Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Cityplace Luna

originally published in Award Magazine

On a clear evening west of downtown Toronto, passersby may find their eyes drawn to the glowing rooftop of the city’s newest residential community, CityPlace Luna.

Luna will please the eye by day as well. “The massing of the face to the south conforms to a subtle convex curve at the north edge of the site formed by the existing roadway,” says Deni Poletti, Principal/ Partner at Core Architects Inc. “The strong convex crescent shape becomes the leitmotif of the site.”

“Because of the gentle curve of the buildings, every unit is different,” says Gabriel Leung, Director of Development for Concord Adex Developments, explaining how the building boasts more than 70 different unit types.

Certain unit layouts are particular to Luna. The “LTD” units, for instance, sit at the top of the podium and boast two storeys each. Entrances on the lower floor lead to a south-facing view, while the upper floor gives residents views to both the south and the north. “We pioneered this unit type in this project,” Leung says.

On the ground floor, townhomes include attached garages, destined to appeal to buyers seeking greater security and the feeling of living in a house.

Buyers won’t have much longer to wait for their homes. “Concord Adex wanted to minimize construction cost and accelerate the schedule,” says Arnie Kalnins, Project Manager for PCL Constructors Canada, Inc. “PCL was able to build the structure at a pace of one floor every three days.”

Luna is among the final residential projects to sprout on a substantial parcel of former railway lands mere blocks west of downtown Toronto. Other large, finished developments nearby have already been occupied for several years.

Many retail operations already call the area home. “The banks are all there,” chuckles Tim Gorley, Executive VP for Page+Steele/IBI Group Architects.

Businesses are also set to move into the south-east part of the Luna lot around the time residents move in, adding to the bustle on the patio. “It will make street life more vibrant,” says Leung.

Retail needs may eclipse motoring needs, according to Gorley. “Actual parking sales are less than you might expect,” he says. “Downtowners increasingly rent cars, they use services like ZipCar to avoid owning a car.”

The site itself, within easy walking distance to the city’s core, is well-served by public transit. A forthcoming pedestrian bridge will span the gap over the railway lines between CityPlace to the south and Front Street, a main road leading straight downtown, to the north.

Because the rail lines to the north and the Gardiner Expressway to the south sandwich CityPlace, acoustics and vibrations concerned the developer. Builders achieved acceptable sound transmission coefficients via careful choices of window design and glazing. Most buildings, including Luna, required no extra work to prevent vibration.

However, the north wall of the underground parking garage doubles as a retaining wall abutting the railway land, so it was designed according to requirements from CN. “The north wall, in conjunction with other structural elements, will act inelastically should a train topple into it,” explains Philip Jones, Contract Administrator for Halcrow Yolles. (Such an event is extremely unlikely; several factors combine to keep train speeds very low in the area.)

Even though Lake Ontario lies nearby, Luna’s builders have not had to contend with water, thanks to a sporting neighbour. “Pumping operations at the Rogers Centre have lowered the water table,” Gorley says.

Concord Adex ensured the land would contain as many trees and trails as it does suites and shops. Parks lining the north and south boundaries of the development link to the eight-acre CityPlace Central Park in the middle, which Luna faces.

Joggers won’t have to go far for a workout. “You could easily run four to five kilometres in that loop,” Gorley says.

Luna’s builders also installed services for the north linear park along Luna’s north edge. These services (water, electricity and so forth) were designed and built independently of any Concord Adex building in preparation for turnover to the City of Toronto. “It was a project within a project,” says Al Medeiros, a partner with MCW Consultants Ltd.

Work on Luna began before work started on the building itself. Soil remediation performed on the former brownfield made the entire neighbourhood ready to welcome the thousands of people who now call CityPlace home. “Concord Adex removed contaminated soil from all the sites,” Gorley says.

There’s even some green in Luna itself. 200 exit signs were changed from electrical to ‘photoluminescent’ or ‘glow-in-the-dark,’ which consumes absolutely no power,” says Kalnins. “Since most exit signs are electrically illuminated 24 hours a day, eliminating the power requirement for roughly 200 signs definitely helped reduce the building’s power consumption.”

Variable-speed drives power main pumps and makeup air units throughout Luna. “Motors can operate at peak performance when required and adjust according to the demand in the building,” Medeiros explains.

For all its practicality, Luna is no shrinking violet, by day or by night. “Random reflective glass panels on the exterior face of the balconies offer a three-dimensional textual pattern to the façade,” says Poletti, “as well as acting like a mirror to the changing moods of the Toronto sky.”

Concord Adex commissioned two artists to create eye-catching wonders on the ground and in the sky. Sculptor John McEwen, whose “Searchlight Starlight Spotlight,” a group of tall steel perforated cones stand to the east of the nearby Air Canada Centre, created “Stardust and Time” for Luna. Sitting in the entrance courtyard, this series of seven corten panels features cutouts that will be backlit by night. The panels surround a bronze bear, another of McEwen’s creations.

Ottawa’s Adrian Gollner, meanwhile, adorned the glazed mechanical penthouse expressions with purplish LED light boxes, using a random pattern similar to that used for the reflective glass panels in the towers.

Luna’s isn’t the only rooftop to receive Gollner’s treatment. The rooftops of each CityPlace building will glow a different colour. Together, they form “Warm by Night,” the public art program Concord Adex commissioned to crown its works.

“It’s like painting the sky,” Leung says.


Tower R: 25 Capreol Court
Tower Q: 8 Telegram Mews
Toronto, Ontario

Concord Adex Development

Page + Steele Inc. /IBI Group Architects

Core Architects Inc.

PCl Constructors Canada Inc.

Halcrow Yolles Partnership Inc.

MCW Consultants Ltd.

Mike Niven Interior Design Inc.

Ferris+Associates Inc.

594,000 square feet


For a PDF of the article, click CityPlace Luna.