This City is the Next New York
These iconic New York scenes have something interesting in common:
they were actually all filmed in Toronto. Yep, you heard that right. Change a few
street signs, add a few buses and Toronto does a great impression of the Big Apple.
And that impression is about to get much better. The city’s already impressive
skyline is now getting a massive makeover in the form of a skyscraper construction boom.
Toronto’s skyline could change dramatically if one developer has its way.
This race for the skies, headlined by The One, will see the Canadian city
overtake Chicago as the urban area with the second most skyscrapers in North America.
It’s no wonder they’re calling this the Manhattanization of Toronto.
Skyscrapers aren’t exactly new to Toronto. The place is home to some of the tallest
buildings in Canada; and the trusty CN Tower has been a symbol of the city since the ‘70s.
It seems every time you look up in this city you see one of these
Be it from the road or the air, signs of change on Toronto’s waterfront are hard to miss
But lately things have gone into overdrive,
turning Toronto into one of the biggest construction sites in North America.
Over 100 high rises currently under construction and more than 300 that are currently proposed.
We also have more construction cranes than any other city in North America, there are over
220 that are currently operating in construction sites throughout the city.
The explosion in construction has been brought on by the race to meet Toronto’s huge demand
for housing. The city is struggling to keep up with existing demand and with
a population boom expected over the next 10 years, that’s only going to get worse.
So Toronto’s current development boom has been the result of three main catalysts. Those have
been policy, immigration and investment. Over 100,000 people are coming to the Toronto region
every year. And simply put, you know, we need to be building housing for these people.
A whopping 90 percent of the new towers under construction are residential or
contain residential units and it’s right here, on the corner of Yonge
and Bloor that the most exciting of those new skyscrapers is being built.
Designed by Foster + Partners, The One will rise 306-metres above the city to become Canada’s
first supertall building. Offering apartments, commercial space and a hotel when it completes.
The building is at such a pivotal point in the city we really felt that that ground plane on
that very important corner should really be maximised in terms of its size and its volume.
The ground level in the first six floors of the lifts are removed to enable those spaces to
operate and function for commercial activities. So that central structural elements is transferred
across and out to the perimeter of the building to create what will become a kind of,
a major urban space and urban room within the very centre of the site.
To make the most of space inside the building, weight is transferred
to the giant exterior columns which stretch the whole height of the tower.
The floors are then hung on this frame by the building’s distinctive diagonal beams.
It has eight mega columns that we wanted to really emphasise in the design
and then to express through the introduction of the mechanical floors, these very distinct
horizontal bands as you move up through the building. And that was really to give the building
a very distinctive profile, one that would become instantly recognizable within the city.
There are other challenges that go with designing Canada’s tallest building too. Like any skyscraper
it has to be strong enough to resist the wind, and that wind has got to go somewhere.
With so many tall buildings springing up across Toronto,
the wind being blown down to street level is becoming a pretty big issue.
I’m sure you’ve felt it, those strong gusts of wind as you’re walking through the city,
especially through the downtown core
To get around this, the cutaways in the mechanical floors play another
role in disrupting the flow of the wind and preventing it blowing down to pedestrians below.
In the study’s analysis that was undertaken. It did demonstrate there’s virtually no increase
in wind speeds at the occupied level that the ground plane of of Yonge and Bloor.
If the thought of how these enormous, city defining projects are built leaves
you scratching your head, then you’re probably not the only one.
Megaprojects like The One need precise coordination and management across a
varied range of disciplines – but with tools like Autodesk Build,
managing a huge project like this becomes easier.
It creates a single platform where anyone working on a project can access the latest,
most up-to-date information whenever they need it.
Whether you’re creating a 3D model in a ground floor office
or topping off a building 300 metres in the air, Autodesk Build allows everyone to be
kept in the loop with developments and seamlessly share documents.
Toronto’s construction boom shows no sign of
slowing down and platforms like Autodesk Build will be essential
in helping to deliver the hundreds of buildings set to Manhattanize the city.
But hold on a minute. Manhattan became America’s skyscraper capital because
of a lack of space — Toronto doesn’t have that problem. So, why build upwards here and not out?
So Toronto is quite a large city, but the vast majority of buildable land area
is dominated by what’s known locally as the yellow belt. So these are neighbourhoods
that are dominated by, you know, low density, detached single-family housing
Right now, tall buildings go downtown and in suburban centres, mid rises go on major
streets that we wanna make more walkable, everywhere else gets low rise development
That “everywhere else” makes up a massive 75% of the buildable land in Toronto.
And so because, you know, land values have increased dramatically and because there is,
you know, only certain areas that are zoned for high density development,
the only way that developments can be feasible from a supply point of view is if they go upwards.
Some are arguing for a change in planning policy that would allow
more development in the Yellow Belt. That would spread the load over a wider
area and not lead to such a dramatic transformation in the city’s skyline.
Toronto certainly faces its challenges, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
People want to be in this city.
There’s a kind of a rebirth of urbanism in Canada, and Toronto has been the main example of that.
Creating a denser downtown will go some way to combatting the city’s suburban
sprawl – but as Torontonians old and new begin to adopt a new way of living here,
the move will have other positive side effects.
The majority of commuters that come into the downtown core are still coming by
car. That’s certainly changing as
our population density increases downtown. There’s this idea of a more walkable, walkable city.
Torontonians have long depended on their cars to move about. Creating smaller neighbourhoods
with more amenities is seen as a way to reduce traffic congestion and create a greener city.
Perhaps if we open up the city to more than cars,
it will become more livable in the sense that living in a 600 square foot condo won’t be so
feel like living in a cell because you’ll have the city to use. The city will be your backyard
and your dining room and your playground and all that kind of stuff. You won’t have to sort of have
everything contained in your house. You’ll be able to live and fully inhabit the city.
The eye watering price tag of apartments in The One hasn’t stopped them getting snapped up,
but it’s also pretty obvious that prestige projects aren’t going to
do much to help Toronto’s housing crisis. Despite that, as the city becomes taller
and denser buildings like The One will at least give the place some extra architectural cachet.
Just as the Chrysler and Empire State Building came to symbolise New York
these structures could, in time, become icons of Canada’s very own Manhattan.
You can learn more about what’s driving Toronto’s skyscraper boom
and how The One is being engineered in our free live chat with the expert team
behind the project, just follow the link in the description.
This video was made possible by Autodesk Construction Cloud, you can learn more
about that at the link below and as always guys if you enjoyed this video and you want
to get more from the definitive channel for construction, make sure you subscribe to The B1M.
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