WilkinsonEyre has masterplanned three linked sites of 33,000m² for commercial use, adjacent to Union Station on Bay Street. The masterplan provides twin 250m-high towers positioned on opposite sides of the rail corridor and linked at high level by a sky park. The overall development integrates with Toronto’s public transport system providing a new bus terminal for Metrolinx, as well as new connections into Union Station, the subway and light rail (LRT) systems.
The total development will be constructed in two phases to provide Grade A office and amenity space. The first phase, 81 Bay Street, is a 54-storey tower and associated podium, which includes approximately 18,580m² of trading floors as well as amenity spaces including restaurants, retail, conference facilities and the new bus terminal. A new one-acre landscaped sky park spans the rail corridor connecting 81 Bay Street south of the rail corridor to 141 Bay Street.
Both towers feature a lightly folded glazed façade, creating a diamond pattern which repeats every ten storeys, adding a vertical scale and modulation contrasting with the surrounding buildings. The construction of 81 Bay Street began in June 2017 and was completed in 2021. The overall development, with CIBC as the anchor tenant, is due for completion by 2024.
The lobbies of both towers provide spectacularly grand spaces that are a first for the Toronto market. The ambition to connect each tower’s lobby and lift access to the elevated sky park means each lobby is 25m high, with upper sky lobbies giving direct access to the park. The rear wall is clad in slabs of vein-cut travertine fabricated to generate a super scaled three-dimensional relief, itself composed of a series of repeated triangulated elements.
These triangular forms are part of the underlying geometric design language running through the building. The project team commissioned esteemed Toronto-based painter Steve Driscoll to make a site-specific artwork bringing Canada's northern boreal forest into the building. Integrated into the recess of the six elevator bays and visible from the street, softly backlit glass panels 11m high depict tall trees in a lakeside setting, realised in rich colours and deep shadow.