Aqualuna is a high-end residential project in Toronto, Canada that is literally born out of its spectacular waterfront location. Its playful façade reflects the waves across Lake Ontario, while its terraces provide sweeping views of the water from nearly every suite. The design of Aqualuna at Bayside is guided by the belief that architecture shapes behaviour, and as such not only satisfies the stringent requirements of the client; but also focusses on creating a strong sense of neighbourhood. Working with the client, 3XN was motivated to position the building as ‘a good neighbour,’ both through its design and in its contribution to the urban environment.
The original masterplan set the volume of Aqualuna to be a rectangular slab at one uniform height. However, with regard for the neighbouring buildings, and their views; 3XN chose to design a building as a landscape with two high points and a valley in between. By shifting these two ‘peaks’ slightly apart, one maximizes waterfront views from each unit; and results in the building having two fronts facing the water. While this has resulted in extremely high value for the client, it has also given tremendous value to the urban environment, and surrounding neighbourhood. Daylight in the surrounding streets, views to the water from the neighbouring buildings (including the adjacent social housing), and sunlight on the Eastern promenade are just a few of the benefits to the neighbourhood and public realm.
The curving wave-like balconies offer a unique design that has not been previously seen in Toronto. The inspiration for this design and aesthetic was to create a geometrical solution that solves both practical and design related issues. The geometry of the balconies is used to optimize the lake-views and the influx of daylight for each unit. The aesthetics of the balconies give the building a unique identity; create an impression of constant movement bringing life to the area; bring scale into the unit; and add a world class reference to the shores of Lake Ontario.
In approaching the design of the podium, 3XN looked at best case examples from Copenhagen and around the world. The activation of the waterside edge has been a central part of the design process, resulting in a continuous double height façade facing the promenade and a through-block connection as an extension of Edgewater Drive. 3XN proposed various public functions such as a community centre, restaurants and retail at the podium to activate the waterfront. This was enthusiastically received by both client and the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel. This project is a prime example of creating value for both the client and the neighbourhood.
Founded in 1986, 3XN has been advancing Scandinavian traditions of clarity and generosity in architecture and translating them for a global audience. The firm’s work is grounded in ongoing research into how buildings reflect and influence human behaviour and the environment, which results in innovative solutions to increasingly complex contemporary challenges. Among 3XN’s high-profile projects are IOC’s HQ in Lausanne, the new Sydney Fish Market, Museum of Liverpool and The Blue Planet aquarium in Copenhagen. In 2007, 3XN established the innovation unit GXN, whose mission is to collect and apply the latest knowledge on materials and new technologies to the studio’s architecture. Over 11 years, GXN has driven architectural innovation focusing on social behaviour, new materials and building technologies. The ‘G’ stands for Green, highlighting GXNs dedication to ecological design. The goal is to create human centred architecture and to develop the build environment as manmade ecosystems.