Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume is reviving his condo critiques, exclusively for

400 WellingtonDeveloper: Sorbara GroupArchitect: SMVCompletion: 2012Address: 400 Wellington St. W.

Grade: A

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As downtown condos go, 400 Wellington Street West is positively cozy. Set back from the sidewalk on the north side of the road, this mid-rise project manages to feel urban yet entirely domestic.

This balancing act is achieved through the use of masonry facades and balconies that make it clear this is not just another office building.

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Best of all, perhaps, is how the structure has been fitted into an awkward site carved out of space defined on every side by existing buildings. The street grid dominates, but there's also a secondary system of pedestrian pathways and small parking lots that bring the site down to human scale.

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Though minimal, the series of concrete planters in front of the building go a long way to add a sense that not every square inch has to contribute to the bottom line.
It's far from huge but it gives just enough to the street to make passers-by exhale in pleasure. The addition of businesses on the laneway of the west side enhances the urban flavour of the building. It also helps ensure the condo is fully integrated into the cityscape.

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