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

Developer: Reserve Properties

Architect: Graziani + Corazza

Address: 501 St. Clair Ave. W.

Completed: 2018

Grade: C+

The thing to remember about St. Clair Ave., west of Bathurst, is that it’s a street in transition. And though the transformation is well underway, it’s far from over.

A number of big moves have happened - most notably, Wychwood Barns - but much remains to be done. That’s another reason why the condos popping up now have a special duty to look ahead, to anticipate what the neighbourhood will become.

Sadly, the projects that have appeared at that important intersection are destined to be left behind by the passage of time.

READ: Welcome To Dana’s Toronto ⁠— Discover St. Clair Ave. West

The newer of the two mid-rise towers at St. Clair and Bathurst, Rise Condos, does everything it should but somehow fails to elevate the architectural tone of a precinct that desperately needs a lift.

There isn't anything wrong with the building, per se. But as designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, Rise is just a bit too heavily rooted in the trends and temper of the times.

There’s nothing about this condo that isn’t instantly familiar. This is something we too often encounter in contemporary Toronto architecture. We feel like we’ve been here before.

On the other hand, at 23 storeys, the new structure fits comfortably within the context of the intersection. The L-shaped building conceals much of its bulk behind a façade of glass and steel. And with sidewalk level retail, Rise does do its bit for the streetscape.

Time will tell, but this stretch of St. Clair, more lively than lovely, appears to have a bright future.

Hume With a View