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Toronto’s first Herzog & de Meuron-designed building could be this 87-story skyscraper

Coming In On the Ground Bloor

Toronto’s first Herzog & de Meuron-designed building could be this 87-story skyscraper

Developed by two Dutch companies, 1200 Bay Street in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood will be Herzog & de Meuron's first project in the city and its second in Canada. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

Herzog & de Meuron has been commissioned by Dutch real estate development companies Kroonenberg Geoep and ProWinko to design a mixed-use supertall tower at the northwest corner of Bloor and Bay Streets in Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood.

The glass-encased, ultra-slender 87-story skyscraper will be the first building to be designed in Canada’s most populous city by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss firm. (Toronto-based Quadrangle is serving as project architect.) If completed as proposed today, the tower—at 1,063 feet—would stand as the tallest residential building in Canada, although at least one slightly lankier planned project is a bit further ahead in the development process. The project also slightly edges out a Hariri Pontarini Architects-designed supertall, also planned for Toronto, announced earlier this year.

Kroonenberg Geoep and ProWinko purchased the parcel at 1200 Bay Street, currently the site of a 1960s-era commercial mid-rise,  in 2016 for $86.75 million. Speaking to Bisnow shortly after the sale, Jordan Karp, senior vice president of Paracom Realty Corp., mentioned at the time that the two developers were aiming to transform the site  into a top office property for the upscale retail-heavy Mink Mile section of Yorkville, which is centered on Bloor Street.

rendering of a planned supertall in toronto
A southwest view of 1200 Bay, a planned supertall for Toronto. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

That approach, however, has apparently shifted as Herzog & de Meuron’s design appears to be primarily residential. Per a media release, the toothpick-thin tower’s bottom sixteen floors will be dedicated to offices and retail space. Above this will be 332 condominium units, ranging from one-bedrooms to multi-level penthouses, spread across 64 floors accessible by a quartet of dedicated elevators through a triple-height private lobby on Bloor Street. A “private amenities level” will provide a buffer between the lower commercial floors and the residential floors above. The top three floors will be home to a sky lounge, restaurant, and rentable event spaces, all of which will no doubt come equipped with stunning panoramic views.

“Providing diversity in the proposed program is an important component of the building’s approach to sustainability and enhancing the vibrancy of the local community,” reads the announcement, noting that the residential floors will be “characterized by generous daylight through the floor-to-ceiling operable windows which provide natural ventilation.”

Ground-floor view of a thin glass-clad tower
1200 Bay Street’s first 16 floors will be dedicated to commercial space with 64 levels of residential above that. (Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron)

“The proposal is a layered expression of the vertical structural elements, interior glazing (thermal envelope), exterior timber roller shades and an outer layer of transparent, open-jointed glass,” the announcement goes on to explain. “The effect is a building which at times appears transparent and expressive—revealing the scale and activity within the building; and at other times, the reflective outer layer of glass gives the building an abstract quality, emphasizing its dramatic proportion.”

While this is the second Toronto project to be developed by ProWinko, it’s the first for Kroonenberg Groep. “This is an iconic block in the neighbourhood and Toronto at large. We have an opportunity to deliver a project that sets a new benchmark for design and strives to give something back to the city,” said Lesley Bamberger, owner of the latter company.

Meanwhile, four provinces over in British Columbia, Herzog & de Meuron is also heading up the revamp of the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is the firm’s first project in Canada.