Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist, Christopher Hume, has revived his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com.
Looking at new condos in Toronto, you can sometimes get the impression that a lot of architects really don’t like this city. The buildings they give us aren’t just indifferent to the urban environment – that includes us — they’re downright hostile. Take YC Condos on Yonge just north of College, for example. With its orange façade and heavily articulated black-and-white shaft, this 66-storey high-rise looms over Toronto like some post-apocalyptic tower out of Blade Runner.
While Torontonians were focussed on Condo Central at King and Spadina, the future, in all its dystopian darkness, arrived quietly slightly uptown. Pressed up against the faded exuberance of College Park and the wonderful weirdness of Oddfellows Hall, this vaguely malevolent structure looks like it was built for surveillance more than anything. It seems to be looking at us. It isn’t, of course, but still it seems to be hiding something.
At street level YC Condos sends a mixed message. On one hand, it obviously wants to be in step with the existing rhythm of Yonge. On the other, the exterior sections clad in orange glass makes it stand out for all the wrong reasons. By contrast, the entrance on Grenville Street has been kept mercifully simple and straightforward. The rest of the tower, however, is so turgid and over-wrought the passerby longs for the minimalist simplicity better suited to large projects such as this.
The lesson here is simple: Less really is more.