Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties unveil design plans for untitled in Toronto
Natural elements, parametric design and universal spaces define two-tower project at Yonge and Eglinton
After announcing an unprecedented collaboration with Pharrell Williams earlier this fall, Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties have released design and development plans for untitled, at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto. The designs are the result of a multi-stage process that saw Reserve and Westdale collaborating with Williams, alongside architects from IBI Group and designers from U31, to realize a collective vision for the project.
A two-tower residential development with a shared podium, untitled will contain 751 condominium suites ranging from studios to three bedrooms as well as 32,000 square feet of amenity space. As part of the block master-plan, the development team will also be building a separate 413-unit purpose-built rental building adjacent to untitled, along with a new public park. The rental building will contain 200 affordable housing units, 165 mid-range units, and 49 market units, delivering a range of housing options.
The seed for untitled’s architecture is rooted in lead architect Mansoor Kazerouni of IBI Group’s cultural background. Kazerouni introduced the concept of a jugalbandi, a performance in Indian classical music featuring an intricate duet between two solo musicians. The term translates to mean entwined twins and for Kazerouni, a jugalbandi informed how his work could entwine with sound waves from one of Pharrell’s songs.
Using parametric design, the sculpted, fluid form of the balconies follows the wave pattern of Pharrell’s hit song Gust of Wind, articulating the building as a visual abstraction of music.
“We arrived at the concept fairly early in the process and worked with Pharrell to select a song that really meant something to him and could help bring this idea to life. There is a sophisticated, elemental feel to the building, which is why Gust of Wind works so well,” explains Kazerouni. “Once we had the song, there was a lot of testing and iterating to find the right notes that would produce the most fluidity. What’s cool is as you go around the building, no two faces are the same. They all represent different moments from Gust of Wind.”
A natural stone podium follows the same rhythmic pattern of the tower, anchoring the building on the site. In the courtyard, a Japanese maple tree grows out of a slate, rock water feature, offering a pop of colour framed against the dark stone backdrop.
Interior spaces, helmed by Kelly Cray of U31, aimed to articulate notions of universality throughout the common areas, amenities and suites. Rather than projecting a lifestyle onto the residents, the goal was for each individual space to serve as a backdrop to the user’s own experience. The result is an exploration of the interplay between nature, essentialism and Japanese inspired minimalism using a palette of plants, water, light and form.
“There was a real evolution to the process working with Pharrell and the whole team, from where we started with the interiors and where we ended up,” says Cray. “The palette is fairly unique in how it emphasizes darker tones balanced with natural materials. They combine to create these really compelling environments. Everything is engineered towards supporting the function of the room. When we transition into the gym or the rec room, the palette shifts to brighter tones in specific spaces to encourage activity and play.”
In the lobby, a deep charcoal stone used on the floor wraps up along the walls creating a seamless experience. A cascading water feature adds movement to one’s journey, extending through the arrival hall to the concierge. The flow of water that welcomes residents is purposefully intended to evoke feelings of energy and movement when you first step into the building; an experience that is continued as a memory in surrounding spaces.
An extensive amenity program extends throughout the building’s ground floor and onto the upper levels, with a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that include a co-working garden lounge, screening room, active fitness centre, kids club, a rec room, social lounge and private dining with a sake tasting area, that flow out to the rooftop terraces.
A wellness centre, featuring a spa and indoor-outdoor swimming pool round-out the offering with expansive floor to ceiling glass screens separating the two sides of the pool. Views through the screens frame a dramatic, thirty-foot water feature that flows into the far end of the pool.
“To me, the key elements were water and space. With water moving in the building the way it does, there's this continuous flow of motion that's recharging to people. Certain places just hit us as humans, reminding us that we're alive,” says Williams.