Site Seeing With Hume: Toronto’s One Bloor East Gets Its Grade

Toronto Storeys newest feature “Site Seeing With Hume” reviews the city’s most talked about condos — and has architects and building designers on the edge of their structures. Renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume has revived his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com. 

One Bloor East

Address: 1 Bloor St. E.
Developer: Great Gulf
Architect: Hariri Pontarini
Completed: 2018

GRADE: B

(Image courtesy of UrbanToronto.ca)

Few condo towers come with as heavy a burden of expectation as One Bloor East.

Occupying the southeast corner of Yonge and Bloor — one of Toronto’s most high-profile intersections and one of only two in the city to rate a pedestrian scramble — it was destined to become a landmark regardless of its architecture.

And there’s no question the 76-storey skyscraper does manage to stand out, but not entirely for the right reasons.

Designed by the highly regarded local practice of Hariri Pontarini, One Bloor East starts well. It makes all the right moves at ground level, where a brilliant six-storey glass podium is fully connected to the street and sets the tone for the upscale neighbourhood along Bloor.

But above, it strives a bit too hard to achieve iconic status.

The undulating curves that move up and down the shaft of the 254-metre tower feel too self-conscious to be entirely convincing. They are the sort of thing Austrian modernist architect Adolf Loos might have had in mind when he famously declared ornamentation a “crime” early in the last century.

The shape and form of the exterior of One Bloor is determined by these ornamental curves, which also give the building a vaguely retro but overly slick aesthetic.

Indeed, the tower, which serves as a sort of gateway to the Mink Mile, comes down rather too emphatically on the side of slickness. A little restraint would have gone a long way.


 

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