Hariri Pontarini Architects worked in close collaboration with St. Thomas Commercial Developments Inc. to design 7 St. Thomas, a building that harmonizes retail and commercial design through an inventive interplay of form and light, blending Victorian and contemporary materials to create a unified work. Six heritage townhouses are integrated into a three-storey podium, with a sinuous six-storey tower above. The development houses retail at ground level and condominium office spaces throughout, blending high design, ecological responsibility, and civic enhancement.
“We see this project as representative of the quality we see globally, in cities such as London and New York, but built locally”, stated David Pontarini, Founding Partner of Hariri Pontarini Architects. “It is a testament to the willingness of Patrick Quigley, President of St. Thomas Commercial Developments, to push the City and the boundaries of design in Toronto.”
Located around the corner from the busy Bay/Bloor intersection at the corner of Sultan and St. Thomas Streets, the design was born from a desire to seamlessly integrate into the existing fabric of the neighbourhood and to contribute to the urban environment. Hariri Pontarini collaborated with heritage consultants ERA Architects to create a contextually appropriate design, preserving — and highlighting — the character of the site’s Victorian townhouses while introducing new density above.
“It’s such a difficult process with the city,” Quigley explains. “But you end up with a much better project when you take contextual issues into consideration.”
The building peels back from neighbouring context to preserve the light and views of existing residential buildings. A piazza-like square at the corner of St. Thomas and along Sultan Streets form a public amenity in the densely built area.
The podium wraps around and incorporates the heritage buildings, elegantly balancing the proportions and using glass and stone to contrast and enhance the existing façades. The tower is wrapped in an undulating fritted glass veil. Stepping back from the Victorian base, the tower appears to float above.