It’s set to be a very interesting year for Toronto real estate with some of the most innovative projects to ever hit the Toronto condo market now under construction. This move towards innovation as a competitive advantage amongst developers of Toronto condos is welcome news as we become an increasingly vertical city–2014 was a record-breaking year for new condo completions and so far in 2015, there are more condos for sale in Toronto than ever before.
From a design perspective, the concern of becoming a sea of glass towers, beyond ensuring quality of construction, is that we don’t become a city void of character. We all want to see some personality in both our architecture and interior design along with the necessary functionality.
The City of Toronto encourages innovative design in their design guidelines for all new builds but it’s really up to individual developers to push the envelope and bring Toronto’s architecture into the future. Here’s a snapshot of some of the most innovative new Toronto condo projects that are doing just that.
One Bloor West
We talked a bit about One Bloor West a few weeks ago in our article about tall towers. If it gets the green light, The One by Mizrahi Developments will be the tallest condo in Toronto. It’ll join its fellow new Yorkville condos like One Bloor East and 50 Bloor West in breaking height barriers in one of Toronto’s most sought-after condo communities. But it’s not its stature that has us fascinated; it’s the innovative, exterior support structure that frees up internal space and, let’s face it, looks pretty darn cool.
The intercrossing X-frame structure is an exoskeleton that takes the place of traditional internal concrete columns as the primary support structure. It also helps protect the building against wind. There are some condo interiors where traditional, concrete support columns actually add to an industrial aesthetic but in most cases they just get in the way and eat up valuable floor space. Could the exoskeleton represent the next big trend in tall building design?
Innovative Interior Design
A somewhat controversial yet highly-anticipated addition to the Queen West condos scene, a new condo project aims to set a high standard for the growing (or should we say, shrinking) micro condo movement.
Smart House developers Urban Capital and Malibu describe the project as “smaller and smarter” for those who “love to live a clean and streamlined life”. In addition to following many green building and design principles, Smart House uses the latest smart home monitoring technology. But it’s the interior design that has us fascinated.
Interior designers II by IV have thought of everything to maximize these small spaces. Design features include more storage than you’re likely to find in standard-sized condos (they’ve utilized every nook and cranny), an additional, fully retractable kitchen counter, wall niches in the empty spaces between pipes in walls of bathrooms and smaller appliances. Even something as simple as using the full height of closet interiors, building shelves all the way up to the top, is not something you see often in new condos, or houses for that matter, unless customized by the owners.
An optional built-in furniture package is available to further maximize space including a bed that folds into the wall to become a sofa and a dining table built into the kitchen island. Smart design indeed.
If this idea of small but clean living appeals to you, just make sure to secure your mortgage on that micro condo in advance of closing the deal; some buyers are having trouble getting mortgage approval on micro Toronto condos.
From the very beginning, developers 45 Charles Ltd and Eden Homes built innovation and technology into their vision for Chaz Yorkville. Plans include a building-wide fiber optic network to offer the fastest connection speeds available and an interactive, common-area gaming room, pictured above.
What’s interesting about these features isn’t the technology itself but rather the opportunity for that technology to create community, something that’s often missing in condo life. David McComb, President of Edenshaw Homes, was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying, “The building amenities and features are intended to inspire residents to socialize with family and friends… as well as offer the latest social connectivity requirements…”
Case in point: Chaz is the first condo in Toronto to use the new bazinga! app by Vancouver-based bazinga! Technologies Inc. This cloud-based building management software acts as a condo web portal for residents, designed to create a virtual condo community. You can use it to find out what’s happening in the building, interact with the condo board, reserve amenity spaces–even pay your condo fees. But the big hope is that it leads to more real-life interactions amongst residents. High-rise living can make it hard to get to know people in your building and the app provides a safe and less intimidating environment to do so.
The team behind Chaz has also been recognized for their innovative architecture, winning the Gold Nugget in the International Residential Project category at the Pacific Coast Builders’ awards in San Francisco, beating out over 450 international entries. As seen in our lead image, Chaz Yorkville includes a very cool projected clubhouse that’s cantilevered beyond the façade along with more coveted corner suites than a standard tower thanks to its unique shape.
Another tech-forward project, Canderel Residential has partnered with Samsung to integrate wireless smart home technology into all of their penthouse suites and as an optional add-on to other units in YC Condos. Coming to the corner of Yonge and Grenville, ground just broke this past December but 99% of units are already pre-sold thanks to a combination of a stellar location, luxury design and focus on technology.
Homeowners will be able to control temperature, monitor alarms and even unlock their doors for guests remotely using a smartphone or tablet app. Smart home technology has been around for years but having it integrated into developer’s plans from the outset so that everything’s set when you move in is great.
The Cathedral Digital Home project with Samsung is the first of its kind in Canada. Whether it’s truly a smart move for buyers in terms of value will come down to the price tag for those non-penthouse dwellers who have to pay extra; Canderel has yet to release prices for these add-on features.
Lead image: Chaz Yorkville © 45 Charles Ltd.