Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume is reviving his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com.
Architect: Page + Steele, IBI Group
Address: 181 Dundas St. E.
Time and the city have not been kind to the corner of Dundas and Jarvis. Since its heyday in the 19th century, it has been one long decline. Though things are getting better, the intersection still has a way to go. The appearance of three new condo towers has brought this important crossroad into the modern age, but not much more.
The Grid, recently completed on the southeast corner, is hard to miss. It looms over the neighborhood like a visitor from another city. Its connection to the context is difficult to discern. Even the podium on which the 47-storey tower sits seems blithely unaware of its location. The entrance to the underground parking garage, for example, is on Jarvis. Humans enter from Dundas. The two-storey open section above reads like empty space, especially since the upper-most floor is set back, which means it’s consigned to permanent shadow.
On the other hand, the building’s clean lines and street level glass facades will help whatever retail finally occupies the space. Whether The Grid foreshadows what lies ahead remains to be seen; regardless of the outcome, it’s clearly a major improvement on the stuff that was built on Jarvis in the 1970s and ‘80s, but one hopes it will age a bit more gracefully.