Love ‘em or hate ‘em, condominium-living is a lifestyle many Canadians are embracing. In urban centres like Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, it seems there are new condo towers popping up on the skyline every day. To critics, many of the condominium buildings are inefficient towers which will not stand the test of time or design. There are some gems, however, which are inspirational testaments to the power of innovation and imagination. Here’s a look at eight special condominium buildings.
What: Named after a nearby park, Chokolit, the former site of a Purdy’s chocolate factory has three spacious homes with nearly 3,000 square feet designed with a hip modernist style. The condo features massive roof decks with breathtaking mountain and city views, 12 to 30 foot ceilings, two bedrooms, natural light throughout, polished concrete floors and 15 foot skylights.
Who: Designed by Arthur Erickson, a Canadian born legend and architect.
Availability:On the market
How much: There are only three units, so if you want to know, you’ll have to call. Bet on seven figures for sure.
What: Five towers, up to 56 stories high with a ‘twisted design’ that some say are evocative of Marilyn Munroe’s hips. The residential towers are the tallest of any of their kind in a suburban city — clearly that doesn’t included downtown areas of major cities.
Who: The design of Chinese architect Yansong Ma — of the MAD office — who was selected from a group of finalists in a design competition.
Availability: The first towers were started in 2007 and the last two were finished in 2011. There are units currently on the market.
How much: Roughly $400 a square foot and up depending on view and floor.
What: A 36-storey tower featuring 138 residential suites with office and retail units on the first 14 floors. Four curved bays are functional as well as esthetic, cutting down on the wind tunnel effect. The key, however, is the obsessive attention to interior design which is both functional, minimalist and efficient with ultra high-quality materials and master class workmanship.
Who: Designed by the U.K. firm Foster and Partners and built by Bosa Partners of Vancouver.
Availability: The units are open for occupancy but have sold out.
How much: Starting at about a $1 million and rising to about $1.5 million. Since all the units have sold out, you’ll have to take your chances on the resale market.
What: Eschewing the ceramic wall which has curtained off most of Toronto from a view of Lake Ontario, Pier 27 offers two modest towers, four and 12 storeys high with a fabulously funky cantilevered bridge spanning them. There are a whopping 705 units starting at just under 700 square feet. Three more towers will be added to bring the number of units to 4,000. Hope everyone doesn’t take their condo pups for a walk at the same time. It’ll be stoop and scoop chaos.
Who: Peter Clewes Architects with Cityzen Developments and Fernbrook Homes.
How much: A mere $600 a square foot and up will get you started. That’s $600,000 for a 1,000 square foot unit, depending on what floor and view.
The L Tower
What: A dramatic 58-storey tower rising above the Sony Centre in the heart of the city. As a building, it’s impressive from the outside. Inside you’ll find 600 units ranging from about 500 sq. feet to 2000 sq. ft. It has its own cinema, spa, saunas, lap pool, gym and more.
Who: Another project from Fernbrook, Cityzen Builder and Castlepoint. These guys just keep showing up on innovative projects.
Availability: Slated for occupancy in late fall.
How much: It’s pricey at $800 a square foot to $1,300 a square foot depending on the floor, view and configuration.
What: Twin green-hued towers which look as though they are delaminating from the top down. It has sort of an organic look, with the exterior seemingly out of synch and uneven like a tree trunk. The overall effect, however, is very positive. There are 565 units with condo retail space on the first 14 floors.
Who: This is an amazing comeback story for Bazis, the builder which is based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and has three projects on the go in Toronto. Not so long ago, due to circumstances beyond their control relating to the collapse of a major private bank in the 2008 meltdown, they lost control of their key project at One Bloor East and teetered at the edge of oblivion. With some help, however, they pulled it together and are back, stronger and better than before.
Availability: Not clear since construction seems to have been delayed.
How much: Prices are around $500+ a square foot depending on floor, view and configuration.
What: A wild design which starts with a triangle-like structure at the base and then ends in a rectangle rising to the top. The wacky design features 600 residential units at approximately 150 metres high, making it the fourth highest tower on the Vancouver skyline.
Who: Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is the one of the hottest architects in the world and his company BIG has partnered with developer Ian Gillespie.
Availability: It’s still very much in the proposal and approvals processes.
How much: The investment for the building is $200 million but there’s no saying how that is going to translate into a per square footage cost.
What: A 24 story glass box in charcoal and reds is an homage to the modernist Dutch painter Piet Mondrian whose experimentations in cubism produced a unique style he called Neo-Platicism. The style has been described as white with an imposed grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colours. The condo in his name also has a very cool rooftop swimming pool. Residences start from the sixth floor up.
Who: The Urban Capital Property Group.
Availability: It’s up and running and is 100 per cent sold but resales and rentals are on the market.
How much: Units started at $375,000 when it was in the construction phase and a 20th floor two bedroom unit with balcony was recently listed for $409,000.