For our second report covering UrbanToronto’s recent hardhat tour of The One, we have a fresh batch of images and some exciting information to share about progress on the tower’s lower levels. In today’s story, we are sharing what we learned from our walk-through of the third floor restaurant/event space and the soaring ground level retail space. 

Looking southwest to The One, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor jer1961

Guided through the site by Esteban Yanquelevech, Vice President of Construction at Mizrahi Developments, we arrived at the third level via the construction hoist servicing the tower’s lowest 6 floors. Stepping out, the double-height of the ceilings on this level is felt immediately, with a clearance of almost 20 feet making for a lofty space. Equally impossible to ignore are the massive structural steel columns, both canted and vertical, supporting the slabs above and below. 

Steel beams support the slab of the 3rd floor event/restaurant space, image by Matias Bessai

Secured around the steel is aluminium framing that will allow finishings to be mounted on the columns. From what we have seen in the renderings of the Andaz Hotel spaces on floors above (an Andaz Hotel space from a couple floors higher is pictured below), we believe a similar champagne-tinted treatment, like what will be seen on the exterior structure, will cover the columns here.

Food and beverage space at ANDAZ Toronto, image via Design Agency

Some of the canted steel columns traveling through the third level begin at ground level, and some at level three. All continue up to a transfer slab at level five located at the base of the central tower elevator core. The purpose of the canted columns is simple: to enable the core of the building at grade to be free of columns. The canted columns accomplish this by distributing the load of the tower above from the transfer slab to the super columns around the tower's perimeter.

Building section drawing shows path of structural steel through lower levels, image from submission to City of Toronto

The image above shows the full extent of the unique structural steel configuration, a thoughtful overlapping of engineered systems and design that has become recognized as a calling card of the project’s ‘starchitect’ design firm, Foster + Partners

Moving towards the periphery of the floor-plate, we got a closer look at another highly engineered area of the project, the corner hangers. As detailed in a previous story, this v-shaped steel structural element is fixed to the super-columns several floors above, and allows the corner of the slab to be hung from the super-columns in tension, eliminating the need for significant structural columns at the building’s corners. 

Corner hangers seen from inside, supporting slab corner in tension, image by Matias Bessai

The image above shows how the hangers are expressed on the inside of the building, while the image below shows the hangers expressed on the outside. The same champagne-tinted cladding from the exterior will also be mounted on the inside of the hangers, creating a continuous motif from outside to in. (While there has been some speculation in the UrbanToronto Forum that the colour of the aluminum that will cover the columns and hangers will change, we have been assured that the colour of the test pieces is the final colour.)

Test pieces of cladding outside of where two hangers meet, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Benito

Returning to the hoist, we traveled back down to ground level, and made our way to the building’s Bloor Street frontage to enter possibly the most highly anticipated space of the project, the grade-level unit which will be home to a major anchor retailer. With a ceiling height of 40 feet, there was nothing to do but look up and let the dwarfing effect of the grand, cavernous room be experienced. 

Inside the grade level retail unit, 40ft ceiling height makes for a dramatic space, image by Matias Bessai

The canted columns we see in these images are beginnings of what we saw on the third floor, terminating where the super-columns meet grade level, where the load from the tower above is ultimately being distributed. The columns' entire surface has been sprayed with a fire resistant coating, in advance of similar aluminum framing and a final cladding finish like on the floors above.   

Looking at the ground, we saw a number of openings in the floor slab which serve various purposes. The large square spaces, surrounded by safety fences and seen in the video above and the image below, create passages for the mechanical and electrical systems required to service the level, particularly air ducts. More difficult to see in the image below are the smaller circular holes spaced evenly around the floor-plate, to allow water drainage from planters ideal for a garden or trees.

Diagonal steel columns leave an open floor-plan at grade, image by Matias Bessai

The southwest corner of the space has a much larger opening, space for a staircase and elevator to reach the concourse level of the store, 20 feet below. 

Cut-out in the corner of the ground floor slab for a staircase and elevator, image by Craig White

Finally, we were able to observe how the glazing around the retail space is fixed to the building. Unlike the unitized curtain wall panels above, these glass panels were designed specifically for the grade level, and are composed of 40ft sheets of structural glass, meaning they are fully self-supporting. In this way, the only requirement was to connect them to the building, which is achieved through the use of the black bracket connectors pictured below. 

40ft structural glass windows are fixed to building frame with black brackets, image by Matias Bessai

A drop ceiling will be installed to the height of the upper edge of the glass, as seen above, while a raised floor about a foot and a half above the ground floor slab will be constructed for the sales floor. All of these interior finishes could start to be applied partway through this year, and the store could open late in the year. To allow the opening while construction of the building continues above, a temporary hoarding roof will be built at the 17th floor level, extending from the mechanical section of the building to protect passersby below, such as what was done at the Aura project at Yonge and Gerrard in 2012.

That concludes our February 2023 hardhat tour of The One. Our coverage of the project will continue next month with more images of the building’s evolving exterior and updates on the progress of construction. Until then, you can learn more about The One 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.


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