Site Seeing With Hume: The E Condos Get Their Grade
Architects and building designers beware, renowned architecture critic and veteran journalist Christopher Hume is reviving his condo critiques, exclusively for storeys.com.
Developer: Bazis, Metropia, RioCan REIT
Architect: Rosario Varacalli
Address: 8 Eglinton Ave. E.
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The corner of Yonge and Eglinton isn’t what it used to be. Indeed, few Toronto intersections have ever undergone such dramatic change. Until recently it was a busy but unremarkable crossroads. Because it was the northern terminal of the original Yonge Street subway, the corner has been a major transit hub since the 1950s. Back then, buses carried passengers from across North Toronto and beyond to the subway. When the Eglinton Crosstown opens in 2021, the intersection will be busier than ever.
At the same time, Yonge and Eglinton has become a centre of high-rise growth; towers now line both streets for blocks. One of the first of the condos, Quantum, was completed more than a decade ago. It was and is one of the best things to happen to the neighbourhood in years, filling an empty space while enhancing the public realm as well as pedestrian access. Though highly controversial at the time, mostly because of the height, Quantum’s two towers (37 and 52 storeys) now feel thoroughly integrated into the area.
So too do the two E Condos on the northeast corner of Yonge at Eglinton. Though unfinished it’s clear the architecture is uncomfortably trendy, the project has a strong connection to the street. The wide sidewalks and rows of trees on Eglinton will strengthen the intersection enormously. Clad in glass, alternately clear and black, the towers, 38 and 58 storeys) are the tallest yet in this part of the city. Despite their height, they are strangely unobtrusive except from a distance where it doesn’t matter. It’s revealing though that the city permits skyscrapers at this corner but would try to limit height at Eglinton and Bayview to eight storeys. Little wonder planning in Toronto has difficulty being taken seriously.