The Daniels Corporation is bringing Festival Tower, the luxury condominium portion of the landmark Tiff Bell Lightbox, back to its pristine finished condition, now that the installation of replacement balcony glazing is in full swing.
Last summer Toronto was beset by failing balcony glass at several recently completed condo projects across the city, and there have been more reports of failures this year too. The failures have not been restricted to a single developer's buildings, nor to a single glass supplier's panels, but it is believed that most failures have been caused by expanding crystals, left unfused to the rest of the glass during an inadequate annealing process.
It is every developer's nightmare that balcony glass might fail and hurt someone below. In a competitive industry any developer with a track record and a reputation to protect is interested in getting this situation corrected – everyone wants to still be employed tomorrow – but more than that, no-one involved wants to have a part in potentially harming a passerby: developers are people too.
Several developers and the City have looked carefully at the situation over the last year, and after testing have settled on a laminated glass system; two panes of glass are fused together by a tough but flexible clear mylar sheet sandwiched between them. If the laminated glass panel were to experience a failure, the mylar would still hold the sheet in place. Now that the City approvals are in place, developers including Lanterra and the Daniels Corporation are now replacing the glazing at no cost to the condo boards or residents in the affected buildings.
At Festival Tower the east rise of balconies is now fully reglazed, and the west rise is now being replaced. UrbanToronto was on hand close by at Daniels' Cinema Tower construction site on Wednesday this week and got and view of some of the reinstallation in progress.
When complete this fall, Festival Tower, designed by KPMB Architects, will look like it did when it was first finished, with a white enamel frit giving a frosted look to the exterior while providing some privacy for the unit owners behind them, yet still providing them with a view through to the city beyond.