Pharrell Williams helps Reserve Properties and Westdale Properties design untitled in Toronto
The designs are the result of a multi-stage process that saw Reserve and Westdale working with Williams, alongside architects from IBI Group and designers from U31, to realize a collective vision for the project.
“The decision to work with Pharrell was born out of a desire to do something unique for our future residents, the city and architecture as a whole,” says Sheldon Fenton, chief executive officer, Reserve Properties. “We believed by bringing in a cultural icon with vision and ideation from outside the realm of real estate it would allow us to break the mold in terms of what has traditionally been done in multi-residential development in Toronto.”
Working with Williams, the team developed a set of overarching principles that became integral to the overall design process. These included creating spaces with a conscious understanding of how people will feel within them, focusing on design that is both aesthetically inspiring but also purposeful in its function, and incorporating a feeling of natural elements throughout the spaces.
The two-tower residential development will include 751 condominium suites, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, as well as 32,000 sq. ft. of amenity space.
Gust of Wind
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 Williams’ hit song Gust of Wind, articulating the building as a visual abstraction of music.
Interior spaces by Kelly Cray of U31 aim 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.
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.
Water and space
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, 30-ft. water feature that flows into the far end of the pool.
“To me, the key elements were water and space,” says Williams. “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.”
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.
untitled will feature suites ranging in type, from studios to three-bedrooms, with prices starting in the low $400,000’s.
Renderings: Norm Li
Press conference photos: Arthur Mola