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155 Cumberland and 130 Bloor Street West 
155 Cumberland Ave, Toronto
Developer: KingSett Capital

155 Cumberland and 130 Bloor Street West | 89m | 21s | KingSett Capital | Quadrangle



From the Globe Real Estate section, by JBM:

Modernist condo a deluxe perch above Bloor
Architects redeveloping 1960s building say they'll sell famous Torno penthouse as it is


For Toronto fans of high-style architectural modernism, the vast penthouse atop 130 Bloor St. West is sacred ground. A public outcry went up last year, from city politicians, architects and others, when rumour had it that the owners of the building were making ready to subdivide the 10,000-square-foot suite into so many mean little apartments.

This act of desecration did not happen, and it's not going to. Though the rest of the little tower at 130 Bloor will shortly undergo a massive makeover by Quadrangle Architects -- of which more presently --the apartment is being marketed exactly as is, including its 45-year-old kitchen appliances, the original oak panelling and the patina of nearly a half-century of living and entertaining by late Toronto businessman Noah Torno and his wife, Rose. (The 4,000-foot terrace, currently home to some exhausted looking pine trees, will be curtailed by the impending renovation.)

Anyone with the millions of dollars necessary to buy this apartment will have millions more to furnish it and update the circa-1960 wiring and fixtures and fittings. He or she also will be under some pressure from the city, which designated the apartment a heritage property last year, to maintain its modernist character.

I hope every potential buyer keenly feels that public persuasion. The Torno suite (which now serves as the sales centre for itself and other future condominiums in the building) is a notable instance of mid-century American modernist ideas put to work in a luxurious residential setting. The plain, elegant staircase connecting the two floors of the apartment floats upward from a stern, skylit entry hall floored and walled with travertine, the light beige stone that was always power-style modernism's favourite indicator of swankiness. The 11-foot planes of floor-to-ceiling glass on the exterior walls dramatically light the stately main-floor rooms, which are trimmed in handsomely cut and finished oak.

If architecture can have gender, this apartment is masculine in a mid-century way -- not suave like Cary Grant, but sturdy and square-shouldered, like the tabloid magnate played by Raymond Massey in The Fountainhead. The next owner of the Torno apartment will find the place very resistant to frills and prettification, but more amenable to decor that plays off the suite's right angles, calm and rational north lighting, and rigid geometry.

But who created this large chunk of real-guy architecture on top of 130 Bloor West? In almost every recent press report, the name of U.S. celebrity architect Philip Johnson turns up. There is a clutch of Toronto aficionados firmly convinced that Mr. Johnson did the flat. Not so, says Brian Curtner, principal in Quadrangle Architects and lead designer on the building's revamp. A search of the Johnson papers, Mr. Curtner told me, turned up not a trace of architectural involvement -- not a note, not a sketch or drawing -- and only a single scrap of evidence that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Torno ever met. (It would be odd if they had never met. Mr. Torno's wife was a close relation of architect and philanthropist Phyllis Bronfman Lambert, who knew and worked with Mr. Johnson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in New York.)

I hope to know some day who designed the apartment, though I would not be sorry if it turned out to be someone other than Mr. Johnson. He was the Paris Hilton of American architecture: rich, vain, good at sniffing out the zeitgeist, notably short on hard talent. The Torno apartment is not brilliant or sparklingly imaginative, but it is solidly done and entirely responsible -- like other things executed over the years by the Toronto firm Bregman + Hamann, which put up 130 Bloor West in 1960.

As for the rest of the building, Quadrangle intends a strong revision and extension upward. The ground floor will be devoted (as it is now) to deluxe retail (Cartier, Gucci and so on), though, if Toronto is fortunate, the ugly existing street-level façade will be swept away and replaced by something that gives this dowdy stretch of Bloor a lift.

Floors two to 10 are now offices, and will remain so. Floors 11 and 12 will be converted from office space to large condominiums (4,200 to 4,500 square feet). The Torno flat comes next, on 13 and 14. On top of all this, Mr. Curtner and his team will add six new high-ceilinged storeys, with only one unit (5,500 to 6,000 square feet) on each floor.

Each of the new apartments, which are expected to sell at about $1,000 a foot, promises to be a faithful translation of the Torno suite's high modernism into a contemporary idiom: not as grand as the original, surely, but quite as alert to the enduring beauties of modern glass and stone.



Re: Globe: Johnson/Torno Penthouse on Bloor (John Bentley Ma

This act of desecration did not happen, and it's not going to. Though the rest of the little tower at 130 Bloor will shortly undergo a massive makeover by Quadrangle Architects -- of which more presently --the apartment is being marketed exactly as is, including its 45-year-old kitchen appliances, the original oak panelling and the patina of nearly a half-century of living and entertaining by late Toronto businessman Noah Torno and his wife, Rose. (The 4,000-foot terrace, currently home to some exhausted looking pine trees, will be curtailed by the impending renovation.)
Great news on both fronts!


Re: Globe: Johnson/Torno Penthouse on Bloor (John Bentley Ma

And from the Star, Condos section:

Condos going over the top, of penthouse
Six floors to be built above posh building
Price said to be $1,500 per square foot
Jul. 15, 2006. 01:00 AM

A platoon of construction workers will spend the next three years on a project high above the intersection of Bloor and Cumberland Sts. that will give 11 new condo owners a view worthy of cashing in RRSPs and emptying one's offshore accounts.

In the process the $50-million venture will modify the skyline of the Bloor-Yorkville district and stretch the envelope for how downtown infill condominiums are built.

The KingStreet Capital Group and Quadrangle Architects are about to begin the dramatic reconfiguration of a downtown building that houses gilt-edged stores, executive offices and a city-designated historic penthouse. If all goes as planned, the consortium will update the building, surgically carve up its 11th and 12th floors and then, without substantially disturbing the two-storey penthouse above it, add six floors of condos. The south face of the 14-storey CIL Building at 130 Bloor St. W. (between Avenue Rd. and Bay St.) houses Gucci, Cartier and a new Lululemon outlet. The north face, at 153 Cumberland St, is home to Hugo Boss and Nicolas Men's and Women's Wear. Upstairs, there are offices for a range of blue chip renters, including the College of Chiropractors, the French and Russian consulates, and the Bronfman-controlled Comweb Group Inc. (a motion picture support company).

It was the Bronfman family that financed the construction of the CIL Building back in 1960.

"The celebrated American architect Philip Johnson is credited with the interior design of the two-storey penthouse," reads a 2005 City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties report.

"Noah Torno, the president of Jordan-Danforth Wines, occupied the suite. A prominent Toronto businessman and philanthropist, he served as a director of numerous wine and spirits producers, including (Bronfman's) Distillers Corp.-Seagrams Ltd., Carling O'Keefe and Hiram Walker."

Noah and his wife, Rose, were the toast of the town throughout the latter part of the 20th century. They helped in the development of the Mount Sinai Hospital, the O'Keefe Centre (now the Hummingbird Centre) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. As the president of the board of directors of the Royal Ontario Museum, Torno was instrumental in organizing the "Genius of China" exhibit in 1974.

In their day, the Tornos feted the rich and famous in their huge wood-panelled penthouse. With an outdoor Japanese garden, a forest of potted trees and a south-facing view of the city worthy of a postcard, their residence was quite simply an indoor/outdoor work of architectural art.

Rose Torno died in 2002, her husband two years later, and their home has been empty ever since.

Last year, the building was sold for $58 million to KingStreet Capital, a Toronto-based real estate investment firm.

Shortly afterward, the city moved to protect the penthouse and placed the top two floors of the CIL building on its Inventory of Heritage Properties.

"The Tornos had a private entrance at 155 Cumberland," explains Brian Curtner co-founder of Quadrangle Architects. "You can see the walkway's iron grille between the theatre (Cumberland) and the Hugo Boss outlet.

"Befitting the type of people who will purchase the condos, the project isn't going to have a glitzy name; it will simply be called 155 Cumberland."

Curtner and his staff of 70 have produced some of the edgiest reconstruction work in the city. The BMW building off the Don Valley Parkway, the Citytv building and the Candy Factory Lofts condominium project, both on Queen St. W., have made the 55-year-old American-born, Canadian- and British-trained architect as the go-to guy for eye-popping conversions.

Despite all the company's many successes, the CIL building is going to be a challenge. The firm's design calls for the construction of a six-storey building on top of a 45-year-old building without damaging the 10,000-square-foot Torno penthouse, overly disturbing the office tenants and blocking traffic on two of Canada's most prestigious retail streets.

"Our firm has done a lot of "adaptive reuse" in the city," Curtner says. "We have learned how to capitalize on the inherent qualities of a building. The art is to turn a building into something exciting instead of simply tearing it down."

The project begins almost immediately. The first step will be an upgrade of the building's first dozen floors, including modernizing the water and power system. The building will work with the ground-first floor stores along Bloor and Cumberland Sts. to add a "wow" factor to the redesign of the retail space.

The penthouse sits on top of a standard box-shaped office building. That's about to change. Demolition experts will snip away about a third of the top two levels of the box (Floors 11 and 12) to allow for the conversion of the old space into two terraced residential floors. The office space on these floors will be replaced by four condos — each half the size of what is left on each floor.

The unit designs will be created by J.F. Brennan Design/Build Inc. and prices begin at a reported $4 million to $5 million, with the original Torno penthouse expected to fetch $15 million.

The removal of a portion of the top two floors has the added effect of creating enough space for a large crane to be placed on the exposed roof of the 10th floor. The crane will be used to bring materials up from Bloor St. as the project enters its construction phase. In all likelihood, a self-rising crane will grow upward as six more floors are stacked overtop the penthouse (Floors 13 and 14).

"There is considerable weight being added to the structure," Curtner says. " The building will have to be strengthened before additional floors can be put on."

Each floor of the existing building has been constructed with a series of upright steel I-beams that carry the load of the units above it. Engineers have identified which steel struts must be strengthened before the condo-cap phase can begin.

"We will be going into the offices at night and on weekends, exposing the I-beams and welding plates onto each strut," Curtner says. The I shape will be squared by the addition of the metal plates. As well, cross shaped steel strapping will be welded to the reinforced beams to give it added strength. The outside walls of the existing building will be braced too. The building must be toughened so it can handle the weight of both the crane and the tonnes of steel, tinted glass and Indiana limestone slabs that will be lifted up from street level. The construction crew will have access to the rising building through an elevator that will be built through an existing electrical shaft in the middle of 130 Bloor St. W.

The roof of the penthouse will have a transfer truss installed so that what is essentially a separate building can be built overtop.

"With that transfer truss, we will also be putting in some isolation pads, so that the noise and the vibration from the lower floors will be eliminated," Curtner explains. "The pads are important because the building is overtop the Bloor subway line."

Once constructed, the new six-floor asymmetrical tower will be faced in Indiana limestone. Each floor will be a single condo ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 square feet. Each unit will have 11-foot-high ceilings and large protected terraces overlooking Bloor and Cumberland Sts.

The new residents will use a private elevator with access off Cumberland St. There is a parking garage under the building. J.F. Brennan Design Build Inc., one of the top custom residential builders in Toronto and Palm Beach, Fla., will customize the private residences. Chestnut Park Real Estate is handling the sale of 11 units. Although the consortium is reluctant to talk about prices and sales data, it appears that even at a price rumoured to be $1,500 a square foot, four units already have committed buyers.

"We do know it will be the most expensive condominium in the city, maybe even in the country," Curtner says. " But, in terms of the square-foot charges, we are comparable with other projects in Yorkville."

There are also several renderings from the article - the street level does look clean and impressive.


billy corgan19982

130 Bloor Street West Renovation Project

From the PCL web site

Project Description

This project consists of reinforcing the structural steel core of an occupied 14-storey building, thereby providing capacity to add 6 new residential floors. Existing floors 11 and 12 will be converted from office to residential. The current two-storey residential penthouse on levels 13 and 14 will remain. The 6 new levels that are being added will include shell space for 9 new residential suites. The new levels will be made up of structural steel with concrete on metal deck. The envelope will consist of a combination of curtain wall and limestone. The existing elevators within the building will be replaced and reconfigured to serve the new levels. Mechanical heating and cooling systems will be replaced with the existing distribution systems being reefed. Current electrical supply will be upgraded to a high voltage feed with new distribution being provided throughout the building. The ground floor will be reconfigured to provide additional retail space.


This is the building with Bally's on the bottom floor?

I always thought that Bally's was ironic, with the escalators required to up to a fitness centre - perhaps to use the stair climbers!

The Burgher of TO

No, I believe this is the Cumberland Cinemas building. Isn't this an old proposal? I thought there were problems because the penthouse was an historic property or something like that


I'll take a guess. (with several edits)

First part:
St. Michael's Hospital - Victoria Wing
1 King West (I think this qualifies as a add-on more than facadism)
College Park (the rentals on top)

The bonus:
Queen’s Quay Terminal?


Here's an opportunity for a pop quiz. Name three buildings in Toronto over 12 storeys that had floors added on after they were initially completed. Bonus question: only one building in Toronto has had its number of floors increased - twice. What is it?


Tip Top Tailors.

This is the building that had the amazing penthouse apartment that Philip Johnson supposedly designed right?


This is cool. After seeing so many condo renderings showing simple, clean designs, it's refreshing to see a proposal like this for a change.

Reminds me of the way balconies and planters are built onto old apartment buildings in Hong Kong...



No, I believe this is the Cumberland Cinemas building. Isn't this an old proposal? I thought there were problems because the penthouse was an historic property or something like that
The old Famous Players office with Cumberland Cinemas out back is at 146 Bloor West, 130 Bloor West is just east of there.


There's actually quite a few that have been added onto once, including Tip Top. I'm not aware that Tip Top was added onto before, if that is the case, then my quiz would be wrong. However, canarob got it right with the obscure Bell Telephone Building in Islington now becoming Network Lofts.



The space between the 4 corners at Tip Top was walled and converted into an extra floor (and there were no windows on it, I believe) - Context tore it down before putting in their addition.