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Pure Spirit at the Distillery

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Cityscape Development Corp.


Planning Partnership

Lewis Builds


Designated as a national historic site, the Distillery District is an extraordinary complex of 19th century brick and limestone industrial buildings, the most architecturally rich and culturally vibrant heritage precinct in Toronto. The network of Victorian streets and pedestrian connections through the site have created a unique triangular building site at the corner of Mill and Parliament Streets. Pure Spirit takes full advantage of its setting, responding with a 21st century interpretation of the Victorian ‘flatiron’ building form. A five-storey podium building terminates in an acute 22-degree angle, occupied by retail uses at grade, and four floors of loft units and one- and two-storey terrace units above. The podium is surmounted by a slender, glazed 34-storey point tower, offset from the centre of podium. Pure Spirit defers at street level to the intimate scale of the 19th-century streetscape, while reinforcing the axial connection between the Distillery District and David Crombie Park to the west. Residents in the tower enjoy panoramic views of the downtown skyline and the lake.


The base seems fairly well handled, but the tower itself is terribly out of scale for the area, and even the functionalist merits of it do not seem as sveltely handled as they might have been.

A major flaw in the planning of this City with a tower that is too tall and out of scale with a human-scale, highly significant heritage district which contains a very fine collection of 19th century industrial architecture on the continent.
Where is the compatability and sensitivity to human scale and historic context?

I know your photos of the lovely flatiron are trying valiantly to hide that hideous tower in the background, but guys, we can still see it, eh?

The brick podium of this tower works well with the rest of the Distillery District. The pie shaped "courtyard" is a really great space that gives you the sense of an old world village without copying one slavishly.

like it - tower looks great in the skyline - things need to fill in at the base to true see if its going to work...

Depressing yawn.

The street level isn't totally atrocious, I guess.

Love the base. Like the tower. Great addition to the Distillery District, which is not a museum, everybody! People got to live there to animate the place.

aA did a great job with this development. The red brick podium ties it into the area, but the flatiron side saves it from bland contextualism. The glass tower is minimalist and doesn't distract from the Distillery District's restored Victorian buildings.

The flatiron is great, however, the tower is a complete disaster. Terrible construction and a lobby that is a colossal waste of space.

Great presence from the pedestrian level. There is a lighting store in the pointy prow of this building, with plate glass windows and nifty things going on inside. There are neat climbable sculptures immediately south of this building, great destinations within walking distance, and other architecturally cool things all around. It's always so quiet and deserted, though. This is the Distillery District after all.

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