Site Seeing With Hume: Ivory On Adelaide 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. 

Ivory on Adelaide

Address: 400 Adelaide St. East
Developer: Plaza
Architects: Hariri Pontarini
Completed: 2015

GRADE: B

Ivory on Adelaide (Image courtesy of Plaza)

Few streets have felt the impact of the Toronto condo boom more than Adelaide St. E.

A decade ago, it was lined with historic buildings and old industrial sites — most notably the former bakery now occupied by George Brown College.

For many thoroughfares, the result of such a fate would be a mishmash, a miserable mix of structures and purposes. But, however improbably, on Adelaide it works.

The mix of residential, institutional and commercial brings a vitality to the street that’s hard not to admire.

READ: Toronto Is Running Out Of Commercial Real Estate And Has Record High Rent

Needless to say, not all the condo towers that have appeared are created equal. One of the most recent arrivals, Ivory on Adelaide, 400 Adelaide St. E., is better than most.

Though one feels something was lost in the construction process, the new building presents a brave front to the city. The architects, Toronto’s Hariri Pontarini, seem to have used every trick at their disposal to break down the bulk of what is basically a large mid-rise slab flanked by two shorter extensions.

READ: This Is One Of Toronto’s Largest Condo Developments Ever — And It’s A Game Changer

The cladding, which in lower floors includes off-white (ivory) precast concrete, includes glass and steel above. Balconies also vary. Some are recessed to form cozy room-like spaces, while others extend in a more traditional manner.

A small “square” faces south onto Adelaide. Though obvious efforts have been made to reduce the monolithic quality of a building that fills the site almost to bursting, it still looms over the street.

All things considered though, this is a project that brings as much to the street as it takes. That’s always a good sign.

READ: Toronto Has The Most Cranes In North America — Which Means The Most Development
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