Condo Critic: 288 King St. East

August 15, 2009

Located on the north side of King, a block or two west of Parliament St., it runs north all the way to Richmond St. where there is a second entrance. The new building also extends the domestic stretch of King east of Sherbourne, where until now it ended.

Though the architects have made no attempt to copy their 19th-century predecessors, they understand how a building should behave on the street. What this means is that the new structure comes out to the property line and that the bulk of the building is broken down into several main elements; at the bottom, a two-storey glass looks out to the sidewalk on both facades. Presumably, they will eventually house retail uses. Above, a three-floor glass box occupies the frontage, surrounded by the rest of the 11-storey tower.

The materials are contemporary, but there's an attention to detail that keeps the project from feeling generic and anonymous. This may be social housing, but it doesn't fit the image that term implies. Instead, it looks as though someone cares, as if the builders wanted to do something worthy not just of the inhabitants but the city.

One can complain that this addition represents another nail in the coffin of King East, at the same time, the building itself shows of early 21st-century residential architecture at its best.

GRADE: A

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