With a demolition permit now in hand, Oxford Properties can get going on work on the site of 100 Adelaide West. The new office tower is approved to rise 40 storeys across from First Canadian Place in the rapidly expanding Financial District, but before excavation can begin for the building, the existing building on the site must be demolished first.
This is no average demolition, however, as the Concourse Building is a 16-storey, Art-Deco office building built in 1928. The existing structure's architectural and historic significance, which outshines that of much of the rest of the Financial District’s building stock, is to be dismantled, preserved, and reincorporated into the future development, overseen by heritage architectural specialists Goldsmith Borgal & Company. The building's south and east walls will be carefully disassembled and catalogued, to be reconstructed as part of the new office tower’s façade. With demolition on the building imminent, we decided to stop in and take one last detailed look at the still intact Concourse Building.
The Baldwin and Greene-designed structure is notable for its various eye-catching details. Intricate mosaics, fashioned by J.E.H. MacDonald of the legendary Group of Seven along with his son Thoreau MacDonald, occupy the arched Romanesque entranceway along Adelaide Street.
The complicated masonry surrounding the mosaics is just as impressive, an additional aesthetic touch to the building’s grand entrance.
The south and east faces of the Concourse Building are clad in a combination of stone and brick, their verticality punctuated by continuous piers of brick leading up to the colourful roof pinnacles.
Despite the preservation of the south and east façades, the north and west walls of the building will not be recreated; they will be replaced by the glass walls of the new tower. Despite the decoration at the top of the west wall (which we believe will be preserved), this wall was never meant to be prominent: it was meant to be hidden by another tall building which was never built.
Most striking on this wall are the inlaid brick figures located along the top of the western façade. An Art Deco sunrise pattern is flanked on both sides by gulls, while stylized First Nations thunderbirds dominate to the north and south.
In the photos below, we take what might be our last look at the intact Concourse Building before the site undergoes a dramatic transformation into one of Toronto’s premier commercial properties.
With modern office floors being built much higher than they were in 1928, the 16-storey structure will be re-tooled into a 13-storey façade for the 40-storey tower. International financial services firm Ernst & Young will be lead tenant of the Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and WZMH Architects-designed 100 Adelaide West, taking up 225,000 square-feet out of the building’s total of 900,000 square-feet. This move brings the third of the “Big Four” audit firms to newly constructed office towers on Adelaide West in the Financial District (the fourth, PwC, is located in a newly built office tower south of Union Station).
For additional information such as building facts and renderings, please visit the 100 Adelaide West dataBase page, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out one of the associated forum threads or voice your opinion in the comments section provided below.