For Toronto’s East Bayfront neighbourhood, the last five years have brought a complete overhaul of the built environment with the completion of a number of striking contemporary buildings working together to reinvigorate the eastern stretch of the City’s central waterfront. 

The mission, however, is only getting started, with a host of projects still under construction and still to come that will provide another boost in both residential and commercial uses for what should ultimately be a flashy lakeside community. One of those projects, and arguably the most visually distinct so far, is Aqualuna at Bayside; now three years into construction and growing above its perch next to the Parliament Street Slip, the building’s undulating facade condition promises to live up to the hype. 

Looking southeast at the growing concrete from of Aqualuna, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Cranesinthe6ix

Developed by the pairing of Tridel and Hines, Aqualuna is the fourth and final phase of the partnership’s Bayside community project, and was preceded by the Aqualina, Aquavista, and Aquabella developments located to the immediate west. The project is the second of the set to be designed by the Danish Architecture firm, 3XN (with Kirkor Architects Planners as the Architect of Record), and is now well on its way towards a final height of 18 storeys at the tallest point of its valley-and-peaks massing.

Looking north to 3XN's Aqualuna once completed, image from submission to City of Toronto

Construction began in 2020, jumping right into shoring, as the site had already been cleared of the industrial structures that occupied the area years prior. By the Fall, excavation was starting up, and the following months were spent carving out four levels below grade. The pit bottomed out in the Summer of 2021, and a pair of cranes were installed promptly afterwards, allowing concrete work to begin for the building’s foundations and parking levels. 

Looking east at site with crane installed in November 2021, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor TheSix

Fast forwarding through almost two years of concrete work, we can see that, as of early April, the building has now been formed up to its seventh storey, with more forms in place to complete the eighth storey on the northern peak volume. What we can also see taking shape in the image below is the first of a number of step-backs on the east elevation of the northern peak that work to punctuate the valley motif while providing more light to the various balconies; this massing that will be mirrored on the west elevation of the southern peak. 

Looking southwest at the concrete frame, now standing 7 storeys, image by UT Forum contributor Riseth

Getting a closer look at the building’s concrete frame, the wave-like quality of the balcony slabs clearly stands out as one of the defining elements of the design. Pictured below on the building’s west elevation, the balconies play a key role in expressing the building’s formal reference to its lakeside location.

Detail shot of wave-like balcony slabs on west elevation, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor DarwinP

While the project has yet to see any of its exterior finishes applied, the design team has developed a unique cladding system and tested its fabrication process through the creation of full-scale mockups. Images from 3XN’s instagram show that the designers completed their first mockup in February 2021, and the product offers plenty to be excited about. The rich colouring leans towards the more vibrant side of copper, while the assembly and detailing reflect both exciting design and tight execution, from the curved glazing to the textured cladding panels. 

Full scale mockup of the building's exterior envelope, image from Instagram @3xnarchitects

Extensive forming work will follow in the coming months as the project strives to meet its initial completion target of fall 2024, and as the building grows, so will the anticipation to see the Bayside community get closer to its final form. With many more waterfront improvement projects already underway, Toronto’s waterfront is getting the attention and investment that it needs. 

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:  Entuitive, EQ Building Performance Inc., Hines, II BY IV DESIGN, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Kirkor Architects Planners, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Myles Burke Architectural Models, Tridel, Unilux HVAC Industries Inc.