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Jasonzed

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I couldn't find a thread for this one...

U.K. architect Will Alsop designs Yonge St. condo for North Toronto: Hume
Midrise condo planned for Yonge south of Lawrence offers a new vision of 21st-century city and its architecture.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/02/03/uk_architect_will_alsop_designs_yonge_st_condo_for_north_toronto_hume.html



By: Christopher Hume Urban Issues, Published on Sun Feb 03 2013
Normally, the launch of yet another condo on Yonge St. would pass unnoticed, except by the neighbours.
But it will be hard not to notice the project proposed for Yonge St. and Strathgowan Ave. To begin with, it’s designed by Will Alsop, the British architect best known in these parts for the “flying tabletop,” officially the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. That’s the McCaul St. building suspended on a series of brightly coloured steel columns. No one who has seen it will be surprised to hear the condo is, well, somewhat out of the ordinary. That would be true in any part of town, but in leafy North Toronto, Alsop’s offering will not only turn heads, it will wrench necks.
That’s what architects love to do, of course, not that most ever get the chance. In Alsop’s case, however, he has become the go-to guy for clients who want something unique, even provocative. Though easy to forget, Alsop’s buildings are much more practical than they appear. Putting OCAD University on legs, for example, meant not having to close and/or move the school, saving time and money.

Read more at The Star...
 

androiduk

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Yonge & Strathgowan ( 10s, Will Alsop )

From Today's Star, Christopher Hume.





Normally, the launch of yet another condo on Yonge St. would pass unnoticed, except by the neighbours.

But it will be hard not to notice the project proposed for Yonge St. and Strathgowan Ave. To begin with, it’s designed by Will Alsop, the British architect best known in these parts for the “flying tabletop,†officially the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. That’s the McCaul St. building suspended on a series of brightly coloured steel columns. No one who has seen it will be surprised to hear the condo is, well, somewhat out of the ordinary. That would be true in any part of town, but in leafy North Toronto, Alsop’s offering will not only turn heads, it will wrench necks.

That’s what architects love to do, of course, not that most ever get the chance. In Alsop’s case, however, he has become the go-to guy for clients who want something unique, even provocative. Though easy to forget, Alsop’s buildings are much more practical than they appear. Putting OCAD University on legs, for example, meant not having to close and/or move the school, saving time and money.

But for most, what we see is what we get. The Strathgowan condo will be midrise — 10 storeys — but beyond that, it’s hard to describe. For starters, the building is wrapped in a steel screen, patterned, pierced and perforated to resemble a lacy architectural façade. Vaguely reminiscent of Jean Nouvel’s exquisite Arab World Institute in Paris, Alsop’s condo also has the feel of one of those French Quarter buildings in New Orleans with the ornate wrought iron balconies.

“It’s diaphanous on the lower levels,†Alsop explains. “We’re using a woven stainless steel. It’s more like fabric than steel. You can detail it as if it were PVC.â€

Even more striking, the building is divided horizontally into two sections. The bottom, seven storeys tall, slopes outward as it drops down to Yonge St. The top part, a three-floor rectangular structure that extends beyond the base, bears a slight resemblance to the OCAD U tabletop.

It looks like nothing ever seen in Toronto; yet there’s no reason to think it won’t belong, especially on a stretch of Yonge that has very little identity of its own. The most memorable piece of architecture here is the Glengrove Hydro Substation, a 1931 neo-gothic beauty that outshines its neighbours, including the many apartment buildings that are the most distinctive feature of Yonge south of Lawrence Ave.

“The client was looking for something a little different,†Alsop says, straight-faced. “She also wanted to do a different type of interior. You can slide inner walls so that bedrooms become balconies. You can open your whole apartment to the outside. We’re trying to keep the units as open and flexible as possible.â€

That client, former architect Bianca Pollak, confirms she did indeed want to do something out of the ordinary.

“I believe this part of Yonge needs something,†she explains. “I see this as an opportunity to do something. When Will is involved, the results are always extraordinary. We’re all very excited.â€

It’s still early days, Pollak makes clear, and the project has yet to be submitted to the city for approval. Though the neighbours might be shocked at first, they will quickly get over that. Besides, Pollak plans to add one full floor of public parking underground. That will appease many, though the 10 storeys will undoubtedly be an issue, too.

In truth, nothing less makes sense in this part of 21st-century Toronto.

Christopher Hume can be reached at chume@thestar.ca
 

SP!RE

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I'm not usually one to make my mind up so quickly and easily, but whatever that rendering is, I LIKE it.
 

yyzer

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Whoah!! I wonder if Yonge & Lawrence can handle something like this?? Looks pretty amazing, wish the render was a little better resolution..
 

someMidTowner

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Looks like we are finally going to get some interesting architecture in my neck of the woods. Thanks for posting this Jason
 

agoraflaneur

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I know it is a blurry mess, but I too can't help but thinking: sweet! The woven steel exterior should be fantastic while the idea of a flexible interior space that shifts to suit the needs of its inhabitant is surely the wave of the future. Odd that I was just watching a TED talk about this yesterday:

http://www.ted.com/talks/kent_larson_brilliant_designs_to_fit_more_people_in_every_city.html

I can't help but thinking: now bring this kind of design downtown! (Our BIG was supposed to be somewhere up there as well though wasn't it - put it where the money is I guess).

Also, we need more developers like Bianca Pollak who are design conscious and willing to look beyond simple profit.
 

adHominem

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Yeah, to bad its not down on the waterfront
Well, good architecture is a welcome sight anywhere in town it arrives - especially since so much of what's going up these days is so banal.

I do hope this meets a better end than the other Alsop proposed projects around town (that film district thing, Westside Lofts, etc).
 

AlbertC

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Definitely a bold and striking vision, looking forward to more details. On a side note, Alsop sure has a thing for designing overhanging table-top structures for our city.
 

Sir Novelty Fashion

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Interesting that Hume was the first one to break this story. Has he gotten the scoop like this before?
Yeah, that struck me too. So, did the developers actually launch the project with this article? Given the fact that it's design-forward and might require some massaging in the community, it might make sense. (Though it does put Hume in an odd role of scoop-getter and promoter.)
 

urbandreamer

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I first heard about this project 6 months ago.:D (ppl said they didn't believe the info I had, so I STFU.) Pollak Design, Alsop working with Quadrangle locally?

Btw, Alsop was spotted at a gallery opening on Morrow Av--his own show to be precise. A friend reports he was very approachable. He likely met Hume that weekend--aka last weekend during Design Week.
 
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