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: Moshe Safdie/Quadrangle Architects
Address: 12 Bonneycastle St.
The Monde condo on Queens Quay E. at Bonneycastle St. is not the best building Moshe Safdie ever designed, but here on Toronto’s waterfront, it looks great. Located a block east of Sherbourne, the 44-storey slab sits atop a large two-part podium adjacent to the northern half of Sherbourne Common. The two feel fully connected, which means the latter serves as a kind of back yard for the former. Though the tower itself has been finished mainly in glass, the base, clad in concrete, is more opaque.
For Safdie, best known for Habitat at Expo 67, a revolutionary project that reimagined housing but which remains a one-off, Monde is his first Toronto commission. Despite efforts to design a condo tower that takes maximum advantage of its proximity to Lake Ontario, there’s nothing “nautical” about the building. The possible exceptions are the long, narrow standing-room-only balconies that could double as diving boards. On the other hand, the east-west opening that runs through the building goes a long way to make it feel residential.
Monde is a condo that helps set the tone of one of the newest and most enlightened neighbourhoods in Toronto. Though not entirely finished, it already occupies its site with obvious confidence and a certain aplomb. It also meets the design challenge of Sherbourne Common; the two belong together..