The East Tower of Brookfield Properties Bay Adelaide Centre has reached two major milestones, with the topped-off skyscraper now seeing the removal of its east crane, as well as the unveiling of the much discussed replicated heritage facade on Yonge Street. New pictures reveal significant, late stage progress in the construction of the now nearly complete office tower and podium. Designed by KPMB Architects and Adamsson Associates Architects, the  44-storey, 980,000-square-foot office tower at Yonge and Adelaide, has been one of the most significant and hotly anticipated commercial developments in the city.

Described by ERA architects as a ghost wall, the new frontage is composed of a preserved heritage facade and a modern addition. The original facade was taken from an 1850-constructed building which stood on the southeast corner of the site. The facade was moved over one hundred feet north, creating space for the glassy new Bay Adelaide East podium while creating a heritage corner across from the Aikenhead and recently restored Dineen buildings.

Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto by Brookfield Office Properties, ERA ArchitectsLooking north on Yonge Street, image by UrbanToronto forum contributor scamander24

The new frontage which houses mechanical systems on Yonge Street is longer than the original heritage facade however, so the void has been filled by the ghost wall, which—while almost identical in form to the original facade—is noticeably lighter in colour and lacks the functional-looking windows of the original building.

Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto by Brookfield Office Properties, ERA ArchitectsA closeup of the new facade, image by UrbanToronto forum contributor modernizt

The process of creating the new facade (described in a blogpost on the ERA website) involved casting moulds of the original building and then recasting these surfaces in concrete to build new sections of historic facade. In the project's early stages, crews disassembled the heritage façades into 34 pieces and transported selections to concrete fabricators, where numerous silicon moulds were made from the sections. These sections were then used to cast a final product in glass-fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC), a light, strong, material capable of showing a high level of detail, including the pores and marks of age in heritage bricks.

These new photos reveal a facade that is simultaneously in keeping with, and a departure from, the original heritage property. While the style of the original building has been meticulously and painstakingly replicated, the new "ghost wall" also presents a visible departure from the original building. The difference between the two sections is at once subtle and explicit, and a nod to the original without pretending to be original. 

Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto by Brookfield Office Properties, ERA architects         A view of the east crane, image by Marcus Mitanis

Meanwhile, the removal of the east crane presents another exciting milestone in the construction of the east tower, where the vast majority of the work is now on the exterior. In this case, the crane, as a self climbing crane, is disassembled by lifting a section of the mast out, one at a time. Braces, which tie the crane to the building every seven floors, must be removed as well. The jib, counter jib, and hoisting equipment are all kept in place to lower the pieces to the ground. Once the crane is close enough to the ground, a portable crane will be brought in to assist in disassembling the remaining components.

Bay Adelaide Centre, Toronto by Brookfield Office Properties, WZMH architects         A closeup view of the east crane, image by Marcus Mitanis

While these two major milestones will give the impression from the outside that the project is near completion, there is still much to complete on the interior of the east tower of the Bay Adelaide Centre before it opens next year.

Additional information about the Bay Adelaide Centre East can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or add your voice in the comments section provided at the bottom of this page.