The Bloor-Yorkville area is one of the hottest in Toronto for new development. It's not really a surprise why, with the best subway access in the city, great shopping, cinemas, cultural gems aplenty, restaurants throughout, and interesting parks scattered here and there with more on the way. The only real surprise in this area is how it isn't already completely redeveloped. Of course there are several cranes currently hoisting concrete into the air here, while many applications for new buildings are working their way through the planning application process.  

The 1 Yorkville tower textural exterior, image courtesy of Bazis and Plaza

1 Yorkville is one of those applications, and the one likely to have garnered the most attention since it was launched. A joint project by Bazis and Plaza, 1 Yorkville was first proposed at 58 storeys and 616 feet/188 metres high. The design by Bazis partner and chief architect Rosario Varacalli sheaths a rectangular floorplate in matte-finished aluminum fins which project from the tower's four faces, undulating as they rise and producing an ever-changing textural shadow effect on the exterior as the sun moves across the sky, while at the same time cutting down on the total amount of glass on the exterior and improving the building's environmental performance. Concealing "a box"—an efficient shape for the suites within but one which is often derided by those who want to see more flair on the skyline—the fins have made the building stand out from many other offerings in this city ever since the first renderings hit the net.

Aluminium fin details at 1 Yorkville, image courtesy of Bazis and Plaza

The project isn't just all fins of course. Inside the walls the suites have to work, and the amenities have to appeal. We have covered the opulent common areas and amenities in earlier stories; their outfitting is courtesy of The Design Agency who have made sure that the interior details will live up to the standard people expect from a Yorkville address.

Amenities at 1 Yorkville, like the plunge pools seen here, are courtesy of The Design Agency

At ground level there are other considerations too as 1 Yorkville is not being built on a blank slate without context. In fact there are a number of heritage properties fronting Yonge Street at Yorkville which are part of this submission, and Varacalli has designed the new tower to slip behind them, preserving the first 10 metres of the hundred-plus-year-old buildings back from Yonge Street. The irony of the modern intervention here is that with a restoration in the offing, these reminders of Toronto's past will have not looked so good since they were brand new themselves.

The 1 Yorkville tower rising behind restored heritage properties on Yonge Street, image courtesy of Bazis and Plaza

As the project has sold (and done quite well in that regard), it has actually morphed a bit as the developers and Toronto's City Planning Department have worked through issues that were identified during the application process. Pending final approval by City Council in the months ahead, there are a few modifications and new details to announce, but not ones which will amount to major material change to the suites already spoken for.

Looking down on 1 Yorkville from above, image courtesy of Bazis and Plaza

The building has gotten a bit shorter. It's now 55 storeys, or 588 feet/179 metres tall. The drop in height will keep shadows from the building a little shorter, now staying clear of the playground at Jesse Ketchum park on Bay Street. An opaque glass canopy has been added at 25 feet/7.7 metres, extending from the side of the building to the property line along Yorkville Avenue to bring a sense of pedestrian scale to the tower at sidewalk level. The canopy will also stop wind gusts coming down the side of the building from hitting pedestrians. Small tweaks have been made to the design to further set off the heritage buildings, while plans for how they will be protected during the excavation of the underground garage have been sorted out.

We will keep you informed as approvals are finalized for this project and construction gets under way. In the meantime, UrbanToronto has many more renderings and updated information in our dataBase file for this project, linked below. You can get in on the conversation by choosing on one of the associated Forum thread links, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Bazis, DesignAgency, ERA Architects, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Kramer Design Associates Limited, Live Patrol Inc., NAK Design Group, Plaza, PRO-BEL, Rosario "Roy" Varacalli, Ryan Design International, TMG Builders