Condo construction complete

Condo construction complete

It’s the structure that drew global attention and is about to become a signature icon on the city’s skyline.

This afternoon, Absolute Community’s “Marilyn Monroe” condominium celebrated its topping off. That’s when construction crews, builders and civic officials get together to celebrate a job well done.

That means move-in day for residents of the 56-storey structure, located at the corner of Burnhamthorpe Rd. and Hurontario St., is only months away.

But first a horde of media and dignitaries got to taste what will surely become a fish-bowl existence for the residents.

“I’ve been watching it go up the past few years and, boy, it’s been exciting,” Mayor Hazel McCallion told the crowd of about 500. “This is a great day!”

McCallion praised developer Danny Salvatore, president and chief executive officer of Fernbrook Homes, for bringing the building to her city.

“He’s a Streetsville boy,” she noted.

As Salvatore tells it, his company was just going into the high-rise business and wanted to create something iconic, something it would be recognized for.

“The corner where it’s located, which is the major intersection in Mississauga, looked like a good fit. And we also wanted to make sure, in a competitive market, that we would succeed,” he said.

That prompted his firm to launch a design competition. It marked the first time in 40 years that an international design competition was held by a private development group for a building in the Greater Toronto Area, after the Toronto City Hall competition. Ninety-two submissions were received from more than 70 countries.

The competition was won by MAD Inc., a Beijing-based architectural firm. Yansong Ma led the design team.

Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group joined forces to bring his design to life.

Interest in the first tower was overwhelming: inquiries flooded in from 7,000 prospective buyers. The response prompted the addition of a 50-storey companion, which will be topped off next spring with occupancy set for the fall.

“The design absolutely helped sell it,” said Salvatore.

According to Anthony Pignetti, of the Dominus Group, which directed construction of the building, the condo broke the mould on status quo.

“Each floor is egg-shaped and fanned out, like a deck of cards, from the centre of the building. The angle of difference between one floor and another ranges from one to eight degrees,” he explained.

Since it was the first building of its kind in Ontario, it was essential to find out how a non-rectangular building would be affected by the elements.

“The wind tunnel tests showed we had to build heavy – underground and the first 25 floors above ground,” said Pignetti.

He estimates that Marilyn Monroe’s base is about 20 per cent stronger than a traditional

high-rise of the same size.

There were other challenges: while in a traditional condo tower each unit’s kitchen and bathroom are directly aligned with those above and below it, that isn’t the case with this building. That presents a challenge for the plumbing, electrical and HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) workers. Orienting the six high-speed elevators was also a head-scratcher.

“Sure the building has curves, but you can’t run elevators at an angle. There has to be a perpendicular core,” said Pignetti.

The two towers are Ma’s version of yin and yang. While the first has a distinctly feminine silhouette, the second tower will be more rugged and will also have a twisting shape, he said.

Ma also says the towers will “talk to each other and harmonize with each other.

“There is a synergy between them, an aura which transcends each of the individual buildings to create a totally unique and original urban space,” he said earlier.

That McCallion can attest to. Whisked to the 50th floor of Mississauga’s tallest building, she ventured out onto the vertigo-inducing balcony and soaked up the view.

“It’s just fantastic…it’s really something,” she whispered.