West of Confederation Parkway, the south side of Mississauga's Burnamthorpe Road is not yet an urban environment—or even a suburban one—remaining an ex-urban lot. Still vacant, the sprawling 15-acre site is only two blocks, albeit rather long blocks, away from the heart of Downtown, and surrounded by a growing concentration of high-rises. In all likelihood, however, it's soon to be occupied by towers of its own, with the master-planned M City community developed by the Rogers family's' newly founded real estate arm set to re-shape the block.
Early renderings depict an optimistic vision for the site; a collection of 10 typologically diverse concept towers filling out the site. Master-planned by New York's Cooper, Robertson & Partners, with a landscaping strategy by The Planning Partnership, the bulk of the development plan depicted above—being guided by Urban Capital—remains a conceptual vision, with most of the site's project's yet to formally enter the planning process as proposals. On the northeast corner of the site, however, the first of M City's towers—and potentially the tallest building in Mississauga—is now beginning to move through the approvals process.
Set to be reviewed by the City of Mississauga's Design Review Panel on Tuesday, February 28th, the 60-storey Core Architects-designed tower is envisioned as an architectural showpiece for the area. Core's Babak Eslahjou explains that the design was chosen from a competition. "The clients wanted something both iconic and economically feasible, with the Marilyin Monroe buildings [Absolute World] just to the east cited as a precedent," Eslahjou explains. For Core, that meant foregoing the rectilinear forms that dominate the GTA's high-rise development.
"It's difficult to do a building with an irregular floorplate," the architect says, explaining that the added costs of shifting floorplates make such designs a relative rarity across GTA developments. "These type of projects are more common in extremely high-value markets," he adds, with Mississauga's quickly growing Downtown continuing to be dominated by relatively boxy towers.
As Eslahjou puts it, the goal for M City's inaugural tower "was to do something iconic but simple." To make the shifting form more economically viable, Core's massing strategy uses a series of seven repeating floorplates, allowing for a more streamlined construction process. "It's actually three mirrored flooplates with a fourth in the middle," he adds, explaining that repeating, rotated flooplates make for a simpler construction and design process.
Along the exterior, the building's shifting form is accentuated by balcony glass, with the seemingly opaque white horizontal glazing helping to articulate the tower's shape. Since balconies are de rigueur for most tall buildings throughout the GTA, Eslahjou explains that making them architectural features can be an obvious decision. While the near-ubiquity of balconies is lamented by some architects and urban designers, the realities of a market where private outdoor spaces are a major selling point—despite not always being regularly used—mean that balconies end up becoming major aesthetic elements in high-rise design.
"Sometimes I call myself the balcony architect," Eslahjou jokes, riffing on the preponderance of balcony glass across the GTA. At Core's M City tower, the architect stresses that care was taken to integrate the indoor living spaces—appointed by Cecconi Simone—and balconies as part of a cohesive whole. "We want the balcony to feel like like an extension of the living space," Eslahjou describes, with the glazed building envelope allowing for a sense of permeability between indoor and outdoor spaces. It means a lot of glass.
"People sometimes criticize new towers for being too glassy," he adds, "but the reality is that tall buildings often have units with one exposure. When that's the case, you want the floor-to-ceiling windows, and you want all the light you can get."
"We also decided not to put a cap on the tower," says Eslahjou, "in order to maintain that sense of movement towards the sky. We experimented with various caps and roof treatments. Ultimately we felt that not giving it any sort of 'hat' would help give it the impression that it's still moving towards the sky," he adds.
Regardless of the (contextually) staggering height and attention-grabbing form above, however, buildings are ultimately experienced from the street level. Landing the tower, a 5-storey podium meets the corner. Topped by amenities and a sizeable green roof, it's the sort of large base structure that might compromise the fine-grained quality of a dense, established urban neighbourhood. But the vacant corner of Burnamthorpe and Confederation is hardly that, and the introduction of "retail throughout most of the ground floor" could add vital pedestrian activity, improving the conditions of what remains a very automobile-oriented environment.
Indeed, the six-lane Burnamthorpe and four-lane Confederation Parkway aren't exactly pedestrian-oriented streets. As such, a more intimate pedestrian mews space will contribute a quieter mix of retail and public space away from the intersection, which will itself be improved with street-fronting retail, landscaping, and enhanced sidewalk conditions. "The hope is really to bring in as much pedestrian activity as possible," Eslahjou explains, adding that the community's site plan prioritizes mid-block connections and animated mews spaces to bring permeability to a very long block—which will also be broken up with several new streets.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the 5-storey podium will house an above-ground parking garage. However, the parking structure will be encircled by residential units, giving the podium a more varied and street-friendly frontage. Like the tower above, the podium footprint is somewhat irregularly shaped, adding visual interest—and some hints of a fine-grained street frontage—to the street level.
Featuring 784 suites, the project's one- to three-bedroom units range in size from over 400 ft² to approximately 900 ft², with a limited collection of larger penthouse suites topping the tower.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available, and the project continues to take shape. Depending on the timeline of the approvals process, construction could start as soon as early 2018. More information—including new night-time renderings—is available via our dataBase file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or join the ongoing conversation in our Forum.