It was a busy roster at Toronto's Design Review Panel (DRP) on March 10, as no less than four towers were presented to panel members for feedback. Making its case to be one of the city's next major developments, Davpart's 1 Eglinton East was not to be overshadowed by the crowd as the Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed tower, set to become the tallest in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood, faced the scrutiny of the panelists.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoRendering of 1 Eglinton East, image courtesy of Davpart.

Proposed at 65 storeys and rising to a height of 215 metres—a decrease from the initial proposal of 68 storeys—the mixed-use tower would occupy the southeast corner of the bustling Yonge and Eglinton intersection, replacing an existing 8-storey office building on the site.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoElevation of Yonge-Eglinton intersection looking east, image courtesy of Davpart.

The tower would feature ground-level retail and 8 storeys of office space, replacing all of the existing commercial usage that will disappear when the current building onsite is demolished. Above that, 660 residential units would fit into the remaining 56 storeys, including two floors of amenities.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoDiagram showing organization of program, image courtesy of Davpart.

The neatly organized ground floor is programmatically arranged such that the retail occupies the prominent northwest corner facing the intersection, with the office lobby located in the southwest corner, and the residential lobby located in the northeast corner. Access to the residential lobby will be off Cowbell Lane, which runs along the eastern edge of the site. The existing TTC station entrance will be incorporated into the building adjacent to the office lobby.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoGround floor plan illustrating usage, image courtesy of Davpart.

Envisioned as one cohesive public arena, the intersection of Yonge and Eglinton will feature large open spaces and plazas on three of its corners, once the neighbouring E Condos is built out. 1 Eglinton East embraces this concept by pulling the building back from the sidewalk, providing a generous 10 metre setback along Yonge Street and a 5 metre setback along Eglinton Avenue, creating a privately-owned public space (POPS) at the busy corner. As well, Cowbell Lane will be completely redesigned, with a drop-off area for the residences and loading docks marked by a canopy created by the overhang of the building above.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoPlan of the public spaces, image courtesy of Davpart.

The tower both adheres to and bends the rules set out in the Tall Building Design Guidelines. On the one hand, a generous tower separation is afforded on both sides of the building, with a 28.1-metre distance from E Condos to the north, and a 31.5-metre distance from 2221 Yonge Condos to the south. However, the building exceeds the recommended tower floor plate size of 750 square metres with residential floor plates that range from 805 to 833 square metres.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoAerial view of Yonge and Eglinton, image courtesy of Davpart.

The design of the tower features distinct diagonally incised balcony frames on the otherwise rectilinear facade. The designers explained that the unique look stemmed from the need to seamlessly transition from the office levels at the base to the residential levels above, without creating a mundane or boxy design.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoRendering of 1 Eglinton East, image courtesy of Davpart.

Panel members, however, showed some tough love for the building. Much of the commentary revolved around the aesthetics and design of the diagonal-laced facade, which panel members pointed out was only a 'skin-deep' attribute that was not rooted in any kind of structural or meaningful rationale. While panelists lauded the articulation of the loading area and residential entrance along Cowbell Lane, which they claimed was expertly marked by the overhang of the building, they criticized the entrances to the retail and office lobby, explaining that they were not clearly visible nor celebrated, and seemed as though they had to unceremoniously 'duck down' to enter the building.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoRendering of the northeast corner and drop-off area, image courtesy of Davpart.

A hot-button topic in the commentary—as it usually is—was the entrance to the TTC station. Panelists lamented that the highly important gateway was shoved to an unwelcoming corner, which is difficult to see or access, and wondered if it could be better integrated into the overall design of the building or even connected into the retail aspect of the project. Indeed, they agreed, if Yonge-Eglinton is to become the next Yonge-Bloor, then the transit entrance deserves greater prominence. In the end, the DRP was split on the project, with three panelists voting in favour of refinement of the current proposal, and four panelists voting in favour of a redesign.

1 Eglinton East, Davpart, Hariri Pontarini Architects, TorontoRendering of the northwest corner and POPS, image courtesy of Davpart.

We will continue to keep a close eye on the project as it evolves, as inevitable design changes are forthcoming before the development gets full approval. In the meantime, make sure to check out our associated dataBase file for more information. Want to share your thoughts on the proposal? Leave a comment in the space below, or join in the conversation on our Forum.