In the conversation on construction in the area around Spadina and Front, most of the Toronto's attention has been fixed on The Well, which has remained one of UrbanToronto’s most closely followed projects for the last few years. Less has been said, however, about its neighbour to the west, Portland Commons, a formally complex commercial development from the team of Carttera Private Equities and WolfeCorp

The future 15-storey office building is currently rising beside the northeast corner of Front and Portland streets, one of its more interesting structural systems having been erected earlier this month; the cantilevered sixth floor supported by steel struts. 

Looking northeast to Portland Commons, as it should look when complete, image from submission to City of Toronto

The steel struts are the latest visually expressive structural endeavour of architects Sweeny&Co, who incorporated a similarly impressive X-column support system in the atrium space of QRC West, completed in 2017. For Portland Commons, the struts are integral to supporting the building’s overhang, created by a widening of the floor-plate to the north and east at the sixth level. The first of a total of 11 struts, spanning a length of 70 feet each, arrived on site in mid-January. 

First of 11 steel struts arrives on site in mid-January, image from @Ellisdoncorp (instagram)

The struts feature a pinned connection, a secure system that is simple to install while also maintaining a clean visual appearance that contributes to the industrial character of the project. The rendering below depicts how the 11 struts will be distributed across the north and east sides of the building, with clean, minimal connections. 

Looking south from below the 6th floor overhang, image from

At the sixth level, we can see that there is still a substantial overhang extending beyond the struts. This is made possible by the double beam floor deck, a system that uses several pairs of steal I-beams as the central structural elements for the cantilevered floor, connected laterally by single beams. The double beam deck can be seen in the image below, with two steel struts can also be seen also in place. 

Looking northwest to the double beam floor deck supported by steel struts, image by UT Forum contributor Red Mars

Zooming out to look at the progress of the project more generally, the last six months of forming have seen the building grow to stand six full storeys above grade. The seventh floor is in mixed stages of completion, with some parts of the floor poured and set in the centre of the floor-plate, while further south, forms are still in place in advance of the next concrete pour. At the furthest southern edge of the building to the right, the forms for the eighth level are also being constructed as the crew looks to keep the project moving forward at a consistent pace. 

Looking southeast as the building frame rises to the 8th storey, image by UT Forum contributor AHK

Upon completion, the development team is targeting the highest standards for sustainable design and workplace wellness for Portland Commons, with goals to achieve LEED Platinum score and WELL Gold certification. The 56,000m² office building will also feature a total of 13 outdoor terraces and a green roof to contribute further to worker wellness. 

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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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  Carttera Private Equities, EllisDon, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Mulvey & Banani, NAK Design Strategies, RJC Engineers, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc., The Fence People