Our recent hardhat tour of Monarch Group and Goldman Group's Picasso Condos gave us our first look inside of the 39-storey, Teeple Architects-designed condominium development, but it is the building's bold and playful cubist-inspired exterior that is drawing the attention of architecture buffs around the city. At the time of our site visit last week, the tower crane used to construct the new residential tower was in the process of being disassembled, marking a major milestone in the project's progression.

Crane disassembly under way at Picasso, June 11, 2015, image by Marcus Mitanis

The image above provides a great angle on the projecting volumes of white and gray aluminum cladding panels, accented by vertical strips of vibrant red, that make this project such a stunner. With cladding now roughly three quarters of the way to the top, the building's final impact is becoming more apparent, helping it stand out from the largely blue and green-hued architecture of the surrounding Entertainment District. 

Close-up view of exterior cladding on Picasso Condos, image by Marcus Mitanis

From up close, the opaque cladding is just as striking, while the staggered, irregular window layout adds even more visual interest to the mix. The side reveals of Picasso's projecting volumes are clad in eye-catching red panels, which in some sections also contains windows in a similar staggered configuration as the rest of the exterior.

Close-up view of exterior cladding on Picasso Condos, image by Marcus Mitanis

Picasso's terraces, which include a large common space on the 10th floor and several more private terraces scattered across the building, have recently had trees planted, bringing even more colour to the building's exterior in the form of natural greenery. The trees, too large to fit within the confines of a temporary construction hoist, were among the final elements lifted by the tower crane before it was disassembled last week.

Trees on the 10th floor terrace at Picasso Condos, image by Marcus Mitanis

Picasso's balconies are yet another departure from the standard Toronto condominium design. While mostly being recessed, they are still well lit, providing the outdoor element that most buyers want in a condo suite, without compromising the dramatic effect of the building's exterior design.

A section of recently clad balconies at Picasso Condos, image by Marcus Mitanis

While some balconies will feature glass panel cladding, others in the development, including on all of the suites in the podium with have an opaque aluminum cladding. An residents who keep furniture on these balconies won't clash with the tower's modern aesthetic.

Balconies at Picasso Condos, image by Jack Landau

Other exterior details are less apparent to the naked eye, like the floor to ceiling windows that contain a bird-friendly frit pattern of baked-on enamel dots. This feature, while not part of the building's overall architectural statement, makes the glass much more visible to birds, reducing the likelihood of bird-strikes.

Bird friendly glass at Picasso Condos, image by Jack Landau

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Related Companies:  Flynn Group of Companies, Goldman Group, Mattamy Homes, Stephenson Engineering, tcgpr (The Communications Group), Teeple Architects, U31