It's heady times for Toronto's future skyline. In the last week, sales have launched for Mizrahi Developments' The One, it was announced that Great Gulf would be the driving force behind Mirvish+Gehry, and two other supertalls appeared before Toronto's Design Review Panel. We've been talking about Pinnacle One Yonge in a pair of stories; the other proposal, YSL (which stands for both Yonge Street Living and Yves Saint Laurent), the tallest of the bunch, was also before the panel.

Looking south to YSL Residences, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Located at 383 Yonge at the southeast corner with Gerrard, the 343.9 metre/1,128 foot YSL Residences is being designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and architectsAlliance for Cresford Developments. What was presented for the DRP has evolved somewhat from what we first saw when the development plans were first revealed in February of this year.

Changes in the crown of YSL, original version at left, revised at right, images courtesy of the City of Toronto

While the total height—which would make YSL the tallest building in Canada—has not changed, the design of both the top of the tower and the podium have changed. At the top, the big change is essentially a reworking of the glass collar that offers windbreaks to the penthouse terraces. The profile of the building is changed by this too, highlighted in the side-by-side views of the building from Gerrard Street, below.

Changes in the profile of YSL, original version at left, revised at right, images courtesy of the City of Toronto

Along the project's Yonge Street frontage, the heritage buildings at north and south ends which were proposed to be retained as part of the initial plan, are now proposed to be joined by another two building fronts. The way that the development hits the ground in between the heritage buildings has been entirely reworked as well.

Looking southeast: the original plan for YSL meeting the Yonge Street sidewalk, image courtesy of Cresford Developments

Instead of the tower's lines plunging straight into the sidewalk (above), two facades which are designed to mirror the scale of the heritage buildings will maintain the rhythm along Yonge (next two images).

Looking southeast: the new plan for YSL meeting the Yonge Street sidewalk, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Looking northeast: the new plan for YSL meeting the Yonge Street sidewalk, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

Now appearing in the renderings is Ryerson University's logo. While there has been no formal announcement of a deal for Ryerson to take office space in the podium, the developer and institution are clearly working towards that arrangement. To that end, a pedestrian bridge (not shown below) is proposed across O'Keefe Lane along the east side of the building, to join up the offices in YSL with the existing Ryerson buildings to the east.

Looking southwest: O'Keefe Lane separates the development from Ryerson, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The panel was generally pleased with what they were presented, but did have suggestions for the design team to consider. While not capturing every comment, the summary below reflects generally what was said regarding the exterior of the development:

One member indicated they were happy with the improvements to the street wall along Yonge over the initial plan, but a few members wanted something more grand at ground level to signal that there is something out-of-the-orindary rising above. One member suggested a corner cutout at Yonge and Gerrard which would respect the heritage facades, but would create a space behind them. This led to other members to suggest a full arcade behind the heritage walls. An arcade would effectively widen the sidewalks, offer shelter, and impart a grander feeling to the whole complex. Another member suggested that more public realm improvements—all the way down Yonge to the Ryerson Student Learning Centre at the end of the block—would be another appropriate gesture for a development of this scale, and that the City should push for Section 37 benefits in this area.

One member is happy to have a cluster of very tall towers at this point in Toronto's north-south skyline (believing that it creates rhythm in the skyline between the Financial Core and Bloor-Yorkville high points), and was especially happy with the angular top of the tower in terms of the expression and in its mitigation of shadows, but another member considers the current curtain wall to be too generic for such prominent building, and similarly the mid-tower sculpting, wanting both a more distinctive skin and carving of the shape.

Members were generally happy with the improvements planned for O'Keefe Lane between this building and Ryerson, which include a geometric paving treatment and more porosity of the buildings, but another member cautioned not to go overboard on the lane, and to remember that Yonge is the key frontage to spend resources on.

At the end of the meeting, members had a choice to vote for "refine" or "redesign". After adding a condition that the public realm be considered all the way south to 357 Yonge, the vote was 7 for Refine, 1 for Redesign.

The design team is now left with much to consider before their next appearance before the Panel. As they must satisfy other City departments that everything meets certain standards, and the Planning Department will have requests as well, the team will have a juggling act to take as many of the DRP requests into account as they can while they refine the design. What is your take on the changes? You can get a more full look at both the initial design and the new one by visiting our database file for the project, linked below. You can weigh in by visiting our associated Forum thread for YSL, or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  architects—Alliance, BDP Quadrangle, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Live Patrol Inc., Rebar Enterprises Inc