New Four Seasons Hotel Aims to Fade into Toronto’s Sky


Toronto’s latest Four Seasons Hotel in the city’s Yorkville district does what many buildings can’t…the 55-floor structure provides a soaring bird’s-eye view of the city, and rather than be just a big blot on the landscape, it blends into the surrounding area, gradually becoming lighter in mass the higher up it goes.

The developers of the tower and companion 25-floor companion building said their aim was to provide an intelligent, high-rise structure in a low-rise neighborhood in order to inject some elegance into the area.   While providing hotel guests with an unrivalled view, locals living in the region are also quite pleased with the design as it is urbane and well-planned; the complex also includes a park and an eight-story pavilion for public functions.

“It’s really a building that operates at a metropolitan scale,” said the architect Peter Clewes.   “If you want to put up a very tall building in an area that’s not generally considered to be an area of tall buildings, you have to attempt to lighten the mass. So the hotel portion of the tower, in the first 23 floors or so, has conventional closed corners. When the tower becomes residential, above the hotel, there are open corners that contain the terraces. The floor plate is reduced, and there’s a gradual reduction of the building mass as you go up the tower. There’s a kind of fading of the tower where it meets the sky.”

Clewes continued:  “I’m getting a little tired of towers and podiums.  [The Four Seasons] is successful because it’s not trying to be something other than what it is, which is a major building inserted within the grid of Toronto in a very decidedly modern way.”