Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume is reviving his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com.
Developer: Great Gulf
Architect: Diamond Schmitt Architects
Address: 159 Dundas St. E.
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It’s taken a little more than five years for the intersection of Dundas St. E. and Jarvis to be completely remade. Three of its four corners are transformed and the parking lot on the fourth, the northwest, will become the site of Ryerson University’s Faculty of Science.
The project that got the wrecker’s ball rolling, The Pace, is a 42-storey condo tower completed in 2014. So far, it remains the most impressive addition to this important crossroad. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, it includes all the typical elements of a highrise condo in 21st-century Toronto, i.e. a tower atop a podium.
In this case, the base, which stands six floors tall, does all the hard work of integrating the new structure into the urban context. Indeed, it succeeds so well it looks like it’s always occupied its site. Clad in glass and dark masonry, its bulk is broken up by horizontal rows of recessed balconies. The shaft above is pretty much what one would expect, though a little neater and tidier than many. One of the most surprisingly effective details is the orange underside of some balconies. It brings an unexpected playfulness to the façade and brightens up what could otherwise be a colourless exterior. The glass walls at street level are entirely appropriate as is the entrance with its matching orange-bottomed canopy.