The Residences at The Ritz Carlton® Hotel, Toronto, for example, is a slender contemporary tower with that dramatic flaring out on the south side, creating an incredible silhouette on the skyline. In yet another wonderful trend that pays homage to Toronto’s past, we see heritage aspects being preserved in condominiums such as 100 Yorkville, which incorporates the historic façade of the original building, the old Mount Sinai Hospital.
Bazis Inc.’s two towers at E Condos will each feature a cantilevered glass-enclosed pool extending out from the 31st level, adding a dramatic dimension to the Yonge-Eglinton streetscape. The towers at El-Ad Group’s Emerald City at Don Mills Road and Sheppard Avenue in North York are gracefully contemporary. In midtown Toronto at Avenue and Davenport Roads, Pears on the Avenue is Menkes’ classic contemporary boutique condominium that is a sophisticated masterpiece with a stunning three-storey glass-and-brick podium. I could go on and on. We have star architects working on our buildings across the GTA, and the results are phenomenal.
Even more impressive is the complexity of the design and construction of these remarkable condominiums. Few consumers understand the levels of collaboration that occur in order for condo designs to go forward. There are architectural and engineering realities to deal with, as well as municipal regulations and approvals.
Condominium creation is as much a science as an art, and the importance of their exteriors is enormous. In my experience, I would say the exterior of these buildings drives 25% of their sales. In fact, studies have shown that statistic as 29%. Yes, that high! Everyone wants his or her home to reflect a certain personality, and that is what architecture does. People respond emotionally to the exteriors of buildings.
On a practical note, purchasers want to live in a condominium with an exterior that enhances its value, and one that will look as good decades into the future. Developers respond by coming up with exteriors that combine modern sensibilities with timeless components. Our designers are creating breathtaking condominiums that will age beautifully and elicit the emotional responses that help to attract the appropriate target markets.
The variety of styles is incredible, truly something for everyone. We have boutique, mid-rise and high-rise buildings that go far beyond fitting into their environments to elevating the streetscapes and making us a better metropolis. There are point towers, groupings of lower buildings clustered around a courtyard, condos with townhomes and/or commercial and retail venues at the base, residences that are stepped back from the street to allow for a more intimate relationship with pedestrians “¦ the variety is astounding. And all of these condominiums contribute to Toronto taking its place in the world as a great international city.
I remember standing in the lobby of a hotel in Portugal several years ago and noticing a coffee-table book on urban skylines from around the world. Inside was a photo of Toronto, and I was amazed at how beautiful it was. Certainly, our city holds its own with the striking skylines of other cosmopolitan cities around the globe.
Height restrictions, shadow studies, setbacks, zoning, public art, landscaping, structural loads, cantilevers, parking facilities, suite configurations, elevators, lobby, amenities — the number and diversity of practical components to consider is awesome. It is a tribute to the ingenuity, creativity and advanced knowledge of our developers and architects that in the face of the incredible complexity of condo design, they still manage to create fabulous exteriors for these homes.
We are so fortunate here to have one of the most exciting and dynamic condominium markets in the world. At end of the day, these beautiful buildings have a real impact on their residents, their surroundings and our extraordinary, ever-changing skyline.
Barbara Lawlor is president of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com