The SLC is literally just curtain wall. You can look at the top mullion and its clearly nailed into the ceiling with a gasket strip. The concrete slab is continuous from outside the building envelope to inside the envelope. That's not just thermal bridging but also a literal "cold" mass being thrust into the building. Before the panelling went up you could see this more clearly. Anecdotally, due to how cold it is, and how difficult it is to heat, they're only letting people go through 1 set of doors, despite the code mandating that there should be like 3 or 4.
One should look at the ground floor specifically because it is an atrium - a big space to regulate temperature and provide energy for. While a building is a collective system, you can certainly point to specific weakpoints in the system as bringing down the overall performance. The upper floors are wholly contained and are not the issue here.
Sure, one could say that the SLC is still an energy efficient building given the code and regulations at the time of construction, but the point is if we made even more stringent regulations, it can curb creative and innovative designs like the SLC.
You are conflating things. Nobody in the world of building science is calling for atriums or spaces of assembly to be banned. The envelope of said spaces should be improved, but spaces like the atrium of the SLC are not at risk in any way. In fact, an assembly space like a lobby at grade, or retail at grade, are very appropriate spaces to allocate your glazing, along street frontages, or interfacing with a public ROW.
Additionally, thermal bridging such as that at the ground level of the SLC is not necessary to good design. That atrium/lobby space could have been designed and detailed to look nearly identical but with thermal bridging eliminated. The "innovative" design language would not be compromised if that was done, and legislation to improve thermal performance would work in its favour.
As for the upper levels, we disagree again. The concrete slabs may be "wholly contained" behind the curtain wall but there is a ton of thermal bridging inherent to the glazing system and the insulating value of that curtainwall is poor. Even the idea that the frit pattern (while attractive) is a sustainability feature is hard to argue and hardly innovative. I would argue that the real innovation at SLC (a project I like by the way) would have been the same great open atrium space but less glazing (or a high performance triple glazed curtainwall) for the upper levels.
The atrium is not the poorly performing part of the project, even if it (like most buildings, by the way) features some thermal bridging. It's the upper levels that are more problematic and which stricter codes could have in fact forced a more innovative and sustainable design.
The idea that because it's wrapped in curtainwall means it's "wholly contained" and that stricter codes would have meant the atrium or innovative design would have been restricted are both equally ridiculous. I'm not picking on what you're saying to be argumentative, but for the sake of other people reading this discussion, because your use of terminology and logic are not sound and I can see that you are conflating the issues.
TL;DR, to summarize:
- Spaces of assembly such as lobbies, while more energy intensive in some ways, are not under fire from stricter codes. Buildings will always be allowed to have them.
- Thermal bridging is not inherent to design, is easy to eliminate, and with stricter codes for energy performance, will be less and less common as designers are pushed to detail more carefully, for higher energy performance. This would not change the look or feel of a space.
- As an addendum: a little bit of thermal bridging in the lobby of the SLC is NOTHING compared to the vast amounts of energy wasted by having the entire upper mass clad in curtainwall. It can't even be compared. That said, even with stricter code, the upper mass could still be fully glazed, but would require an even higher-performing system if it was a new building approved in the future. There is always an answer, and innovation will survive stricter codes - I would argue it will in fact make for greater innovation as developers are pushed to actually consider and use the high-performance systems that architects are taught to use, and wish to use for their designs.
I don't mean to derail the thread with a huge post, but I wanted to clarify a few things. I agree with the suggestion for a thread to discuss issues of building code, energy performance targets, etc. If anyone is curious about this stuff, feel free to PM me. Always down for a good chat about AEC in Toronto, although it's frustratingly difficult to share anecdotes from the industry if one wants to remain somewhat anonymous and of course protect their work.