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One Crane Remains for Artists’ Alley’s Three Towers

A short walk from St Patrick station on University Line 1, Lanterra Developments‘ ambitious Artists’ Alley development is taking form. Since UrbanToronto’s previous update last summer, the construction site at 234 Simcoe Street has progressed, will all towers now topped off and two out of three cranes that were in use now gone. Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the visually distinct towers rise to 17, 35, and 39 storeys in the heart of Downtown Toronto.

Looking west to Artists’ Alley, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects for Lanterra Developments

In a January, 2024 snapshot looking southwest, below, the tallest 39-storey tower’s completed podium is enveloped in uniform grey precast concrete panels that contrast with the dark, sleek aluminum cladding of the tower levels above. The transition from the podium to the tower features a “reveal” — a three-storey space eventually to boast a decorative V truss system will transition the lower levels with the upper ones on the tower’s south and east elevations. To the left, its 35-storey sibling is seen with its decorative lattice now affixed most of the way up its tower levels.

Looking southwest to the 39-storey (right) and 35-storey (left) towers, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor

Looking southeast from Dundas Street in February, 2024, we take in the north elevation of the tallest tower. Its facade features a rhythm of alternating columns of reflective window glazing and inset balconies. The building’s form is the most conventional among the trio, with a rectilinear silhouette, as the repetition of structural elements like balcony guards and mullions lend a consistent appearance.

The 39-storey tower’s north elevation from Dundas Street, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Johnny Au

Heading south on St Patrick Street, we then turn and face northeast toward the 17-storey building, its cladding and glazing now mostly completed. It is distinguished by a split middle volume with a void between the two portions that introduces negative space into the building’s form, while pushing the southern portion out and creating a pronounced cantilever at the south end. 

The 17-storey tower’s unique arrangement of volumes, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor rdaner

Stepping back for a comprehensive view, construction hoists can still be seen along the 35-storey tower’s west elevation and the 39-storey tower’s south elevation. Meanwhile, a mobile crane nestled under the cantilever of the 17-storey tower, hoists members for the V truss system mentioned above. 

Looking northeast to the three towers of Artists’ Alley, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor ProjectEnd

This month, a ground-level view looking east from St Patrick Street provides a look at the intricate details of the podiums. The shortest tower’s podium features a pattern of precast and window sections that gets lighter as the building rises. In behind to the right, the 35-storey tower’s podium awaits installation of glazing on its office space levels. In the foreground, construction equipment and materials are staged where a new 1,000m² public park is planned, conceived by NAK Design Strategies, as part of Artists’ Alley’s pedestrian-friendly public realm.

A view looking east to podiums and the future park space, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor rdaner

From University Avenue, this northwest view is dominated by the second-tallest tower, its lattice now seven storeys from the top. The lattice is not necessary for structural support, but accentuates the curvilinear form of the tower and its wraparound balconies. A tower crane, the last one on-site, remains perched atop the building until all the lattice members are installed. 

Looking northwest from University Avenue to the 35-storey tower’s lattice-like motif now covering most of the tower, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Johnny Au

Artists’ Alley towers soar to heights of 59.13m, 111.86m, and 121.91m, with the trio collectively set to house 899 residential units, plus retail and a park at grade, and some commercial office space.

Source: Urban Toronto

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