After decades of questionably planned and executed waterfront developments, Torontonians have begun to demand more of projects situated in highly visible harbourside locales. The revitalization of the central waterfront, starting in the 1970s, transformed a post-industrial wasteland into a livable mixed-use community, but something was missing. During the tail end of what was arguably our city’s most disastrous era of urban planning, large concrete tower blocks designed to connect Toronto with the lake served the opposite purpose, forming yet another physical barrier between downtown and the Harbour. Though the planning and design mistakes of the past aren’t easily corrected, it is safe to say that a lesson was learned as a result. A new breed of waterfront development has emerged in recent years, placing emphasis on lake views for pedestrians and not just residents. The tree-lined waterfront promenades of Corus Quay and George Brown College’s new Waterfront Campus stand in stark contrast to the unwelcoming concrete blocks to the west, stretching from Yonge St. to York St. With every one of these new lakefront projects, we are afforded yet another stretch of revitalized waterfront access where there were once only contaminated brownfields.

Toronto skyline viewed from the east tower of Pier 27, image by forum member tomms

With a towering manifestation of the past’s mistakes located just across the Yonge Street Slip, Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes called on architectsAlliance to produce a design capable of framing lake views for passing pedestrians, instead of blocking them. The now topped-out four 11-storey towers of Waterlink at Pier 27 are topped and connected by two three-storey linking skybridges, bringing the total height of the towers up to 14 storeys. Keeping in the spirit of a publicly accessible waterfront, pedestrians will have access to the water via a new landscaped park wrapping around the western and southern edges of the site.

Pier 27 viewed from west of the Yonge Slip, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

Work on the 4 towers is continuing along with cladding now covering much of the easternmost structure, as well as an entirely different cladding being applied to the two western towers. The excellent shots below, captured by UT Forum member TOCondoGarden, show the different types of cladding being used on the eastern and western towers.

Pier 27 viewed from the west, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

East tower's cladding, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

Framed view looking north from future southern pedestrian boardwalk, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

TOCondoGarden's last shot looking north towards the L Tower, another Cityzen/Fernbrook joint project, allows us the perfect opportunity to share a photo looking back down at Pier 27 from 60+ floors up, taken during our tour of the L Tower at the end of March.  

Waterlink at Pier 27 viewed from above the L Tower, another Cityzen/Fernbrook project, image by Craig White

The urban landscape surrounding the above photo is set to see some massive changes in the coming years. With an ambitious project planned for the Toronto Star lands accross the street, new residents at Pier 27 will likely have a front row seat for the continued rebirth of Toronto's front door.

Waterlink at Pier 27, image courtesy of CItyzen/Fernbrook Homes

We will be sure to check back on Pier 27 as the project progresses. In the meantime, please visit the dataBase page linked below for additional information, floorplans and renderings. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the related forum thread here, or post your opinion in the comments section below.

Related Companies:  architectsAlliance, Cityzen Development Group, Fernbrook Homes, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Studio Munge, The MBTW Group | W Architect Inc, Walters Group