From Nathan Phillips Square, the steel roof already stands out. Clustered amongst Toronto's tallest Financial District skyscrapers, the 40-storey EY Tower isn't the tallest, or necessarily the most visible. From certain angles, though, it may be the most striking.

The EY Tower roof, viewed from Nathan Phillips Square, image by Jack Landau

Designed by New York's Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in partnership with Toronto's WZMH Architects, the Oxford Properties tower now rises to its full height at the Downtown corner of Adelaide and Sheppard. With the sculptural form now filling out, UrbanToronto toured the busy construction site earlier this week.

Looking east along Adelaide, image by Jack Landau

Managed by PCL Constructors Canada Inc., the quick construction process saw tower floors completed at a pace of "one every four days," PCL's Mike Jackson explains. For changing floorplates of over 23,000 ft² - that's an accomplishment. Now, with cladding installation well underway and the crystalline roof taking shape, "there are about 350-400 tradespeople on site," Jackson adds. 

The southeast corner of the lobby, with the heritage facade on the other side, image by Jack Landau

Beginning in the lobby, the Italian granite flooring is now being installed throughout the tall, open space, while marble cladding climbs the interior walls. On the west side of the Adelaide frontage, the glassy tower extends to meet the street, with direct access to the adjoining plaza and the PATH system below.

The tower's columns are being clad in marble, image by Jack Landau

Just to the east, the the corner of Adelaide and Sheppard is now home to the replicated and altered facade of the 1928-built Concourse Buidling. Preserved decor elements from the original 16-storey Art Deco building—by Group of Seven artist JEH MacDonald—will be displayed throughout the lobby, with the intricate installations set to stand out against the minimalist, contemporary interior. (The project's heritage elements will be covered in a standalone story next week). 

Now covered, elements of the original building will be displayed as art pieces in the lobby, image by Jack Landau

Given the sculpted building's unique form, no two of the 900,000 ft² structure's tower levels are exactly alike. While the five-storey podium features approximately 30,000 ft² floorplates, the relatively variable levels above have an average floorplate of 23,500 ft².

Curved pillars support the changing floorplate (podium level), image by Jack Landau

Clad in a high quality curtainwall, the building targets LEED Platinum certification. Across the east-west and south elevations respectively, vertical and horizontal fins will minimize solar heat gain while accentuating the tower's form. The tower will also feature efficient LED lighting, a green roof near the lower levels—which will double as an outdoor amenity area—as well as a rooftop chiller plant, amongst a variety of other sustainability features. 

This angle highlights the vertical fins along the west elevation, image by Chris Kotsy

With the latter stages of construction now approaching, 90% of the tower's commercial office space has been leased. Confirmed tenants include TMX, who will occupy floors 2 to 7, and OMERS, taking up levels 9 through 25. Above, the 11 highest levels (30 to 40) will be given over to the tower's marquee tenant, the multinational audit firm EY.  

One of the upper office levels, image by Jack Landau

According to Oxford Vice President Mark Cote, open floorplans have been chosen by most tenants. While office tenants have the option to configure their spaces, Cote explains that the quality of space invites the open layouts increasingly favoured by creative industries. "Imagine how it feels to stand up from your desk and see the entire office," he tells us, extolling the sense of openness fostered by the space.  

Looking north on the 30th floor, image by Jack Landau

Along the southwest edge of many floors, the tower's distinct form creates a uniquely angular space which is likely best suited to communal use. "Cynics have said that it's not an efficient space," Cote tells us, "but I think there's value in having such a unique, open area." 

The southwest corner of the 30th floor, image by Jack Landau

Above the office levels, a two-storey penthouse space will house mechanical elements. Meanwhile, the angled roof—which is currently being assembled—will also be covered in a standalone editorial next week. As of late June, the tower's curtainwall is being installed on the final office levels and penthouse, while mechanical/electrictial work and bathroom installations are ongoing throughout the office floors.

A completed women's bathroom, image by Jack Landau

The heritage facade "reinstallation" is now also nearing completion, with swing stages expected to come down in July. Occupancy and substantial completion is targeted for early 2017. 

A view from the roof (keep an eye out for next week's article), image by Jack Landau

Next week, we will return with more in-depth coverage from our tour. Keep an eye out for articles focusing on the EY Tower's distinctive roof, as well as the heritage elements closer to the ground. In the meantime, more information is available in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a message in the space provided on this page, or join in the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.

Related Companies:  ANTAMEX, Kramer Design Associates Limited, PCL Construction, Trillium Architectural Products, Walters Group, WZMH Architects