The tallest Frank Gehry-designed structures in the world are proposed to get taller. The east and west towers of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto are now proposed to rise to 301.55 metres and 329 metres, respectively, to the top of glazed parapet walls crowning the towers, following a submission by Great GulfDream Unlimited, and Westdale Properties for Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments with revised plans. The proposed heights place both towers above 300 metres, the number at which the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recognizes a tower as a 'supertall'.

There are currently 91 supertall skyscrapers in the world, 17 of which are in the United States. There are none currently in Canada, although 1 is currently under construction in Toronto at Bloor and Yonge, dubbed The One. 101 other supertalls are under construction around the world, nearly all of them in Asian and Arabian Gulf countries. There are also 3 'megatalls' in the world, 600 metres and taller, with another 3 under construction.

The east and west towers, approximately 27 and 24 metres taller, respectively, than the previous plan, now have one fewer inhabited floor each, coming in at 81 and 91 storeys. The height difference comes from taller floors, an indication that the developer is anticipating a demand for higher ceilings in what will be considered luxury suites.

Looking northwest to an updated model of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image from submission to the City of Toronto

The zoning bylaw amendment that achieved approval for the previous version noted that neither tower would cast a shadow on the north sidewalk of Queen Street, three blocks to the north and protected as a Heritage Conservation District. New Sun and Shadow Studies indicate a small additional shadow impact during the mornings at the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, dates at which the City judges shadow impact. It remains to be seen if the City will accept the small incremental shadow increase.

Sample shadow study on the equinoxes at 11.18 AM, incremental shadow in pink, image by Bousfields

There are many more differences than merely a change in height to the towers. Especially notable is that a high-end hotel is now part of the recipe for the west tower, replacing 237 residential suites on floors 10 through 20 with 209 hotel rooms and 2 new podium floors of function rooms. The 91st floor of the west tower will also be dedicated to the hotel; as yet what use the hotel will make of that floor is not stated in the plans. Total residential suites in the two towers drops to 1,716, for which a total of 572 bicycle storage spaces are proposed. The total number of parking spaces provided is proposed to drop to 454 from 662.

Looking north to an updated model of Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, image from submission to the City of Toronto

Another notable change are new canopies extending over much of Duncan Street (with the honourary name of Ed Mirvish Way on this block) between the east and west towers. The canopies will provide architectural interest at street level while protecting those arriving at the hotel, and sheltering warm-weather outdoor tables at a hotel cafe on the west side of Duncan. Two floors of retail will animate the base of both buildings, while the third floor of the west podium is proposed as commercial office space. 

West and East Podium uses, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great Gulf, Dream, and Westdale

Both the Royal Alexandra Theatre and the Princess of Wales Theatre are maintained in the new plan, as is the facade of the heritage Anderson Building, which will now stand as an entrance to a rental space in front of the sculpted metal wall of the west podium. OCAD University will get over 2 floors of space in the east tower podium, some of which is planned to be a new art gallery. The Mirvish Gallery will be established in the Eclipse Whitewear Building at the west end of the west block (across John Street from the Lightbox).

Top-of-tower uses, Mirvish+Gehry Toronto, designed by Gehry Partners LLP for Great Gulf, Dream, and Westdale

Tuned Mass Dampers will take up some of the space on the 82nd and 92nd mechanical penthouse floors in the towers to counteract wind loads and reduce sway. Quadrangle are acting as Executive Architects for the development. (Click on any images to see them larger.) 

Additional information and both old images and more new images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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Related Companies:  Brandon Communications, Dream Unlimited, Gehry Partners, Great Gulf, MMM Group Limited, Montana Steele, Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects, Projectcore, Quadrangle, RJC Engineers, Westdale Properties, WSP