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Toronto's condos are growing up — literally

New designs that utilize the airspace between existing structures aim to create new urban spaces out of thin air.

The addition of this new PATH pedestrian bridge allows Maple Leaf Square condo residents to walk from Union Station all the way to Queen’s Quay.

Duncan McAllister/For Metro

The addition of this new PATH pedestrian bridge allows Maple Leaf Square condo residents to walk from Union Station all the way to Queen’s Quay.

As we move closer towards 2017, Metro looks at what’s on the radar for new condo building trends in Toronto.

In a sign the city has “grown up,” radical new designs that utilize the airspace between and above existing structures aim to create new urban spaces out of thin air.

Menkes Harbour Plaza condos in downtown Toronto’s South Core financial district is a mixed-use community that features elevated enclosed glass walkways.

The addition of the new PATH pedestrian bridges allows commuters as well as residents of the Harbour Plaza and Maple Leaf Square condos to walk from Union Station all the way to Queen’s Quay. The bridges span over Lake Shore Boulevard and under the Gardiner Expressway and cross over Harbour Street further south.

The two-storey SkyBridge at Concord CityPlace condos is another great example of aerial construction that makes use of the airspace between the 38 and 43-storey Parade towers. CityPlace developer Concord Adex worked with PCL Constructors to hoist the glass and steel structure to the 28th-floor level.

On the waterfront at the foot of Yonge Street is the striking Pier 27 condominium development that takes to the sky with an unconventional design.

The campus of four residential buildings built by Cityzen and Fernbrook Homes is linked by angular, box-like skybridges placed above the condo suites.

There are myriad engineering challenges to this type of construction. Canadian consulting engineering firm, Entuitive, is no stranger to the intricacies of building overhead.

Entuitive principal Michael Moschino says that these engaging architectural high-wire feats are a sign that the city is coming of age, and that developers, planners and engineers have to think outside of the box to create new urban spaces.

“What you find is that is that a lot of cities do grow up, and land become scarce. It becomes a premium, so you have to look for new and creative opportunities in order to create spaces to have these new developments.”

Entuitive is closely following the developments of the proposed Rail Deck Park that will span a section of rail lands between Blue Jays Way and Bathurst Street, creating a 10.5 hectare city park above the railways.

The company engineered a similar project at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards; a rail deck covering the 500-foot-long area of land owned by Brookfield developments that runs into Penn Station.

“There’s the opportunity to change the city and to really bring it to the next step. You’re actually creating land where it doesn’t exist right now.” says Moschino.