I was there a couple of weeks ago and at first didn't know what to make of it. Is it a trendy children play area? A staircase thrown out due to improper construction?....then, bingo! art piece. The more I look at it, the more it fits in. Plus its functional as it provides for a mini play area for children and child-like individuals after a couple of bottles of....erh...nevermind. Figuring it out is part of the fun I think. The installation makes a greater impact walking into the Distillery from east to west than the other way around.
I love the cobbled stone/brick walkways. We're missing too many of those in the Old Town, and a perfect place to see it would be to convert the southern portion of Market Street into pedestrian only and line it with stone/bricks (if it isn't already under the asphalt)
The customer service rep I talked to told me she doubted it would be in 2008 but didn't provide an actual estimate. They blamed the city but they do that a lot. My occupancy was delayed because the inspector wouldn't approve my unit (granted it did not have appliances, baseboards, or functioning sinks) and now the city won't register the building until it is more substantially complete. All in the hands of the city of course, builder and developer have nothing to do with it.
Given a choice, most Torontonians would probably rather avoid Parliament St. Despite its august-sounding name, it tends to be rundown and neglected. Some stretches are better than others; these days it's the bottom end, south of King St., that has taken on new life.
The reason, at least partially, is the advent of the Distillery District, which although it's still evolving, has revitalized this remarkable industrial site. It's also because of the development happening along King, which is now residential from Jarvis St. all the way east past Parliament to the Don.
Given that this is one of the most historic areas of the city, it's not surprising that it's also one of the most urban and interesting. Whatever their faults, our 19th-century ancestors knew something about city building. True, they didn't have much of a social safety net, but they understood how to connect buildings and streets, how to build compactly.
Though the city has stood by and allowed many heritage buildings in the neighbourhood to be reduced to mere facades, the basic proportions of things remains intact. But when one sees 19th-century structures such as the one on the southeast corner of King and Sherbourne being destroyed to make way for yet another condo tower, one can't help but worry.
One of the best new projects in Toronto, this is an excellent example of how architecture can be pressed into service not just to sell units but also to build a city. The most visible part of the complex, a 32-storey glass-and-steel tower, sits atop a five-storey brick podium designed to create space, in fact, a whole new square, east of Parliament south of Mill. The triangular-shaped building comes to a point at the west end of the site, creating one of the sharpest corners this side of Helmut Jahn. Such drama is rare in architecture, especially in Toronto architecture, and it's hard to resist.
The podium does all the work; it defines space and allows for the continuation of the streetscape along Mill. Both the scale and materials mean the podium manages to be respectful of the industrial heritage and contemporary and appropriate. It also introduces a much-needed note of real urban life to the Distillery. The street-level retail will include grocery stores and banks as well as art galleries and design shops. Finally, it seems, it could actually be a place to live not just visit.
The tower itself, which has already become an east-end landmark, is clean, crisp and elegant. It divides the podium in half and rises from the street as a single element. It's tough not to admire the sense of confidence, restraint and simplicity that informs this building.
Mr. Gooderham ( or was it Mr. Worts? I forget ... ) lived in a handsome villa on the site where Pure Spirit now stands, in the mid-19th century. It was pulled down and replaced by distillery buildings - which were, in turn, replaced by other distillery buildings. And about 30 workers lived on the site at about the same time, in single storey homes located to the east. How appropriate that the site is becoming residential again after more than a century.
Having now seen the (almost) finished product, I believe this tower and its base is a huge, thoughtful, benefit to the district. It really is gorgeous, and goes some way to making the DD less fantasyland-removed-from-the-city. I look forward to the rest of the retail taking up its position in the podium.
I completely agree. Given that the mandate for the Distillery was more heritage commercial district than say 'museum' I think this project fits in beautifully. I'm very excited for this emerging area and it makes a nice bookend to Liberty Village in the west.