Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist, Christopher Hume, is reviving his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com.
Developer: Bazis Group, Metropia, Plaza
Architect: Rosario Varacalli
Address: 200 Bloor St. W.
Height: 32 storeys
It’s tempting to blame Daniel Libeskind, designer of the addition to the Royal Ontario Museum that Torontonians love to hate.
Exhibit Residences, the condo tower across Bloor St. from the Crystal, has the same sort of eccentric geometry we have come to expect from the New York-based, Polish-born architect.
Comprising four equal sized cubes piled one atop the other and all slightly out of kilter, the 32-storey high-rise is one of those exercises in novelty so characteristic of contemporary architecture.
For those who take the time to look, Exhibit defies expectations and the rules of conventional building design. Except, of course, that this sort of transgression has become normal in recent years. It doesn’t help that the condo occupies a restricted site on a major thoroughfare. That puts it at odds with its context, which should have taken precedence. A structure like Exhibit needs room to breathe, let alone be admired…or at least stared at.
At street level, the condo does its job and disappears behind a façade of retail outlets that allows Bloor to continue uninterrupted. Except for the ROM on the other side of the road, and perhaps one or two other buildings, here the street comes first.
An architect forgets that at his or her peril.