When a new condominium first comes to market, it's usually a design that is still somewhat in flux. While the first marketing rendering may be crisply detailed and beautiful, what the public typically is seeing is more of an aspiration than a final design. This is not a rare occurrence, and in fact all buildings are going to change somewhat before the final cladding is applied on the constructed project some years later.

This process of design has likely been more public on the Mirvish+Gehry proposal than on any other as of late in this city, but what is happening now with 1 Yorkville, a new residential condominium project by Bazis and Plaza, is more representative of the normal course of events.

It's not a terribly difficult process to explain. Simply put, the developer(s) decide upon a direction they want their new project to head in. Years of experience and current market analysis give them an idea of what type of project is appropriate for a given site in the city. If they have a well located property where they can command a good price per square foot, then the building's exterior will be designed to express the quality level they are aiming at achieving inside too. At 1 Yorkville, this much has been decided: we have fantastically well-connected location, we are in a highly desirable part of town, this property should reflect its advantages, so we are going to express on the exterior of this building a level of detail that has been rarely achieved in Toronto as of late.

 Looking up at a marketing rendering, image courtesy of Bazis and Plaza

The way to do that here has been to apply a textural surface to 1 Yorkville: each elevation will sport a number of fins with angled crimped planes. The pattern of the crimps across the surface will cause 1 Yorkville to catch the light uniquely, and it may cast some interesting reflections too, depending upon the final material and finish chosen for them. Currently a couple of different metals are being considered, something which came up at the City's Design Review Panel (DRP) meeting earlier this month. 1 Yorkville was one of a number of projects considered that day; this was the building's first appearance before the panel.

A building typically appears before the panel three times as the design progresses. Panel members ask questions, offer their thoughts, and ultimately vote to Support, Refine, or Redesign. It's up to the developer ultimately to take the advice or not, but typically they do.

At this meeting the panel members generally were quite supportive of the fins' style, although they want to see more refinement of the design. Architect Rosario Varacalli offered that refinement was continuing in any case: suite layouts are still to be finalized, and the ultimate decisions regarding the location of recessed balconies will play a major role in the final determination of fin locations. A final determination of the exact floor plate size is still to come too: the tower is currently proposed at around the 750 square metre upper limit of what the City like to see, but that may change a bit.

Ground level details are still being worked out as well, including sidewalk widths, driveway widths, garage entrance, lobby entrance location, and how the new building will meet the heritage buildings that are being incorporated along 1 Yorkville's frontage on Yonge Street.

We have several images from the DRP presentation. These are somewhat fuzzy: we did not request the original digital files this time. The fuzziness should underscore that these are early concept renderings, and not the final intended outcome. We will start with views of the base, move to mid-tower views, then the building in the greater context of the Bloor-Yorkville area.

 Existing Heritage Buildings on Yonge Street, TorontoExisting Heritage Buildings on Yonge Street, tower behind

The relationship of the existing heritage buildings along Yonge Street to the tower in behind is shown above in 2D elevation, and below through a pair of 3D renderings. 

 Looking south across Yonge Street, TorontoLooking south across Yonge Street

 Looking southeast across Yorkville Avenue, TorontoLooking southeast across Yorkville Avenue

Above we see an early version of how the tower might meet the heritage buildings, with refinements to be worked out. Down the west side of the building there will be a laneway, meant to provide vehicular and pedestrian access to the tower. It will be significantly wider than what is on site now, and will be landscaped.

 Laneway Section on the west side of the towerLaneway Section on the west side of the tower

The following two images show how 1 Yorkville may appear within the context of neighbouring buildings at mid-height.

 The east elevation, mid-towerThe east elevation, mid-tower

 Looking northwest, mid-towerLooking northwest, mid-tower

In the image below, 1 Yorkville is the darker tower; tall at 58 storeys (much taller than 18 Yorkville to the north), it is much shorter than the under construction 75-storey 1 Bloor East to the left and the proposed 83-storey 50 Bloor West to the right. 1 Yorkville would be similar in height to the existing Four Seasons hotel, the right-most tall building below. (There are other projects proposed for the area, including nearby 27 Yorkville at 67 storeys, which are not shown in the image below.)

 Looking south along Yonge St1 Yorkville in context: Looking south along Yonge Street

Finally below, a look up from the northwest corner of Yorkville Avenue and Yonge Street. The heritage buildings are coloured gold.

 Looking up, slightly southwestLooking up, slightly southwest

All of these images and many more which were presented at the DRP are in aid of visualizing the building's impact, and refined images will appear as decisions about 1 Yorkville's ultimate dimensions and details are made. We know that the goal is a building very closely resembling the marketing rendering seen at the top of this article. UrbanToronto will keep you abreast of the outcome of further DRP presentations and public consultations along the way.

Want to know more about 1 Yorkville now, including more views of the marketing rendering? You can check out our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to talk about the project? Join in on the discussion in one of the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

To request more info directly from 1 Yorkville click here