Concrete Panel Forms: A Dramatic Building in Toronto

Precast concrete is often synonymous with monotonous architecture, but not in the case of Batay-Csorba Architect’s new 32,000-square-foot six-story boutique office building in Toronto. “[Misfit]fit” is situated on a small vacant site in Toronto's Liberty Village. The building's program is comprised of four floors of flexible office space, retail at grade, and a rooftop sculpture garden/ event space. 

While upholding the paramount value of precast concrete's economy of repetition, the [Misfit]fit leverages advanced fabrication techniques and reusable molds in order to move the project beyond just pure repetition. The paneling system focuses on three main characteristics: panel-to-panel discontinuity, stacking and repetition, and tenuous equilibriums. Individual panels are designed hermetically without regard for the overall aggregation or adjacent units.

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. Furthering this effect, the corner condition becomes emphasized as a location where panel profiles are fully exposed with discontinuities clear. Apertures are created with the removal of units, a process divorced from the stacking logic which allows for infinite flexibility. The overall aggregation is produced through a vertical repetition where each row is shifted in relationship to one another. Here, similar panels relate imperfectly but just enough to hold together an overall sense of movement.



source: Batay-Csorba