Architecture

Skybridge-linked Toronto towers will create a community in the sky

Skybridge-linked Toronto tower...
Orca Toronto will consist of eight residential towers and an office tower. A series of skybridges will connect the residential towers
Orca Toronto will consist of eight residential towers and an office tower. A series of skybridges will connect the residential towers
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Orca Toronto will consist of eight residential towers and an office tower. A series of skybridges will connect the residential towers
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Orca Toronto will consist of eight residential towers and an office tower. A series of skybridges will connect the residential towers
Orca Toronto's skybridges will host gardens, amenities, and some housing. The exteriors of the skybridges and the towers themselves will also feature some greenery
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Orca Toronto's skybridges will host gardens, amenities, and some housing. The exteriors of the skybridges and the towers themselves will also feature some greenery
Orca Toronto will measure 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares), much of which will be taken up by a large new park
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Orca Toronto will measure 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares), much of which will be taken up by a large new park
Orca Toronto's park will bridge an existing rail track on the inner-city site
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Orca Toronto's park will bridge an existing rail track on the inner-city site
The exterior of Orca Toronto’s towers will feature an eye catching pixelated look that recalls previous Safdie Architects designs
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The exterior of Orca Toronto’s towers will feature an eye catching pixelated look that recalls previous Safdie Architects designs
Orca Toronto is currently undergoing review by city officials, so we've no word yet on if or when it will be completed
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Orca Toronto is currently undergoing review by city officials, so we've no word yet on if or when it will be completed
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Skybridges aren't a new idea by any means, but rarely are they used as ambitiously as for the massive Orca Toronto project from Safdie Architects. The firm envisions a collection of nine new towers, most of which will be connected by skybridges to allow people to move around and enjoy amenities without ever touching the ground. Those who do venture down to terra firma though will be able to enjoy an extensive new public park.

Orca Toronto also involves engineering firm Arup and, assuming it actually goes ahead as planned, will span an area of 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares) just west of Toronto's famous CN Tower. A total of 10.5 acres (4.5 hectares) of space is earmarked for the park, with the remaining space reserved for the nine towers.

We've no word on how tall the towers will be at this point, however we do know that they will incorporate significant greenery and that eight of them will be residential towers containing around 3,000 units of housing between them. The one remaining tower will be used to host office space.

The skybridges will connect the residential towers and contain gardens, amenities, and some additional housing. Elsewhere in the development will be hotel space, transportation facilities, and a retail arcade that will be open during the summer and covered with a glazed roof during winter to encourage year-round use.

Orca Toronto will measure 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares), much of which will be taken up by a large new park
Orca Toronto will measure 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares), much of which will be taken up by a large new park

"The design features an innovative configuration of slender residential towers connected by elevated bridges which accommodate housing units, gardens, and recreational facilities, thus maximizing the permeability of the project and the park area," explains the firm. "Safdie Architects pioneered the concept of bridging between towers as a means of creating special public and community amenities. In contrast to individual apartment buildings, the linked residential towers offer connection as well as shared indoor and outdoor amenities at multiple levels to encourage interaction among residents and foster a sense of community."

The park that will surround the towers is designed in collaboration with PWP Landscape Architecture and will involve decking over existing rail tracks and planting a substantial number of trees and other greenery. It will also offer recreational lawns, children's playgrounds, walking trails, and bike paths.

The project is being developed by CRAFT Development Corporation, Kingsmen Group and Fengate Asset Management, and is currently under review with city officials, so there's no guarantee that Orca Toronto will go ahead but we'll be keeping an eye on the project and will bring more news as we get it.

Source: Safdie Architects

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3 comments
3 comments
paul314
Skybridges are more common in northern cities where you don't want to go outside during the winter. But this seems like an amenity entirely for people who live or work in those particular buildings. Will make the elevator and stair design more interesting.
riczero-b
This sounds like one of those extras that get peoples interest and help regulatory acceptance but mysteriously disappear during the build.
BlueOak
If they actually implement these “bridges” as depicted, they’ll be much more than bridges, they’ll be elevated parks and hang out spaces. Seems like a clever way to create a lot of extra common area space without devoting precious in tower square footage.

Alternatively, seems like bulked up “bridges” could be a cleaver method for creating more windowed offices/apartments without going full bulky on the building footprint.