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WZMH Architects | Bay Adelaide Centre

Architecture © Tom Arban

Similar in scale to the surrounding bank towers, the 51 storey Bay Adelaide Centre Tower, completed in January 2010, is located on the western edge of a development site that occupies 2 city blocks, in the financial core of the City of Toronto. The project contains over 111,000 m² of rentable class-AAA office space and includes over 3,700 m² of below-grade retail space linked to the downtown’s PATH system. The new tower is the first phase of a three tower complex, with an urban plaza at its heart. Over ½ acre in size, the urban plaza, constructed as part of the first phase of the project provides a public amenity suitable for casual enjoyment or major events.

© Tom Arban

Located on Bay Street, the tower is set back from the street to respect the datum created by the cornice lines of historic buildings along the street known as the “Bay Street Canyon”. Contributing to the canyon, the re-constructed facade of the National Building built in 1926, designed by Chapman and Oxley, is seamlessly integrated into the design of the new tower.

© Tom Arban

At the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets the highly transparent main building lobby, with walls clad in classic Statuario marble and Makore wood, engages passersby. At night, the illuminated lobby becomes a “beacon” at the corner of Bay and Adelaide Streets. A significant Public Art installation by lighting artist James Turrell faces Adelaide Street.

© Tom Arban

Below grade, a retail concourse, the “missing link” of the city’s underground path system, completes the route from Union Station to Eaton Centre. A unique glass walkway within the plaza and escalators in the office lobby provide daylight to, and orientation for, the path below.

Legacy Contribution: The project is a modernist building inspired by and paying homage to, the distinctive character of the architecture of Toronto’s Financial Core. More transparent than any other in the downtown, the tower is a pristine glass prism clad in clear vision glass and spandrel panels with ceramic frit. The glazing is supported by four sided structural silicone within a channel surround creating a sense of lightness and delicacy for the building skin.

At the top of the tower the curtain wall extends beyond the roof to become a series of “sails” that create a distinctive silhouette on the city skyline.

© Tom Arban

© Tom Arban

© Tom Arban

The floors and the plaza are clad in a “carpet” of Brazilian Ipanema granite expressing a modernist sensibility for spatial continuity from inside to out.

Respecting the formality of the tower the plaza’s design is simple, comprised of a central lawn framed by planting beds of natural grasses with seating benches and two double rows of Ginko trees.

Contribution to a sustainable development: The largest LEED® Certified Core and Shell Gold high-rise office building to be completed in Ontario, the Bay Adelaide Centre is highly energy efficient and is estimated to have cost savings of 47% as compared to the MNECB.

Business goals: The project provides flexible, efficient, cost effective space to meet the needs of a variety of tenant types. Strategies have also been implemented in the design to provide a more secure working environment. Sustainable energy conservation measures will reduce operating costs for tenants.

Location: 333 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Client name: Brookfield Properties
Architects: WZMH Architects
Architect team members: Carl Blanchaer, Jay Bigelow, Robert Sampson, Nicola Casciato, Paul Brown, Arnold Zaragoza, Bill Brown, Janet Nowakowski, Len Abelman, Mike Lukachko, James Machin, Federico Butac, Roby Ocampo, Greco Lavilla, Iwona Fido, Tino Augurusa
Structural Engineer: Halcrow Yolles
Mechanical Engineer: The Mitchell Partnership Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Mulvey+Banani International Inc.
Landscape Architect: Dillon Consulting
Interior Designer Base Building: WZMH Architects
Contractor: EllisDon Corporation
Other specialist consultants: Lighting Artist – James Turrell
Photographer: Tom Arban
Building Area: 111 000 m²
Budget: $300 Million
Date completed: January 2010

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