Sometimes a client will LOVE everything about her home but just needs a little more space! Case in point, my buyer had been living in her first condominium purchase near St. Lawrence Market since 2007. She loved her concrete 'n cool loft but decided she would really like a little more space + a balcony. Solution? Move seven floors higher in the very same building!
My client and I adore MoZo, the moniker for Modern Living Zone, which was developed by Context Developments and designed by Architects Alliance. Completed in 2004, the fifteen-floor building contains 207 suites ranging from 550 square feet to well over 2000 square feet. Condominium amenities include an exercise room, recreation room, and 24 hour concierge. The complex is well managed and well tended, with the main lobby and common corridors recently redone. Located just east of the central business district, the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood boasts a wonderful patina and human scale streetscape dating from the 1860’s. For those in the know, this vintage pocket of architecturally resplendent buildings with contemporary mid-rise infill developments provides an engaging street life with the very best of urban amenities.
Architecturally, the success and popularity of MoZo has been a function of good design principles and its seamless integration with the original urban fabric. Using concrete slab construction, the narrow floor plate allows for a skip-stop elevator system and through units. The skip-stop system, pioneered by Le Corbusier in his Unité d’Habitation projects, not only allowed for the creation of through units but also reduced the amount of circulation space necessary, creating significant efficiencies in a building’s net-to-gross floor ratio. This basic strategy used by Architect’s Alliance ultimately contributes to making this condominium special, and keeps the monthly common fees reasonable.
In its design program, Architects Alliance took visual cues and references from the existing neighbourhood and reinterpreted it in the condominium’s facade. Surrounded by 19th century warehouse buildings, the architects borrowed the neighbours’ material palettes of masonry and patterns of fenestration to harmonize the lower, street-related floors. Above, and on the west face where the main lobby is, the building is clad in a more transparent skin of glass and metal, representative of the Modernist tradition of maximizing access to light, air and view while echoing the polished transparent edifices of the financial district. The design is innovative, forward looking and dramatic. In September 2003 the Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume called MoZo ‘one of the most beautiful buildings in Toronto’.
My client preferred the west exposure where she had been situated. It is the most quiet side of the building with a treed courtyard sight-line, and the upper levels on this side have cantilevered balconies which are generous in size. Her third-floor 582 square feet was functional, well-designed space but it just wasn't enough, especially given her super nice beau was spending more time at her place. So when a tenth floor unit came available with a balcony (and a 6x10 foot locker!) she made the leap, climbing up the property ladder (well, taking an elevator!) to get a sun-drenched crisp clean space with more generous proportions of around 750sf. It turned out to be the right move. That extra square footage was just right for the lucky beau to move in!
Isn't this gorgeous?
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~ Steven and the urbaneer team