Often times, precast concrete is synonymous with monotonous architecture, but not in the case of Batay-Csorba Architect’s new 32,000-square-foot boutique office building in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighborhood.
Dubbed “(Misfit)fit,” the project consists of flexible office spaces spread over four of the building’s six stories, with retail space on the ground floor and a rooftop sculpture garden and event space that frames dramatic views of the Toronto skyline.
When choosing the material for (Misfit)fit, the architects wished to add to the presence of precast concrete in the Toronto area without directly replicating previous examples. They chose, instead, to look within the Liberty Village neighborhood and found inspiration in the area’s historic factory buildings.
The articulation of brick along the openings and roof lines of these historic structures embodied the economy of mass production without the monotony that often plagues precast concrete structures. In order to create similar articulation on this facade, Batay-Csorba utilized modern fabrication techniques to create molds for two unique panels. Both of the larger panels were then divided into six sub-panels, which could be removed to create openings in the facade.
With this system of panels and sub-panels, the architects were able to use a minimal number of molds to create maximum variety in a system similar to the historic bricks they studied. The stacked panels shift and rotate to create a definitive pattern that reads as unified but not monolithic. As the architects describe in their press release:
As panels are confronted with one another, their incompatibility is abrupt and glaringly obvious, allowing each element to be read independently against the larger mass. Individual edges and profiles are pronounced, reading not as a singularity but as a rough stacking of objects that have found their equilibrium.
(Misfit)fit stands with the weightiness of concrete and the variety of a brick system, a compilation of misfits working in harmony.