With infill development activity increasing in Hamilton and densifying the city's downtown, high-rises are delivering of new housing, both of a longer-term and shorter-term nature. With more Western GTHA developers buying into the viability of high-rise projects, so has McMaster University, having joined forces with Knightstone Capital Management and Leggat Investments Ltd back in 2020 to plan and develop a new Graduate Student Residence tower. 

Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architects were then brought in to design the project, delivering plans for a 30-storey tower with a unique light-catching, textural cladding treatment. Now a few years later, the tower has recently topped off above its King Street West site, and is generating excitement as the cladding is being applied to the podium levels. 

Looking southeast to the new McMaster Graduate Student Residence, image from submission to City of Hamilton

Located at the southwest corner of King Street West and Bay Street South, the tower will offer a total of 644 beds in 453 student residence units, 263 parking spaces, and 256 bicycle spaces, all within a total gross floor area (GFA) of 38,656m². Amenity spaces are offered at grade level, while the roof of the 9-storey podium hosts the building’s outdoor amenity terrace. 

The building’s footprint is generally rectangular, but features an angled condition along the King Street West (northern) frontage that gradually increases the building’s setback from the curb, moving west to east. The tower emerges fully from the podium at the tenth storey, and adds more angularity to the building’s expression with its hexagonal floor-plate, shaped as a shallow chevron. The metal cladding works to express this angularity further, as each vertical strip is composed of two projected right angled triangle segments that meet on a diagonal line, either creating shadows or reflections, and giving the building a twisting appearance. 

Looking southwest at the chevron-shaped massing of the 30-storey residence tower, image from submission to City of Hamilton

Construction of the project began in mid-2021 with site clearing work, removing the large surface parking lot that had occupied the site previously. Excavation was completed by the end of the Summer, with the pit bottoming out at two storeys below grade, and concrete work to form the building’s foundations was started by the early Fall. Referring to the image below, we can see that, by October, the lowest concrete slab had been poured, and a tower crane was active on site; a second crane would be installed a few weeks later. 

Below-grade forming getting underway in Fall 2021, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Macro

Returning almost a year later, in the Fall of 2022, extensive forming work had been completed, revealing the chevron-shaped frame of the tower. In the back-right of the southwest-facing image below, we can see that the western half of the podium is lagging behind slightly. This is because the first four levels are programmed with amenity space and above grade parking, requiring ramped floor-plates and non-repeating plans that require more time to create during the forming process.

Looking southwest at the building frame rising above grade, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

The next few months saw a boost in productivity after the completion of the podium, culminating in the topping off of the tower in February of this year, reaching its final height of 97 metres, and 30 storeys. 

The project topped off at 30 storeys in February, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

In more recent weeks, the application of the building’s feature cladding has been the main storyline to follow. The King Street frontage is coming to life now that the bronze-gold metal panelling is being fixed to the concrete frame, and with windows also being installed across the podium levels now, the crew will be pushing on with interior finishing work as floors become sealed-in. 

Installation of the cladding has begun on the podium levels, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Lachlan Holmes

With steady progress being made on the project, McMaster could be welcoming the first group of graduate students to their new residence building by next year, marking the completion of yet another high-rise development to Hamilton’s growing downtown skyline. 

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:  Bousfields, Diamond Schmitt Architects