In the last ten years, it's like we've discovered a whole new Toronto. As new buildings knit back together our urban fabric in older parts of the city, some of our streets seem to have woken up from a prolonged slumber. Urban decay never got really bad here like it did in America's Rust Belt cities, but the difference that new investment in the central city has made is palpable: Toronto is more vibrant than ever before.

We have the traffic to prove it too, so if you can arrange your life in a way that avoids having to drive too often, so much the better: being able to walk from home to work to shopping to dining to, well, everything, is a huge bonus. That's the reason that central areas which have been pock-marked by surface parking lots, run down buildings, and tired looking streets, have been targets for regeneration: the pioneers who moved downtown half a dozen years ago have made the streets very appealing, and now block after block is in the midst of a transformation.

 Musée replaces the parking lot just by 'AdeliadMusée's King West neighbourhood: Musée replaces the parking lot just by 'Adeliade St W', image from Apple Maps

The stretch a couple of blocks wide on either side of King Street West is probably the best example of this phenomenon. You can walk for kilometres along this street, look down the side streets when you cross them, and see new life everywhere. It's not just new condos, but new restaurants, clubs, shops, offices, even grocery stores popping up, and often fixing up the existing building stock at the same time. And there's more to go still, the King West area isn't done yet.

Musée Condos Toronto, designed by Quadrangle Architects for PlazaMusée Condos, designed by Quadrangle Architects for Plaza

Musée Condos just one block to the north is a prime example of the type development that has brought this area to life again. Located on the south side of Adelaide Street just east of Bathurst, Musée is a Quadrangle Architects-designed 17-storey building that starts with a masonry 7-storey base, echoing the neighbourhood's material make-up, and which then steps back from the street for its next 7 storeys, before it terraces again on the way to its top. The upper storeys are all more lightly clad, keeping the building from looming over the surroundings.

Galleria at Musée Condos Toronto, designed by Quadrangle Architects for PlazaEntrance to the Galleria from Adelaide Street, image courtesy of Plaza

It's those surroundings which are so key here, and which developer Plaza is so keen to protect and promote. Plaza is partnering with neighbouring developers to create a mid-block pedestrian mews and park setting in the large city block bounded by King, Portland, Adelaide, and Bathurst Streets. Musée adds two major components to it: a ground level galleria cutting through the complex which will showcase art exhibits, and connecting Adelaide Street with a new, lushly landscaped parkette.

Galleria at Musée Condos Toronto, designed by Quadrangle Architects for PlazaInside the pedestrian galleria, image courtesy of Plaza

The 8,000 square foot landscaped space is meant to be an oasis of calm, a place where you can rest on a bench, kick up your feet, enjoy the the greenery, and contemplate the public art on display. That moment to relax is just the kind of break we need every so often… because down here you're never too many steps away from all the excitement of the clubs and restaurants that will keep you busy in the evening.

Park at Musée Condos Toronto, designed by Quadrangle Architects for PlazaA new public park at Musee, image courtesy of Plaza

So Musée's exterior design has been all about getting the surroundings right, both fitting into the local scene while providing a break from it at the same time. Inside there's lots to consider too, with a full complement of amenities that residents will make a part of their everyday lives. We'll come back to talk about those much more another time, but in the meantime, we have many more renderings of the project, inside and out, and lots more information in our Musée dataBase file, linked below. Want to talk about the project? Choose one of the associated Forum thread links, or leave your comment in the space provided on this page.

To request more info directly from Musée Condos click here