The 2010s were a formative decade for urban development in Toronto, and among the hundreds of new buildings constructed in the city over the last ten years, a select few stood out from the pack. After ranking the biggest news stories, projects, and Forum threads of the decade along with the tallest buildings of the decade, we’re back for a look at some of the most influential and architecturally significant buildings of the 2010s. While not an exhaustive list, these 15 picks are the result of an internal office poll with ranked results that show off the wide range of building types and architectural styles of the last ten years.
The only transit-related project on this list, the 2017-opened York University Station is the busiest station on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, and also among the most striking. Designed by world-renowned architects Foster + Partners, the station's organic curves, futuristic interiors, and an impressive light well all helped land the project on our list.
14. The Selby
Completed in 2018, this 50-storey, luxury rental tower from Tricon House and MOD Developments—the only rental development on this list—is representative of a resurgence in new-build rental towers for the Toronto market. Aside from its importance to the rising rental market, the project is notable for its design by Chicago-based bKL Architecture, featuring a brick-clad exterior and a dramatic cantilever that sets it apart from the surrounding St. James Town skyline.
13. Casey House
A derelict heritage building formerly known as the "grey lady of Jarvis" was restored to its former glory, serving as the new front face of this Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed HIV and AIDS patient care centre. The 1875-built structure's restored heritage details contrast beautifully against the clean modern building added to the east.
The influence of legendary architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is clearly visible on this 44-storey, architectsAlliance-designed condominium tower from developer Great Gulf. Completed in 2010 at the Jarvis and Charles intersection, the building's clean grid-like exterior and dark finishes harken back to the era of mid-century Modernism, accented by colourful touches.
11. Five St. Joseph
Located at Yonge and St. Joseph, this project from MOD, Graywood, and Five St. Joseph Developments wrapped up in 2017, featuring a 48-storey condo tower designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, sitting atop a base of heritage buildings meticulously restored by ERA Architects. The project's unconventional take on balconies, large expanses of uninterrupted curtainwall glazing, and influence on subsequent heritage retention/tower combinations all contributed to the project's ranking.
10. One Bloor East
By far the tallest new project included in this list, this Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed tower for developer Great Gulf rises 76 storeys to a height of 257 metres, or 844 feet, from the southeast corner of Yonge and Bloor. The tower's undulating facades and impressive height give One Bloor East an impressive presence at one of the city's most prominent intersections.
9. Sisters of St. Joseph Residence
Completed in 2012, and the recipient of multiple awards in the years since, the Shim-Sutcliffe-designed building at the corner of Broadview Avenue and O'Connor Drive rises four storeys, and includes a mix of health care facilities, communal areas, and living units for its more than 50 elderly residents. The building's serpentine footprint and modern finishes help it stand out from the retained John F. Taylor House heritage building on site.
8. L Tower
Cityzen Development Group, Fernbrook Homes and Castlepoint Numa's L Tower gets the nod for its skyline-altering presence. The Studio Daniel Libeskind-designed tower rises 58 storeys to a height of 205 metres, and features a distinctive curved profile and pitched roofline that add to skyline views from all directions.
Uniting the brick-and-beam style buildings and new construction populating the King West area, Allied Properties REIT and RioCan's 13-storey Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed development at King and Portland has been very well received. A brick-clad base offers a modern spin on the surrounding heritage architecture, supporting a modern office volume above featuring rounded floorplate corners and a crisp curtainwall glazing finish. The 2019-completed complex also includes a 15-storey condominium building to the north, known as Kingly Condos.
Completed in 2018, this 25-storey condominium development from Freed Developments and Carttera Private Equities rises 82 metres above the King and Church intersection. The architectsAlliance-designed condominium tower opposite from the iconic St. James Cathedral includes a striking grid of orange-hued aluminum frames that bring colour and texture to the local urban fabric.
5. 7 St Thomas
Moving into our top five of the decade, we come to the fourth and final Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed project on our list, a nine-storey office building from St. Thomas Commercial Developments at the corner of St. Thomas and Sultan streets. The project shares similarities with other Hariri Pontarini entries on this list, including undulating curves like those found at One Bloor East, and a mash-up of heritage and modern styles similar to Casey House.
Mattamy Homes and Goldman Group's Picasso Condos still stands as one of the most eye-catching towers in the Entertainment District. The 39-storey, Teeple Architects-designed condominium tower rises 129 metres over Richmond Street West and features a playful exterior of extruded cubes finished in red, black, and white aluminum panels.
3. River City 3
The much-anticipated third phase of Urban Capital's River City community did not disappoint. Completed in 2019, the condominium tower rises 29 storeys with a standout design from Saucier + Perrotte Architects and ZAS Architects, featuring a series of drawer-like balconies that protrude with varying depths. The project has already been the recipient of at least nine major awards, and was selected by UrbanToronto readers as the best 20- to 29-storey building completed in 2019.
2. Aga Khan Museum + Ismaili Centre
This cultural complex opened in Toronto's Don Mills and Eglinton area back in 2014, consisting of a museum and a cultural centre amongst a publicly-accessible park. The complex is home to the Aga Khan museum, designed by Pritzker Award-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, and the Ismaili Centre was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa.
1. Ryerson Student Learning Centre
Our top pick of the 2010s is this eight-storey institutional building for Ryerson University, designed by the team of Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects. The crystalline building at Yonge and Gould replaced the iconic Sam The Record Man retail location, and stands as a monument to the often controversial intensification of Yonge Street.
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