FRENCH ACTOR, JACQUES TATI, FORESAW THE FUTURE IN HIS 1967 COMEDY MASTERPIECE ‘PLAYTIME’

Given the forest of high-rise office & condo buildings in downtown TORONTO, ‘Playtime’ seems like an appropriate copy.  It’s set partly in a PARIS glass and steel office building.Jacques Tati (playing Monsieur Hulot) arrives for an important meeting, but gets lost in a maze of rooms, ending up in a trade exhibition of lookalike office designs and furniture.The old Paris touch is a brief reflection of the Eiffel Tower in a glass window. A heritage structure if there ever was one.  ‘Playtime’ is a wonderful film.  <ABOVE – living in a grid of television screensHeavy traffic BELOW>

WHAT MUST BE THE SKINNIEST, PENCIL-THIN SKYSCRAPER IN MANHATTAN RISES UP

There can’t be more than one. Manhattan’s Central Park Tower on 57th Street will be the tallest residential building in the world when it’s finished. At 131 storeys and 1,550 feet, it would be the tallest building in New York City – if it wasn’t for the spire on top of One World Trade Center. When it’s completed in 2020, the tower will be home to a seven-floor Nordstrom and condominiums on the top.

THE LAST OF TORONTO’S JOY OIL GAS STATIONS PASSES THE TIME BEHIND A CHAIN LINK FENCE

They were such winsome little things, created in DETROIT by Charles and Margaret Austin in 1928. The first one arrived in TORONTO in 1936. It began selling gas for a few cents less per gallon than its competitors. Law suits from the big trusts weren’t far behind as JOY OIL spread across the city.The architecture was based on movie sets from Disney’s 1937 film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’In the 1950’s the company ceased operations, and all of TORONTO’s – except the one at Lakeshore and Windermere Avenue – shut down. It was moved across the road, renovated between 2006 and 2008, and locked behind a chain link fence. There it remains.The hope is that someone somewhere will rescue the little station. There have been proposals from a food service company to a bike rental shop – but the castle is still waiting.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO IS PLANNING A NEW TOWER FOR ITS ST. GEORGE CAMPUS

Designed by NEW YORK-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects and TORONTO’s Teeple Architects, the 13-storey structure will rise at 112 College Street, near Queen’s Park.

The unique building will no doubt stand out against its surroundings – some of which are already landmarks. Shaped as a truncated trapezoidal pyramid, the PIE Complex will have shared rooftop terraces, and the bottom two floors will be recessed – “lifting” the building off the ground level.

LOOKING FOR A $3,000,000 TORONTO CITY CENTRE HOUSE? WELL OPPORTUNITY IS KNOCKING.

This tall, skinny house is on the market and just might sell. Depending on who you talk to, the property near Dundas St. E. and Broadview Ave. “is either a wonder of modern architecture well worth that amount, or an ugly, overpriced monstrosity.”<Toronto Star Housing Reporter DONOVAN VINCENT; photo – ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE>

The details – list price $2,999,000; 3 bedrooms, 6 baths; taxes $2,707; parking spaces – 1; land size 15 x 86 feet. <Photo above – the Wright Sisters GroupThe listing refers to the home as “truly unique” and a “modern marvel with four levels of functional minimalism.”

<The house and its neighbourhood – DAVE DUNVILLE, Vimeo>

CHALLENGING TORONTO’S PLANNING POLICIES – A TRIPLE DUPLEX BY BATAY-CSORBA ARCHITECTS

These days TORONTO is breaking its architectural mold, and this Triple Duplex is one possible example. The design was created in response to a challenge from Globe and Mail architecture critic ALEX BOZIKOVIC, who invited four firms to submit models that challenge the city’s housing policies. The Triple Duplex is one of them.

Batay-Csorba Architects said the TORONTO metropolitan area has 6-million residents, and that number is expected to double by 2041. There’s a need for creative housing solutions, and this low-rise building would contain six units, requiring two adjacent lots. The duplexes would be placed back-to-back – with one in the front, one in the middle and one in the rear.

“When viewed from the street, the building’s sensitive massing is in keeping with the small-scale charm of the neighbourhood and disguises its density with that of the context,” the team said. – renderings by NORM LI