Among the high-profile projects working through the planning process in Toronto, Slate Asset Management's One Delisle has been one of our more popular recent proposals, and last week the City's Design Review Panel got their first look at the likely landmark. Calling it a "powerful and beautiful addition to the skyline", the Panel was nothing short of impressed by Studio Gang's first Canadian project. Panel members stated that it is a "very striking piece of architecture" and "something that will be iconic", and also offered some suggestions to make the building even greater.
One Delisle is a 48-storey, 168-metre condo tower proposed for the southwest corner of Yonge and Delisle streets, just north of St. Clair. Designed by Studio Gang with WZMH Architects, the project is part of Slate's ambitious vision for the Yonge-St. Clair area, as it owns 10 properties around the busy intersection and is looking to transform it with a holistic approach to building and street design. The tower is proposed to contain 263 residential units, with retail located at grade in the two-storey podium. More details on the tower can be found here.
The Panel pointed out three key areas of the project that showed room for improvement, the first of which was the podium design. While some Panelists approved of the minimalist two-storey facade, others felt that the podium was too disconnected from the tower, and that such a strongly geometric form needed to end in a more strongly articulated base. They acknowledged the delicate balance that the designers must navigate between maintaining the streetwall context along Yonge, including its relationship to the historic facade, while providing an appropriate podium for the tower. Some Panel members suggested that continuing the strong geometry of the tower through the podium might mitigate this.
Another point of concern was the location of the parking and loading entrances and their relation to the public realm. Since Slate owns the existing office towers to the south and southwest, they intend to consolidate the two existing underground parking garages with One Delisle's new parking structure. Currently, three entrances are proposed: one located off of St. Clair below the pedestrian connection to the expanded park; one located on the north side of the park; and one located in the new tower, adjacent to the main residential lobby entrance. Panel members pointed out that these three locations conflicted with having a safe and comfortable public realm for pedestrians, and that locating the entrances to the underground garage here could have a negative impact on both the park and streetscape.
Finally, in what was considered more of a comment than a criticism, the Panel lamented that the small house to the west of One Delisle is not under the ownership of Slate and is therefore excluded from the proposal. Having the house included — whether it is demolished or not — would provide a stronger connection to the park and would help complete the proposed retail perimeter of the block. Slate and the design team agreed with the Panel, though they did not seem optimistic that ownership of the site could be achieved at this time.
Panel members threw in some other comments, stressing to the design team that the materials chosen for the base and tower — which are not yet defined at this stage in the project — were crucial to ensuring the landmark status of this building. They also urged the design team to continuing pushing their sustainability efforts to not only make this building iconic in appearance, but in performance as well. The Panel further praised the "ingenuity of the balcony design", and claimed that it was "refreshing" to see something beyond "flat plate glass and balconies simply used as an aesthetic exercise or marketing ploy".
We will keep you posted as One Delisle continues its way through the planning process, but in the meantime, you can find more renderings in our database file for the proposal, linked below, and tell us what you think by checking out the associated Forum thread or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.
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