Urban Capital Property Group's River City project alongside the Don River at King Street is one of Toronto's most design-forward condominium projects. Crafted by Montreal's renowned Saucier + Perrotte Architects, the design slopes in and out in spots, creating unexpected angles in many suites, and providing a dynamic presence for the project as a whole, even before it is finished. We were lucky enough to be granted a hard hat tour of the site, and today we can bring you in with us. Enjoy part one; part two will follow to welcome you back to UrbanToronto in September.

RiverCity Condos and TCHC building seen from St. Lawrence Street, TorontoRiver City and TCHC building seen from St. Lawrence Street, image by Craig White

Above; this is River City seen from the west along St. Lawrence Street, south of King. We're looking across a TCHC building site towards River City here; both are being built by Bluescape Construction Management. It is Phase One of River City that is under construction at the moment, and there are two buildings in this phase. The north building, a staggered 16-storey tower, we will visit next week. Today we start in the 7-storey south building, seen below from River Street.

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building seen from River Street, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building seen from River Street, image by Craig White

The south building is the more advanced of the two construction-wise. Its upper floors slope gently away from River Street. All upper floor windows include sliding doors; juliet balcony railings remain to be installed. Black aluminum panels will cover the insulation on the walls.

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building amenity window, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building amenity window, image by Craig White

At the south end of the building, a two-storey 'lightbox' will house a lounge and media room, with access to the elevated garden between phases one and two. We'll head into the amenity space in a moment, but first, it's time to geek-out on the concrete wall seen below the window. Not all of phase one will be covered in black aluminum; some of the concrete will remain exposed, so care has been taken on those portions to provide a beautiful textured surface. The forms here were made up of barn-board placed side to side. This leaves the concrete with rough ridges between the boards, and patterns which match the wood's grain. It's the kind of thing that a lot of people won't care about… but many of those who do care about these details found UrbanToronto long ago!

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building barn-board wall, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building barn-board wall, image by Craig White

Above, windows are stacked awaiting installation on the lightbox, while below, a close-up of the barn-board wall. This practice was a hallmark of brutalist buildings of the 1970s, and can be seen extensively at the University of Toronto's Scarborough College. Architect John Andrew's buildings there are amongst the very best brutalist buildings in the country.

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building barn-board wall, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building barn-board wall, image by Craig White

So, now we've popped in for a look at the lounge and media room amenity space.

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building amenity space, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building amenity space, image by Craig White

The two-storey space extends into the courtyard running between phases one and two, and views (seen to the right below) will overlook the terraces and landscaped greenspace and lap pool. You can get a good look at this area in the renderings included in UrbanToronto's dataBase entry for River City, linked at the bottom of this article. 

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building amenity space, TorontoRiver City Phase 1 South Building amenity space, image by Craig White

To the left above, the amenities will overlook the Richmond-Adelaide and Eastern Avenue bridges linked to the Don Valley Parkway. Meanwhile below we are now heading along one of the south building's hallways between the suites.

Hallway in RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building, TorontoHallway in River City Phase 1 South Building, image by Craig White

The complex is being built with an industrial loft-chic aesthetic, most noticeable in the exposed pipe and sprinklers in the hallways above, and in the exposed ductwork seen in the suite below.

Suite with exposed duct work in RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building, TorontoSuite with exposed ductwork in River City Phase 1 South Building, image by Craig White

Suite with painted kitchen niche in RiverCity Phase 1 South Building, TorontoSuite with painted kitchen niche in River City Phase 1 South Building, image by Craig White

In this suite we found a kitchen niche which had recently been painted black in anticipation of its cabinetry and appliances being built in shortly. Loft sensibility means that exposed concrete ceilings is the order-of-the-day in the suites too, and in the photo above, and moreso in the one below, you can see the care taken to provide the concrete with woodgrain patterning, thanks to specially chosen plywood forms that it was poured over.

Suite with patterned ceiling in RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building, TorontoSuite with patterned ceiling in River City Phase 1 South Building, image by Craig White

Outside one of the suites, we are currently able to look down the length of the terraces and over into the future courtyard. This view will change substantially in the coming short few years; River City Phase Two on the left side of this image is about to go under construction in September, while beyond the Richmond-Adelaide/Eastern Avenue bridge Phase Three will someday rise. Sneak peeks of it can be seen in some of the renderings in our River City dataBase listing as well. Finishing work will beign dividers between suites, and much greenery and recreation space in the courtyard.

Future outdoor space RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building, TorontoFuture outdoor space River City Phase 1 South Building, image by Craig White

So, time to consider the bridge linking the north and south buildings. Floors in the north building are a couple of feet higher than corresponding ones in the south building. That's owing to the very high first floor in the north building: more on that next week.

Bridge linking RiverCity Condos Phase 1 North and South Buildings, TorontoBridge linking RiverCity Phase 1 North and South Buildings, image by Craig White

The bridge will connect residents in both towers with amenities that are spread between the two buildings, and north tower residents with parking spaces in the lower floors of the south building. Parking is on levels one and two here, lying above the Don River's floodplain, and hidden under the raised courtyard.

Bridge linking RiverCity Condos Phase 1 North and South Buildings, TorontoBridge linking RiverCity Phase 1 North and South Buildings, image by Craig White

So, we've come to the bridge, and below, we've crossed it. We're looking down on the south building and over the location of the soon-to-start Phase Two. We'll be back with many more views from the north tower of this imaginative complex next week. Have a great long weekend!

RiverCity Condos Phase 1 South Building from above, TorontoRiverCity Phase 1 South Building from above, image by Craig White

Interested in River City? See much more in UrbanToronto's dataBase lisiting for River City, linked below, where you'll also find associated Forum threads where you can get in on the conversation. Otherwise, feel free to leave comments here!