, when referring to Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower and its irregularly spaced balconies, Gang defiantly described it as an intentional design choice.
"It was about letting people connect to the outside and connect to their neighbours in an interesting way," Gang told the Globe & Mail. "Our studio is interested in how architecture can build stronger communities, stronger relationships. Let's not pretend you are in a single-family house. This is a city."
As with all her work, Gang’s fearless approach to architecture is fully on display with 1 Delisle Condos. In addition to the irregularly shaping of each of its floors, the structure features green terraces with sheltered alcoves that allow for year-round use, redefining this under-utilized part of the typical Canadian apartment.
“In addition to providing protected outdoor space, these elements lend the tower a more human scale,” reads a Studio Gang statement explaining the building’s repurposed outdoor space. “Their angled, alternating geometry allows for variously sized floor plates that result in unique conditions within the units, bringing a diversity of residential options to the mixed-use neighbourhood.”
Having attracted so much attention for its forward-thinking design, 1 Delisle Condos may make its strongest impact yet by serving as a leading example of energy-efficiency.
1 Delisle Condos will be built with such sustainable and environmentally-friendly features such as a tapered top that reduces shadow impact and a committed exploration of a block-wide district energy system shared with adjacent Slate properties. And by opting for the stricter Tier 2 Toronto Green Standard, this high-profile development looks to influence future construction trends by leading by example.
And while a number of Toronto financial and educational institutions are likewise certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs (LEED), this stunning combination of sustainability and aesthetics looks to take the city’s architecture to the next level.
None of this is to suggest that Toronto buildings have never achieved international prominence, especially when it comes to Toronto condominiums.
Lanterra Developments’ 67-storey Ice II condo tower on York Street was named one of the ten most beautiful skyscrapers in the world in 2015, while 11-storey boutique condo 12 Degrees on Beverley Street was shortlisted for the Residential Building Award at the 2016 World Architecture Festival. Meanwhile, Mississauga condo complex Absolute World was recognized as one of the Best Tall Buildings in the Americas in 2012, an award that matches the building’s local honor of being called the “Marilyn Monroe” building.
And now, with the opulence and fame of 1 Delisle Condos coming to grace us, Toronto’s skyline will soon become one of the most iconic in the world.
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