Hariri Pontarini Architects worked in close collaboration with St. Thomas Commercial Developments Inc. to design 7 St. Thomas, a building that harmonizes retail and commercial design through an inventive interplay of form and light, blending Victorian and contemporary materials to create a unified work. Six heritage townhouses are integrated into a three-storey podium, with a sinuous six-storey tower above. The development houses retail at ground level and condominium office spaces throughout, blending high design, ecological responsibility, and civic enhancement.
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“We see this project as representative of the quality we see globally, in cities such as London and New York, but built locally”, stated David Pontarini, Founding Partner of Hariri Pontarini Architects. “It is a testament to the willingness of Patrick Quigley, President of St. Thomas Commercial Developments, to push the City and the boundaries of design in Toronto.”
Located around the corner from the busy Bay/Bloor intersection at the corner of Sultan and St. Thomas Streets, the design was born from a desire to seamlessly integrate into the existing fabric of the neighbourhood and to contribute to the urban environment.
“It’s such a difficult process with the city,” Quigley explains. “But you end up with a much better project when you take contextual issues into consideration.”
The building peels back from neighbouring context to preserve the light and views of existing residential buildings. A piazza-like square at the corner of St. Thomas and along Sultan Streets form a public amenity in the densely built area.
The podium wraps around and incorporates the heritage buildings, elegantly balancing the proportions and using glass and stone to contrast and enhance the existing façades. The tower is wrapped in an undulating fritted glass veil. Stepping back from the Victorian base, the tower appears to float above.
The heritage façades of the six row houses built in 1880 were meticulously restored by ERA Architects, returning the original charm to the masonry, windows, trim, dormers and sloped roofs. The entrances of the street oriented retail spaces were modified for inclusive accessibility while preserving the heritage character of the buildings. Inside the reconstructed town homes have been maintained as individual office suites, in order to preserve the quality of space within old homes and break-up the lower levels into smaller multi-level commercial suites creating a fine-grained street-level experience.
7 St. Thomas is amongst the first of its kind in Toronto, offering exclusive commercial ownership. Common shared elements are refined and sophisticated. A marble-clad lobby, designed by Studio Munge, with a stark white pallet and graphic black chrome accents expresses the horizontal fluidity of the architecture through vertical lacquered panels, unifying in their wave-like motion and modernity. A board room with state of the art presentation technology and washrooms on each floor are common areas for the suite owners to share. The design allows for size adaptable suites to accommodate a wide array of businesses.
The building contributes to the urban environment through various features including high performance curtain wall with a ceramic frit that reduces thermal transmission, large capacity rain cisterns which feed back into the building’s grey-water system, and water-efficient green-roof terraces on the third and ninth floors. Capitalizing on its position in the midst of a growing residential neighbourhood, the close proximity to multiple transit lines and high acceptance of walking and cycling make 7 St. Thomas a functionally integrated development and model for urban sustainability.
Within Toronto’s chic Yorkville neighbourhood, 7 St. Thomas’ strikingly modern architectural design revolutionizes the traditional notions of commercial and residential real estate. In curving and horizontal fluidity, a progressive exterior glass wall façade expands across all nine floors influencing Studio Munge’s vision for the ultra-modern interiors.
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Expectations of intimidating dark edged spaces are redefined by an empowering white colour scheme and dazzling graphic black chrome accents. An exclusive sophistication shines through the spectacular white marble flooring which extends onto the walls, inspiring guests as they step into the building. The expressive lobby features a captivating custom wall treatment formed by vertical white lacquer panels that wind and curl in a wave-like motion. Unifying a sense of calm and revitalization, 7. St. Thomas offers a luxurious escape into modernity.
For the St Thomas project Guardian Glass managed to realize a curtain wall that is curved into convex and concave elevations while still maintaining its strong insulating qualities. The result creates a fascinating contrast between the red victorian bricks and the sleek undulating glass facade. The glass was manufactured by Woodbridge, coated with SunGuard® SuperNeutral® 68 and bent by Standard Bent Glass.
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Guardian Glass SunGuard® coating on low-iron bent and flat glass helped Hariri Pontarini Architects and the building team create an undulating modern glass tower while still meeting performance requirements. The truly unique structure is built on top of six historical Victorian townhome facades that were original structures on the building site.
In addition to building six stories over the original structures on a relatively congested job site, the building design called for curved, insulating glass installed in convex and concave elevations. The IGUs would incorporate a high performance, low-E coating on tempered and/or heat strengthened glass that included white frit lines that created a gradient fade. This design created a number of details that had to be addressed by Standard Bent Glass, the independent Guardian Select® fabricator that worked on the project, including:
· High performance, low-E coatings can only be fabricated on the concave surface of bent glass.
· Ceramic frit patterns can only be coated on the concave surface of bent glass.
· The building elevation features units viewed from both convex and concave.
· To best feature the white decorative frit, the glass lite with the frit should be in front of the lite with the high-performance, low-E coating, and as close as possible to the first surface.
Hariri Pontarini designed this nine-story office tower to make a statement in its upscale neighborhood. The renovated historical structures anchoring the site were intended to stand in sharp contrast to the glass curtain wall rising above.
The architect specified a high performance, low-E Guardian SunGuard® coating on low-iron glass to ensure …
· Energy performance criteria would be met.
The glass would provide clear views for occupants, while also ensuring the white frit pattern would give the undulating glass a further contemporary edge
Independent Glazier Connection™ member BVGlazing brought in Standard Bent Glass to complete the bent insulating glass units anchored by Guardian Glass high performance low-E SunGuard® SuperNeutral® 68 coating on low-iron glass. Independent Guardian Select® fabricator Trulite Glass and Aluminum Solutions – Woodbridge fabricated the flat insulating glass units with SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 coating on low-iron glass.
Guardian SunGuard coated glass gives the project high visible light transmission while helping to manage solar heat gain. The low-iron substrate from Guardian eliminates the green tint seen with standard float glass, meaning that occupants have clear views and the white frit stands out with maximum clarity.
Bobby Chestnut, sales manager of Standard Bent Glass’ decorative division, was working closely with Guardian Glass Territory Sales Manager Jeff Emerich and recognized early what Guardian SunGuard coated glass would be needed for the complexity of the cylindrical bends and the frit.
“We’ve been bending SunGuard coated glass for years,” Chestnut explains. “The comfort level is there, no matter the radius or the size. We’ve been doing this long enough that we know which coating is going to deliver the best performance and aesthetic.”
Emerich ran the numbers, and the team met many times to review mockups, as well as test and confirm the glass makeup.
This project was the first time Standard Bent Glass had executed direct to glass (DTG) printing, and the company needed to ensure all the elements in the unit were going to perform. BVGlazing created unitized systems to simplify installation in a congested job site.
“The contrast between the solidity of the red brick heritage houses below with the translucent permeability of the glass tower – which steps back and appears to float above the Victorian frontages – highlights both typologies,” explains David Pontarini, Hariri Pontarini founding partner. “The curved white glass curtain wall affords unobstructed views for the upper levels.”
SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 coating on low-iron glass ensured that Standard Bent Glass would be able to check off all the requirements for a convex and a concave bend with the following makeups:
· Convex View: White gradient frit on the No. 2 Surface (Concave) and Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 coating on low-iron glass on the No. 4 Surface (Concave)
· Concave View: White gradient frit on the No. 3 Surface (Concave) and Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 coating on low-iron glass on the No. 5 Surface (Concave)
“This was great teamwork to deliver a unique, high-performing curtain wall,” says Emerich. “Guardian Glass was pleased to be part of a project that puts on display the possibilities of bending high performance low-E glass. The stunning results speak for themselves.”
The building contributes to the urban environment through various features, including its high performance curtain wall. Guardian SunGuard coated glass brings value to the building by regulating solar heat gain without obstructing the view, which helps the HVAC system manage energy output. The project is targeting LEED® Gold Certification.
Brian Schulz is marketing manager, commercial for Guardian Glass North America. He is a licensed architect with over 20 years of experience in the building design and construction industry. The Guardian SunGuard® coated glass product line for commercial applications offers excellent solar control and a wide variety of colors and performance levels. SunGuard coated glass products provide innovative, leading solutions for appearance, economics and energy efficiency, and are available through an international network of independent Guardian Select® fabricators. For more information, visit guardian.com/commercial.