Toronto Storeys newest feature “Site Seeing With Hume” reviews the city’s most talked about condos — and has architects and building designers on the edge of their structures. Renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume has revived his condo critiques, exclusively for TorontoStoreys.com.
Address: 955 Bay Street
Architect: Page + Steele/IBI Group Architects
Completed: November 2018
Even before the hoardings are down, The Britt has brought new life to the corner of Bay and Wellesley.
What for decades was the Sutton Place Hotel, is now a condo tower — and an unexpectedly elegant one to boot.
The first thing the passerby notices is the limestone cladding on the multi-storey podium. The use of stone is such a visual pleasure. After years of nothing but steel and glass, it does one’s heart good.
You can’t help but gawk at this wonderful new project. Perhaps because of the row of vertically organized windows, the eastern portion of the Wellesley façade is vaguely reminiscent of Maple Leaf Gardens and its art deco flourishes.
Regardless, The Britt adds character and a feeling of permanence. Already, it looks as if it has always been there.
Above the podium, however, the building becomes a more conventional 21st-century Toronto condo tower.
The architects have clearly tried to break down the bulk of the mostly glass structure by dividing it into sections that differ stylistically. Balconies are organized geometrically, every one in its place. Because it occupies a corner site, however, there’s little room to get back far enough to see the tower in its entirety.
In other words, it’s the base that matters most here. Of course, the same could be said of the Empire State Building in Manhattan. Unless you’re paying attention, you can walk past it and not notice.
In The Britt’s case, what you see at street level is what you get. And that’s a very good thing.