The latest news in the Toronto development scene that is sure to stir curiosity comes from Fora Developments and Oikoi Living, who have shared documents with UrbanToronto outlining their proposal for a 30-storey mixed-use residential development with an expressive and sculptural design that takes a large step - or two - outside the lines of convention. 

Located at 15 and 17 Elm Street in the downtown core, the design comes from PARTISANS, and despite being quite on brand with the work that comes out of their firm, the bold and idiosyncratic nature of the project is certain to disrupt the already broad-reaching status quo of this city. The massing of the 99m tower is defined by a smooth undulating form that extends up the tower in flowing vertical sections creating a dynamic facade. 

Elevated view of the Partisans design for 15-17 Elm facing south west, image courtesy of Fora Developments

The term Gaudi-esque comes to mind, and is helpful in describing the way the facade replicates the living quality of organic structures like muscle tissue and bone. Designed to be constructed out of precast concrete, each section of the facade tapers and expands along soft curves, producing interesting spaces at the individual level, as well as a larger fluid rhythm that is understood by viewing the building in its entirety. The round, pill-shaped spaces between the precast concrete sections will be occupied by walkout and Juliet balconies. As the building gets higher, these spaces are also elongated to house as many as 6 balconies, compared to 3 at lower levels. 

Worm's-eye view of the towers north elevation shows balconies worked into facade, image courtesy of Fora Developments

The building follows the principles of traditional tower design in many ways. The ground level is setback from the street providing a recessed entrance, while step-backs of the tower occur at the 10th and 21st storeys to allow the passage of light while also breaking up the scale in a pedestrian friendly manner. Where it deviates is in the removal of orthogonal forms, a quality that seems omnipresent in Toronto, in favour of more curvaceous character.

With applications for Zoning Bylaw Amendment (ZBA) and Site Plan Approval (SPA) submitted late this week, the development hopes to become a new element of the evolving identity of Elm Street. The street hosts some of Toronto’s most revered heritage buildings and is also at the centre of several plans for dramatic intensification in the coming years. With a proposed 174 units and an FSI of 18.12, the Partisans-designed development is pushing hard to harness the site’s potential both functionally and aesthetically. 

Rounded facade shown in ground level view of the tower facing southwest, image courtesy of Fora Developments

UrbanToronto will continue to follow updates for this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  Arcadis, EQ Building Performance Inc., Fora Developments, Goldberg Group, Groundwater Environmental Management Services Inc. (GEMS), Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, MCW Consultants Ltd, Oikoi Living, STUDIO tla