Over the past few days, we've brought you a series covering our recent tour of Great Gulf's One Bloor East. Our first story took a look at the retail spaces now taking shape at the building's expansive podium, while our follow-up piece took a look at the 76 storey building's concrete pump mechanism, following the concrete mix up nearly the entire length of the 257-metre tower. Climbing the Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed tower, we now bring you a preview of One Bloor's expansive balconies and its growing building envelope, as glazing continues to be installed higher up the building. 

One Bloor East seen from Yonge Street, looking north, image by Craig White

From street level, installation of the balcony glazing on most of the podium levels is now complete, while above them the buildings's distinctively notched balconies are just beginning to get their fritted glass panels. As the installation progresses, a sculptural form will begin to emerge, with the undulating balcony pattern lending a fluid and wavelike aesthetic. 

A view of the One Bloor podium, image by Marcus Mitanis

While the majority of Toronto's recent and ongoing condo projects are built with a window wall envelope, One Bloor's curtain wall—which hangs off the edge of the building's concrete slabs, provides a more durable and energy-efficient envelope. The hanging curtain walls are more efficient in cold climates, with stronger seal at expansion joints, while less expensive window wall configurations often entail higher energy and maintenance costs in the long term.

Cladding is now being installed on many of the balconies, image by Craig White

While the balcony glass can now be seen taking shape from ground level, it is more difficult to grasp the impressive size of the building's balconies from the street. On the 55th floor, we were immediately greeted by a sweeping view of the city as we stepped out onto a surprisingly wide, south-facing balcony (images below).

The UrbanToronto team tours the balconies, image by Marcus Mitanis

Though balcony glazing has yet to be installed on the higher levels of the tower—making the building's exterior feel somewhat exposed—the generous width and length of the outdoor spaces was nonetheless immediately evident, even though trepidation kept some of the more acrophobic UT staff (seen above) from approaching the edge! [Editor's note: Not sure what the issue is! (See guy in back.)]

While the balconies' wavy design means that their depth varies somewhat, photos show generous width throughout, meaning that each balcony can comfortably accommodate a reasonably extensive array of patio furniture. A video from our tour highlights some of the balconies and views:

The panoramic views, however, will perhaps prove to be the most attractive feature, with the tower's height—combined with its higher natural elevation compared to the Financial District to the south—opening up expansive vistas in all four directions. 

A look at balconies from the 55th floor, image by Marcus Mitanis

Our trip up to the 55th storey was accomplished in the building's Kone jump lift, a type of elevator which can be installed in the elevator shaft before full height of the building is attained, and which can grow as the building grows. Though the jump lift is significantly faster and more comfortable than the construction hoists which are attached to the exteriors of every tall building under construction in Toronto, its comparatively small size means that two constructions hoists are still required on site to transport construction materials such as drywall to the floors. 

A construction hoist is seen on the right, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Benito

One of the construction hoists can be seen in the image above stopped at about the 47th floor, while in the image below you can see how the hoist meets the 55th floor balcony: the mast is clamped to the 56th floor slab, while wood frames and metal-mesh doors keep workers safe going in or out.

Looking southeast from a 55th floor balcony, image by Marcus Mitanis

Looking through the construction hoist doors, image by Marcus Mitanis

As the hoists were shut down during our visit, going to the top floors meant climbing 20 or so flights of stairs…

and up on the 75th and 76th floors is where we will meet you again for our final story of this series, bringing you a close look at the penthouse levels with some of the most spectacular views in the city. In the meantime, check out our dataBase file—linked below—for renderings and more information on One Bloor. You can join in on the discussion in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Andrea Kantelberg Design, Baker Real Estate Inc., Cecconi Simone, DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, First Capital Realty, Great Gulf, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Isotherm Engineering Ltd., Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Janet Rosenberg + Studio, Ketchum, Kramer Design Associates Limited, L.A. Inc., PRO-BEL, TUCKER HIRISE Construction