The streets of Downtown Toronto have seen a radical transformation over the past decades, with thousands of condo units bringing residents to neighbourhoods that were once animated only between 9 to 5 by workers, and also at the end of the day by late-night clubbers. The portion of Richmond Street between University and Spadina Avenues is witnessing change on such a scale as only a few other places in the city are.

Picasso Condos, Teeples Architects, Monarch Group, Goldman Group, RichmondPicasso Condos rendering, by the Monarch Group and the Goldman Group - Artist concept. E.&O.E.

The Teeple Architects-designed Picasso Condos, a 39-storey tower currently under construction just east of Peter, is adding a much more urban character to the area. With an unconventional and innovative design, it will become a landmark in the local skyline, and it is not hard to measure the impact it already has on the streetscape now that the structure is standing 32 floors above the ground, doubling in height since our last update.

While the tower looks like a mostly conventional construction site now, cladding will reveal the various protrusions and voids now hidden by mostly undifferentiated concrete. Only 7 floors of the structure are now missing before Picasso reaches its mechanical penthouse, as the last protruding block of the massing has begun to be erected at the Monarch Group and Goldman Group development site.

Picasso Condos, Teeples Architects, Monarch Group, Goldman Group, RichmondPicasso Condos seen from the intersection of Richmond and John, image by scamander24

Back down, a black cladding is making its way through the 10-storey podium, right above the first three storeys which are dedicated to commercial activities. The matte effect, as well as the architecture of the building, contrasts with the predominantly reflective glass walls often used to wrap new constructions in Toronto. Beyond the aesthetic aspect, this means better energy performance for the tower as smaller portions of the units will be glazed and exposed to our hot summer sun and harsh winter temperatures.

Picasso Condos, Teeples Architects, Monarch Group, Goldman Group, RichmondDetails of the Picasso Condos looking north from Widmer Street, image by scamander24

The vantage point given by the photo below allows us to distinguish the unusual shape of the tower, made of multiple cubic volumes creating rooftops and terraces, each of which will be planted with a unique garden; a vertical landscape Teeples likes to call "an abstract reference to the natural form of a mountain".

Picasso Condos, Teeples Architects, Monarch Group, Goldman Group, RichmondPicasso Condos' podium viewed from Richmond Street looking east, image by scamander24

The white facade and red stripes will soon appear and highlight the complex structure of the building. Scheduled for a late 2016 occupancy, Picasso will add 402 condo units to the Entertainment district, steps away from public transit and diverse areas of downtown.

Additional information and renderings can be found in the dataBase files, linked below. If you want to get involved in the discussion, head to the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment below.