Toronto Life | April 03, 2023
A spa with a room that produces snow. Ice baths for cold plunges. Saunas and meditation gardens. A movie theatre that doubles as a virtual reality experience. A spiritual concierge who connects residents with healers and therapists.
These types of luxe amenities reflect a change in what homeowners expect from their residences, and the world’s most high-end developments are set to meet their elevated demands.
Differences in expectations of luxury have been driven by the pandemic, which caused many people to re-examine how they want to live. But it’s also been influenced by fast-paced innovations in smart home and security tech.
“The pandemic increased the importance of home,” says Sam Mizrahi, the award-winning developer behind The One at Yonge and Bloor in Toronto. “Comfort in the home is not just about the architecture and the living space, but about the conveniences and benefits that are at your fingertips. We are constantly researching advances in home technology and the needs of our customers.”
Interest in residential real estate with a focus on wellness is rising rapidly, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a non-profit wellness group. Studies show that Canada’s wellness real estate sector saw a massive 240 per cent increase in growth from 2017 to 2021.
“The pandemic made clear that where you live and your environment have an impact on your well-being,” says Beth McGroarty, research director at the Global Wellness Institute. She says wellness amenities are much more holistic, and emphasize emotional and spiritual health.
The One, which will be the tallest building in Canada, put emphasis on its connection to nature from the outset, incorporating natural elements into its design that have proven to enhance physical and emotional well-being. For example, hospital patients who have views of green spaces heal faster, according to ground-breaking research by environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich.
Neuroimmunologist Esther Sternberg notes in her book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being how places can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace. Her conclusion? Our surroundings have the power to heal us.
The One’s architectural firm, Foster + Partners, is globally recognized for its work in biophilic design. The interplay between nature and the tower’s interior can be seen in the light that streams in through sheer floor-to-ceiling walls, with minimal obstructing pillars. The supertall hybrid structure places much of the support for the tower on the trusses that climb the exterior like golden vines, and creates an interesting graphic pattern which can be seen whether inside or out.
Windows opening to the exterior engage the senses. Peaceful views, high above the city with views across Lake Ontario, soothe the soul. An expansive rooftop garden terrace invites residents to wander through a lush, layered landscape with trees, flowers and shrubs. An oasis draws birds and butterflies, and seating nooks allow for quiet moments of mediation or private conversations. And an infinity pool stretches across the width of its southern edge.
On-site services that save time and effort are very important to condo buyers today, reports Milton Pedraza of the Luxury Institute. He says emotionally intelligent luxury that addresses the psychological needs of residents is in high demand. Many homeowners don’t want to leave their building to get what they need if they don’t have to.
In addition to 24/7 concierge service in the Sky Lobby and valet parking, Mizrahi Developments has ensured that every need is looked after within The One. Best-in-class restaurants take up one full floor. Residents can have meals delivered anywhere in the building: to the garden terrace, by the pool or their own homes.
A wellness centre includes the latest in gym equipment, yoga, meditation and massage rooms. Private, club-like event rooms are each designed with a different aesthetic, creating intimate spaces for parties, business presentations and casual gatherings.
“I think condominium amenities will continue to change and evolve. Homeowners value their homes,” says Mizrahi. “They want them to be sanctuaries that help restore them after a busy day. We see it as our job to listen and respond.”
An iconic superstructure offering world-class amenities
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