Site Seeing With Hume: Toronto’s New Aqualina Condo 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. 

Aqualina

Address: 15 – 55 Merchant’s Wharf in The Waterfront
Developer: Tridel/Hines
Architects: Arquitectonica/Kirkor Architects
Completed: Occupancy 2017, but construction continues

GRADE: B

aqualina
Aqualina west façade (Photo courtesy of Christopher Hume)

Slowly but surely Toronto’s revitalized waterfront is taking shape.

The West Don Lands is already an established part of the urban landscape. Now the new Bayside neighbourhood is starting to emerge from the noise and chaos of construction.

Aqualina, the first building to be occupied, presents a reassuringly friendly face to the city.

With its rows of balconies and well-connected ground floor, it fits comfortably into its site. The retail spaces seem too big but could be because they’re still empty.

 

On the south side, however, which faces Lake Ontario, there’s only one entrance. Things can change, of course, but it doesn’t bode well. After all, this is a neighbourhood, mixed-use but not the Eaton Centre.

In a location such as this, on The Waterfront, a building, even one that is predominantly residential, must also serve a purpose.

READ: Toronto Is Running Out Of Commercial Real Estate And Has Record High Rent
aqualina
(Image courtesy of Tridel/Aqualina at Bayside Toronto)

If the result is nothing more than another Shoppers Drug Marts and bank branches, the opportunity will have been squandered.

Above the commercial spaces, where the residential part of the 17-storey building rises, is a series of discrete sections. More slab than tower, it doesn’t overpower the site.

In the best sense of the term, it belongs.

READ: Site Seeing With Hume: The Britt Condo Gets Its Grade
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