Collecdev could add another prestigious accolade to the growing collection of awards recognizing their flashy adaptive re-use project in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, Cielo Condos. The positive reception of the plans for the mixed-use redevelopment of the historic Bloor Street United Church has been one of the main stories surrounding the KPMB Architects-designed project thus far, as it approaches the start of shoring in the New Year, but the praise reached another high this week when Cielo Condos found itself on the shortlist for one of Interior Design Magazine’s Best of the Year Awards.

Looking southwest at the complete KPMB design for the 29-storey Cielo Condos, image courtesy of Collecdev

2022’s ceremony marks the 17th anniversary of Interior Design’s Best of the Year awards, and in that time the annual event has grown to become one of the leading award ceremonies in the international design community, endowing winners with a mark of distinction that holds global significance. Submissions are accepted in over 100 categories for buildings alone, with another full set of categories representing product design as well, offering a comprehensive summary of the noteworthy achievements across the design industry. 

For Collecdev, their spot on the shortlist came in the only category that recognizes residential projects currently under construction, competing for the award 'On the Boards: multi-unit housing.' Specifically, it is the architects of the project, KPMB, who are up for the award, adding another affirmation of merit to a dynamic design that elevates both the future users and the character of the area. Looking at their competition, the three other projects rounding out the group include a fellow GTA project, The Greenwich, by II BY IV Design; The Light Towers, a 2-tower development designed by Pininfarina in the city of Merida, Mexico; and finally, The Brooklyn Tower, a staggering 93-storey development designed by Woods Bagot in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 

Design of residential lobby makes reference to church, image courtesy of Collecdev

Speaking to KPMB’s approach to the design of Cielo Condos, one of the firm’s Partners, Andrew Dyke, commented that “this new building blends the modern charm of a high-rise with the historical significance of the church, while creating a space that fosters community and connection.” What Dyke’s point captures well is the idea of blending that is central to the project, which creates a total of 284 new dwelling units that become linked to, but do not disrupt the community that has occupied this space since the 19th century, the Bloor United Church. 

Private dining lounge interior amenity area, image courtesy of Collecdev

What’s interesting about the project is that the initial conception of a redevelopment came from the leaders of the congregation, who were seeking to guide their organization into the next generation, with a new office and updated facilities. The achievement of the team of Collecdev and KPMB was being able to envision how that redevelopment could become something more. Mixed-use is realized in many different ways, and the limits of what it ought to be should face constant re-evaluation if a city hopes to continue evolving. Building a 29-storey residential tower above a church is a challenging concept, but with thoughtful design that understands the needs of the end user, those spaces can be made to co-exist. 

Looking north at the primary elevation of the church in the redevelopment, image courtesy of Collecdev

With the award ceremony set to be held on December 8 at the Penn 1 building in New York City, representatives from both Collecdev and KPMB will be in attendance, hoping for a positive result. Meanwhile, back in Toronto, work continues on the site of Cielo Condos, as more of the exterior walls of the existing church are dismantled ahead of their offsite restoration. With excavation set to commence in the new year, the site is nearly ready for the 29-storey tower soon to come.   

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, 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:  Bousfields, Collecdev, HGC Engineering Inc, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Orin Demolition, A Division of Orin Enterprises Inc.