Toronto – 231 Fort York Boulevard

The building I stayed in at 231 Fort York Boulevard is a thoroughly modern 28-story high rise, composed of glass and steel. At street level, however, the architects softened the impact with a still thoroughly modern, but decidedly more organic, approach. Twisting ribbons of blackened steel, undulating concrete, and dense vegetation combine to give it an almost Antoni Gaudi feel.

A loveseat style bench, formed out of an undulation in the concrete:

Bench
Bench

A canopy formed out of steel ribbons and the branches of trees shade another larger seating area:

Arbor
Arbor

The building entrance is a riot of steel ribbons, twisted into organic shapes that bring to mind ocean waves and seashells:

Entrance
Entrance

As an architectural critic, I question the use of these shapes because they really don’t relate to the building at all – they’re found only on the street side, and only at street level. The courtyard entrance where vehicle drop-off and pickup occurs has nothing at all like this, and nowhere else at any higher level is this style repeated. None of the upper balconies have ribbon-like railings, just typical glass and steel flat planes.

As a pedestrian, though, I’m quite pleased that it exists – it certainly makes the sidewalk level more interesting and in the summertime, more pleasant!

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