In a city obsessed with tall towers, 383 Sorauren stands out. A modern, mid-rise structure set among the Victorian homes of Roncesvalles Village, the condo is an exercise in balance and something of an experiment.

Peter Clewes of architectsAlliance is behind the design of the project by Gairloch and Centrestone Urban Developments. Though Clewes is largely known for his downtown skyscrapers, the challenge of building a smaller space appealed to him.

“As the city is intensifying and filling in these holes, you get these interesting strips along the rail corridors. How do we deal with them?” he said.

“We took this project on because we liked the opportunity to experiment with this idea of infill – doing something that both responds to the industrial heritage of this part of the city and rail corridor, but also the neighbourhood to the west,” he said.

The design plays double duty by looking somewhat like a floating box. The base, which will feature two-storey townhouse-style suites, is meant to feel light, transparent and open. The floors above it, or the box, appears heavier and nods to the former factories in the area.

“I would call it a modern re-interpretation of an industrial building,” explained Clewes. “We’re not trying to re-create a building that looks like it’s a hundred years old.”

PC headshot The brick exterior certainly refers to the masonry of the by-gone industrial buildings, but there are a number of nuances that make the structure contemporary. The balconies, instead of hanging over the face of the condo as terraces tend to do in the city, are set into the building so that they’re part of the frame. From the street, it will look as though they are carved out the structure.

Another cool and contemporary detail? On the balconies, architectsAlliance will use a process called “fritting” to print see-through images of bricks in dot patterns onto the glass railings.

Altogether, the building will be home to 161 residences and rise 10 storeys high, though the top two floors will be set back, giving it a lower appearance. Mid-rise buildings are being championed by the likes of Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s Chief Planner, as a way to increase density across the city without going the downtown tower route.

“I think it’s appropriate that that’s what the city is encouraging. The debate will be, what is a mid-rise building? Is it five storeys? Is it 12 storeys?”

Currently, there’s no zoning for mid-rise and new structures tend to work with Toronto’s design guidelines. But that just puts 383 Sorauren at the forefront of the discussion of what a mid-rise condo can look like.

“As a city, collectively, we are trying to find our way to reach a happy medium,” he said.

“That’s what’s interesting about this project to us as an office – it’s testing some of those mid-rise design guidelines that haven’t really been tested in a lot of areas in the city.”

Residences start from $299,990.

For more information contact 416 588 0383 or info@383Sorauren.com.

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