Russell and Randy Masters did not want the next project by Tower Hill Development Corporation, their family company, to be another one of Toronto's all but ubiquitous glass box condos. After all, the 70 year-old third-generation company has a history of quality building behind it and a reputation for clean, elegant design to uphold. The eponymously named Tower Hill apartments at Spadina and St. Clair are testament to that: 47 years after they were built, the design remains an admired and timeless beauty.

Tower Hill East, 330 Spadina Road, image courtesy of www.tobuilt.caTower Hill East, 330 Spadina Road, image courtesy of www.tobuilt.ca

So how do you create another design to stand the test of time, one that can both stand apart from the crowd yet be Torontonian at the core? You hire an architect with a sense of what brings balance; solidity and openness, formality and playfulness, right angle and skew. The Masters knew who they wanted, and it was the man who designed the Pyramid at the Louvre, the National Gallery East in Washington, and the Four Seasons in New York. They found that the world famous IM Pei had retired, but that his sons were now practicing an architecture that perpetuates the Pei legacy. Now Sandi Pei and right hand man Toh Tsun Lim have created a structure that they believe honours Toronto's modernist traditions while standing on its own.

2221 Yonge condos Toronto, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development Corporation2221 Yonge, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development Corporation

2221 Yonge evokes that particular early brand of modernism of the 60s with its clean lines and the particular proportions that mark many mid-century buildings in and around Toronto's Midtown. The tower sits slightly askew above the six-storey podium, with the south elevation angled to give the suites east or west views around the Minto Midtown towers next door. Wrap-around balconies define the exterior much like at Tower Hill above, while giving residents lots of outdoor options whenever the weather is right.

The exterior will feature most prominently a high-spec white precast on the wrap-around balconies: tabs mixed with glass inserts on the north and south, while sleekly slotted grills will front the east and west elevations. Both expressions will give residents a view while simultaneously maintaining privacy.

2221 Yonge condos Toronto, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development CorporationEntry at 2221 Yonge, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development Corporation

Near ground level the cladding changes to a gracious, striated white marble, and 2221 Yonge is all sophistication and éclat. The building's podium will blend seamlessly into the streetscape of the surrounding buildings, yet it will engage via views to warmly appointed interiors through generous glazing, and especially via plantings drawing the passerby's eye through the lobby lounge to a zen garden behind. 

2221 Yonge condos Toronto, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development CorporationPorte Cochere at 2221 Yonge, image courtesy of Tower Hill Development Corporation

Vehicular access to the building will be via Cowbell Lane at the back, where the porte cochère will do double duty with access to bicycle storage as well. Amenities are found in two places, and always with rooftop views: much happens atop the podium with many recreation and relaxation opportunities, while another dramatic space awaits atop the tower itself. We'll highlight these facilities in a coming article.

Sandi Pei of Pei Partnership Architects and Les Klein of Quadrangle ArchitectsSandi Pei of Pei Partnership Architects and Les Klein of Quadrangle Architects, image by Jack Landau

While Pei Partnership Architects are responsible for the exteriors, Munge Leung are responsible for the interiors, and everything by both firms will be fitted around the building's structure, under the care of Quadrangle Architects.

There much more to talk about in regards to 2221 Yonge, but if you want to know more now, you can check out UrbanToronto's dataBase entry, linked below, for more info and detailed renderings, or choose an associated Forum thread to get in on the discussion. Have something to say? Leave a comment in the space provided on this page.