Bjarke Ingels' Toronto Condo Complex Is Getting Worldwide Attention

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Renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is bringing his brand of eye-catching modernism to Toronto, with a new condo complex on King Street West that promises to change the face of the city.

Ingels’ design calls for a 500-unit condo complex composed of 12 foot-by-12 foot cubicles in an arrangement that makes them look “pixelated.” The aim is to elicit the feel of a “Mediterranean mountain town,” as Ingels told the Globe and Mail.

bjarke ingels condo toronto

The building is designed to integrate with the immediate community — a dense area of restaurants and nightlife. At the entrances, the building rises up from the ground, allowing pedestrians to walk underneath it, potentially all the way to the next city block.

bjarke ingels toronto condo

In the few days since Ingels released some preliminary images, the as-yet unnamed complex has gotten the attention of architecture and design blogs — not surprising, given the architect’s track record of award-winning designs.

“The scale of the project is so broken down that it almost looks like a bundle of homes rather than a big new building,” Ingels told the Globe.

bjarke ingels group

This isn’t Ingels’ first project in Canada. He’s the architect behind Vancouver House, a planned condo tower that will rise at the base of the city’s Granville Bridge. The building won the World Architecture Festival’s best future residential project award in 2015.

vancouver house
Vancouver House, a planned condo complex next to the Granville Street Bridge.

Ingels also designed the Telus Sky Tower, a 750,000-square-foot office tower in Calgary that broke ground last year. Given the problems in Calgary’s office market these days, this building is likely to face challenges in its early days.

telus sky tower
A design for the Telus Sky Tower in Calgary.

Ingels will be giving a talk in Toronto this week on the theme of “how architecture can create communities.” His own view of Toronto architecture seems to be that it’s not particularly diverse for a city of such cultural diversity.

“People are different, and so places to live and neighbourhoods should be different…. It would be sad if the most diverse city in the world had the most homogenous real estate.”

Ingels' Toronto condo design is being built for Allied Properties and Westbank Developments, which last year partnered to develop the site at 489-539 King Street West.

"We’ll ... be able to ensure that the site makes an optimal contribution to King & Spadina, one of Toronto’s most extraordinary downtown neighbourhoods,” Allied Properties CEO Michael Emory said at the time.

What do you think of Bjarke Ingels' design for Toronto's King Street? Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments below.

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