In Toronto's nascent East Bayfront neighbourhood, the volume of construction is such that it's hard to distinguish one concrete skeleton from another. Travelling east along Queen's Quay from Yonge, active and upcoming construction sites stretch all the way to the foot of Parliament Street. At Queen's Quay and Lower Jarvis, however, one such concrete structure is now becoming a lot more recognizable, as panels of brick cladding are installed across the lower levels of the commercial phase of Daniels Waterfront - City of the Arts.
Since our last construction update in mid-January, the structural skeleton has continued to progress toward its final heights as cladding shapes the ground plane. Designed by RAW and Rafael + Bigauskas Architects, the project's commercial phase will introduce 280,000 ft² of office and institutional space to the area, with 11- and 14-storey volumes now rising from the shared four-storey base.
A variety private tenants will occupy the complex's office condominiums, while much of the 280,000 ft² commercial space will be given over to a 150,000 ft² 'Creative Industries Hub,' which will be a home to a variety non-profit arts and culture organizations, including Manifesto and Remix. A central part of the Creative Industries will be the Quadrangle-designed Artscape Launchpad, with 30,000 ft² space functioning as non-profit incubator for new business.
Along with 27,000 ft² of street-level retail, the complex's diverse mix of non-profit and market-oriented uses will hopefully catalyze the sort of economic spillovers that often come with such diverse programming. At the very least, the combination of small-ish office condos and non-profit uses—not to mention two major post-secondary partnerships and a northern extension of Sugar Beach—makes the complex a far cry from another Downtown office tower anchored by a corporate tenant. Architecturally, however, the design offers a more subdued addition to the urban realm than the adventurous and highly eclectic mix of programming might suggest.
From Queen's Quay, the complex will be characterized by red and grey brick cladding along the tower volumes, with a darker fourth-floor extrusion housing the Artscape Launchpad and a more sculptural volume at the southwest corner. It's not exactly meant as an iconic architecture so much as a tasteful, carefully detailed, and well-configured addition to the urban landscape. Based on the quality of the cladding installed so far—which features tonal and textural variety in panels of what appears to be real brick—the building is shaping up as a warm and visually engaging addition to the area.
Immediately to the north, meanwhile, two Giannone Petricone-designed condominium towers will round out the Daniels Corporation's lakefront community. Rising to heights of 45 and 36 storeys respectively, the Lighthouse Tower and Lighthouse Tower East will add a total of 554 residential units to the area, with street-level retail lining the east-west pedestrian mews that will run between the development's commercial, institutional, and residential mixed podiums.
As excavation carves out the site of the north towers' shared podium, the City has issued a new building permit to allow work to commence on the lower levels. While construction is already well underway, the laborious nature of below-grade work means that it will be several months before the residential podium begins to make an impact at street level.
Additional information and renderings can be found in our dataBase file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.