Seventy5 Portland was completed in January 2011 and is an innovative modern gem, embracing the indigenous culture of this lively Toronto neighbourhood. The developer sought to create a unique statement with the vibrant façade of the building, which distinguishes the design along with the glass-fronted, cantilevered balconies suspended intimately over the street. The exterior of the building features smooth concrete alongside clear glazing within anodised aluminium frames. The site plan was designed in a unique U-shape that encompasses a serene courtyard and complements the Portland streetscape.
The eleven-storey structure is characterised by offset elements. This is accentuated by soaring concrete ceilings in two-storey units, floor-to-ceiling glass, generous balconies and terraces, which give the structure a bold and dramatic presence and allow for an open-air lifestyle within a bustling setting. The projecting fins also serve to frame neighbourhood views and make the exterior balconies appear enclosed. A flash of yellow, the only concession to colour, is emblazoned over the front entrance and repeated again within the front entrance hall.
Designed as a series of big architectural gestures, this engaging eleven-storey building presents a pattern of boxes within boxes. The geometry of the façade enlivens a building type that has frequently been reinterpreted. In this case, the design is formed by the balconies. The design required a material that could conform to the complex shapes of balconies and sunshades. The sculptural and monolithic nature of cast-in-place concrete was the perfect material to express the complexity of the façade. A material was required that would be both structural and architectural, while at the same time lending an elegance to the composition.
The client’s requirements were to maximise residential space within the tight urban site. This was achieved by means of the U-shaped courtyard concept that was wrapped around three sides and opened up views towards the Toronto downtown skyline. The two wings were very narrow, but this resulted in units that had twice the linear length of glazing compared to a standard residential unit. We had considerable freedom with the design because of the two-storey units with a playful and open aspect. The units of different sizes all feature an open design and exposed concrete interiors.
The playful and animated west façade of the building has become an iconic landmark in the neighbourhood.