33 floors proposed for the best modernist office building in the city center

What would once have been a one-of-a-kind proposal…is set to happen again in Toronto: Great-West Life Canadian Realty, has announced that it is proposing to add a 33-storey residential addition to the top of an existing 14 floors. multi-storey office building at 200 University Avenue, downtown.

Proposed residential addition in the downtown core, image courtesy of Great West Llfe

Currently on the site is an office building completed in 1961 designed by John B. Parkin Associates, which at the time was the largest and most prolific architectural firm in Canada, and is considered a leader in the development of the mid-century modern style in the country. The building is one of the few modernist buildings listing on the Toronto Heritage Register. With this proposal in play, even without demolition as the goal, the building will no doubt be further assessed by Heritage Preservation Services to see if it will be designated in whole or in part. In addition to office tenants, the building currently houses a collection of fast food restaurants at street level.

Existing Sun Life Building, image by Bob Krawczyk

Designed by KPMB Architects, the proposed extension above the office building offers a minimalist glass tower with recessed balconies framed by an upward extension of the original building’s fins, mending the two together through a recessed space where the current building is mechanical penthouse is. The mechanical penthouse would be adapted to become an amenity space used by commercial tenants during the day and as a space for residents to host social functions in the evening, while the lower floors would continue to function as offices.

Integrated base showing where amenities would be located between the old and new building, image courtesy of Great West Llfe

The proposed 33 floors above the office building would house 475 residential suites in addition to an abundance of amenities and other conveniences, which have yet to be announced.

Looking at what the full tower above 200 University would look like, designed by KPMB Architects, image courtesy of Great West Llfe

The office building would be upgraded to carry the new residence above. An additional retail pavilion proposed to be added at street level.

UrbanToronto will continue to track updates to this development, but in the meantime you can learn more from our database file for the project, linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the associated project forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Jennifer C. Burleigh