Toronto Life | June 07, 2022
It’s one thing to imagine a tower of artistic and structural innovation; it’s quite another to build it.
The fact that The One will be the tallest building in Canada, rising to at least 85 storeys, is made more complex by its location at the country’s busiest intersection. More than 50,000 pedestrians and 30,000-plus vehicles pass through the intersection of Yonge and Bloor in midtown Toronto in a 24-hour period.
“This is one of the most challenging logistical projects,” says Jeff Murva, director of project management at Mizrahi Developments. “We have limited points of access for people and material, and of course, safety is always most important. Our team is building using advanced state-of-the-art construction methods that are the first for any tall residential building in Canada.”
Unprecedented for its startling architecture — a hybrid exoskeleton/super structure — The One was designed by Foster + Partners, a renowned creative practice that has reshaped the skylines of many of the world’s great cities. An exoskeleton design puts much of the tower’s support structure on the exterior rather than on the interior so sunlight can penetrate the space with a minimum of obstructing columns. Each residence enjoys expansive floor-to-ceiling glass walls in parts of its perimeter, allowing homeowners to perch on the edge of the bustling city below.
Bronze trusses crisscross on the exterior glass skin forming a distinctive graphic pattern as they climb up the tower. During the design process, Foster + Partners’ architects painstakingly considered the hue of the trusses so they would reflect light at all times of day with a beautiful subtle shine.
The glass itself was also carefully considered. Glass panes in typical skyscrapers are four millimetres thick. But nothing is typical in The One. The glass is six millimetres thick, an enhanced specification that removes any distortion, giving the appearance of a perfectly flat, mirror-like surface.
Destined to become not only a landmark in the city but also a legend of beauty and innovation, The One will be a shimmering spire exuding the spirit of North America’s fourth largest city. More than 80 per cent sold, the tower features extraordinary penthouses that can be custom designed with maximum flexibility, encompassing as much square footage as desired and situated on multiple levels with internal spiral staircases and private elevators. There are also private outdoor living spaces that can include a lap pool, dining area and urban garden.
The key technology that facilitates the construction is the Otis SkyBuild, a self-climbing lift system that grows with the building. Developed for what Otis calls a “taller, faster, smarter world,” the technology has been used in distinctive skyscrapers in many cities including Paris, Milan and New York but only once before in Canada. Most highrise construction projects employ an external hoist for workers and materials, a system that can lead to work stoppages when hampered by wind and adverse weather.
The Otis SkyBuild prioritizes safety for workers as well as pedestrians and traffic below. It allows for efficient transportation up and down the tower in all seasons, facilitating a faster build. The large glass panes, which can be jostled by strong winds, are safely transported to the top and installed behind an enclosed platform that shrouds four floors at a time on all sides of the building.
To maximize efficiency, the SkyBuild elevator converts to a SkyRise tech-smart elevator system for permanent use, once construction is complete.
It’s a tall order to construct such a sculptural work of art high above the busiest crossing in Canada. But Mizrahi Developments researched and sourced the most innovative construction technology in the world in order to complete The One efficiently and safely. “This project is unlike any other building in the Toronto market,” says Murva.
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