In the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, developers Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group set out to bring added character to a downtown project. Their Absolute City Center development was a master-planned community that already included three high-rise condo towers, topping out at 36 stories. But for the project’s fourth tower, the developers were looking for a novel design.
Although located in a suburb, their building site was adjacent to one of the biggest shopping malls in Toronto, and at more than 700,000 people, Mississauga is no backwater. To attract new ideas and architectural talent to the project, the developers decided to hold an international architecture competition.
Their call for submissions was heard around the world, and resulted in 92 submissions from architects representing 70 countries. In the end, Beijing-based MAD Architects was awarded the project on the strength of the design created by Ma Yansong, who was then only 31 years old. Ma’s design called for a 56-story glass, concrete and steel tower with a curvilinear shape that was completely different from a typical boxy high-rise. The Yale-educated architect stated that “North American cities need something more organic, more natural, more human,”—and his design delivered.
Construction was a challenge, requiring rotation of the floor plates for each floor, as well as adjustments to support walls and columns to accommodate the unconventional design, in which no two units were exactly alike.
Toro Aluminum was tapped to provide extrusion panels for the project, and the company in turn called on Tilton Industries to work as its paint applicator. Together with Valspar, the companies determined the coating product and color that would best suit the project—Valspar Acrodize® coating in Pewter. This specially formulated 50% PVDF coating provides outstanding resistance to chalking and fading, with heavy-duty durability. Its price point was one of just a few budget-friendly items on the complex construction project, but with its pearlescent look—typically only found in more expensive products—Absolute condo dwellers won’t spot the difference when they step out on their balconies.
As construction of the tower progressed, the Toronto community took notice, dubbing the structure “the Marilyn Monroe” in honor of its curves. Before the tower was even completed, sales were so strong that the developer commissioned Ma to create a sister high-rise tower, which also largely sold out in short order.
The popularity of the project meant additional work for Toro and Tilton, but the complex nature of the construction also meant plenty of stops and starts. Valspar worked closely with Tilton to deliver batches of coating in various sizes depending on weather conditions and construction stages.
“The project probably took a year and a half to coat everything,” said Frank Colonna, general manager at Tilton Industries. “So it was important to ensure batch to batch consistency because we purchased batches throughout.”
“Sometimes it was 500 gallons and sometimes 120,” said John Kucirka, an account manager at Valspar. “When winter hit, the project didn’t move as fast, but when spring hit, everything needed to get out the door ASAP. Batch to batch consistency and timing were vital.“
That attention to detail and the emphasis on quality by everyone involved have now resulted in two stunning additions to the Mississauga skyline. The project was honored in 2012 as the “Best Tall Building in the Americas” by The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Gus Cera, purchasing manager at Toro Aluminum, agrees that the architectural daring paid off. “Other condos are more straight and boxy,” he said. “This developer is out to do something different. They always push the envelope.”
Absolute Condos, Mississauga, Ontario L5A 3J8, Canada; http://www.absolutecondos.com/