For those who love light, the increasing availability of condominium residences with crisp clean lines and expansive floor to ceiling windows are a much-welcome relief from the traditional brick facades with small windows endemic to Toronto condominiums dating fifteen to twenty-five years ago. Even a decade ago when condominiums were becoming more cutting-edge contemporary, they never successfully executed the strong linear scale and rhythm rooted in the International Style of the Modernist Architecture Movement.
This evolution in contemporary housing has been a long time coming, given the pioneering masters of Modern Architecture, such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier were developing this new architectural style in the 1920's and 1930's. Subscribing to extreme clarity and simplicity, and the use of modern materials such as industrial steel, concrete slab and plate glass, the philosophy was to create an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order that would result in expansive free-flowing open interior space. Rooted in a rational approach of exacting proportion and scale to guide the creative process of architectural design, and known for the aphorism "Less Is More", this style blossomed in commercial architecture. In Toronto, the Toronto-Dominion Centre, a cluster of six towers and a pavilion covered in bronze-tinted glass and black painted steel, dating from 1967 to 1991, best exemplifies this Style.
Image courtesy of Cadillac Fairview
Only recently are we seeing the construction of truly beautiful residential edifices that pay homage to the International Style. There's streamlined 'Sp!re' on the corner of Church and Adelaide Streets developed by Context (2007), Cresford Development's just-completed and very elegant 'Casa Condominio' located at 33 Charles Street East (one of my newest listings that you can learn more about it by clicking here), and currently under construction is 'X', the sophisticated 44 storey tower located at Charles East and Jarvis developed by Great Gulf Homes.
As much as I love vintage I love modern, with the caveat they're thoughtfully well-executed. These new condos are a welcome respite from the abundant residential banality which plagues our City. To the developers, I applaud them for making exceptional classic contemporary architecture accessible to Torontonians. And for residents, embrace the light, for it creates a happier dwell.