Construction goes beyond building a structure — it entails building sustainable, comfortable and welcoming spaces for the community around us. Cadillac Fairview’s 16 York tower was designed and constructed to do just that, embodying sophistication, sustainability and smart construction. Located at the corner of York and Bremner, the 33-storey, 879,000 square foot class A office tower adds a striking sophistication to one of downtown Toronto’s premier corners. The tower represents style in its highest form, featuring its signature stepped exterior and a soaring glass wrap-around.

Cadillac Fairview, the tower’s owner, envisioned 16 York to stand out. While the building was designed to be a striking addition to Toronto’s skyline, it was just as important for the building to have a positive community presence. With PCL on board as the construction manager, combined with the expertise of architects Alliance and B+H Architects, 16 York exemplifies performance and personal well-being while acting as a case study for sustainability and smart construction. 

16 York in Toronto joins PCL-built Deloitte Tower in receiving the WELL Health-Safety rating while also achieving WELL v1 Core Silver Certification. Receiving this certification makes 16 York one of the first newly built commercial towers to be certified in Canada as part of the base building prior to tenant fit-out. Followed by the prestigious designation, the office tower also achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) certification from the Canadian Green Building Council.

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and space types that focuses on operational policies and maintenance protocols that guide real estate organizations in preparing their spaces for re-entry from COVID-19 lockdowns. WELL v1 Core certified projects integrate fundamental WELL Building StandardTM features into the base building design and operations to support the health and productivity of their occupants. This certification explores how design, operations and behaviours within the places where we live, work, learn and play can be optimized based on the core concepts of health and wellness.

“At Cadillac Fairview, our core business is designing, building and operating premium commercial properties, and occupant health and well-being are central to our corporate responsibility commitment,” says Arv Gupta, senior vice president, operations, Cadillac Fairview. “We are dedicated to reinforcing a sense of confidence and safety, and achieving this rating exemplifies our commitment to prioritizing the health and well-being of our office communities.”

16 York was built on spec with the provision of benefits that class A tenants seek, including access to major transit options and local amenities. From site location to structural design, construction and final finishes, the health and wellness of the building occupants were top priorities.

Connecting tenants to the Greater Toronto Area, 16 York is located steps away from Toronto’s Union Station and just a block away from the Gardiner Expressway. To provide access to a wide range of amenities, PCL also built a new underground tunnel to connect 16 York and adjacent buildings to Toronto’s PATH Network beneath one of the city’s busiest intersections.

A key factor in achieving WELL v1 Core Silver certification was how PCL managed construction pollution and created healthy indoor air quality.

Clearing the space of dust, chemical vapours and other debris is crucial to maintaining healthy indoor air quality for occupants both during construction and occupancy. Given the complicated nature of the task, it was important for PCL to implement special provisions and a rigorous construction cleaning process to manage dust control.

A multi-faceted mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning system consisting of under-floor air systems and air-to-air energy recovery was deployed to maintain indoor air quality, allowing for optimal ventilation while reducing HVAC equipment capacity. PCL incorporated condensing boilers and frequency-controlled motors to increase fuel efficiency and reduce wasted energy. 

LEED® is an international symbol of sustainability excellence and green building leadership. Based on the building’s ability to lower carbon emissions, conserve resources and reduce operating costs through sustainable practices, LEED® buildings are certified within four levels. 16 York received the platinum certification, receiving a total of 86 points.

The office tower was designed to create a workplace environment adaptable to any need of the building’s inhabitants without compromising Cadillac Fairview and PCL’s commitment to sustainability. With a one-acre green roof 40 feet above street level and a thorough storm water harvesting program, this state-of-the-art structure focuses on optimizing energy efficiency through electrical and mechanical systems and water conservation.

As per LEED® requirements, a greywater management system was integrated as the primary water conservation feature to allow for low-flow toilet fixtures. The building also uses a large cistern to control storm water flow and to retain water for irrigation of the property’s one-acre green roof, helping to reduce the demand on city storm and water infrastructure.

Connecting the building to Enwave’s Deep Lake Water Cooling system played a large role in eliminating the need for cooling towers and their constant water draw. Harnessing the renewable cold temperatures deep within Lake Ontario to provide cooling water and minimize water usage, the Deep Lake Water Cooling system enabled the building to eliminate the use of chillers/refrigerants and maintain a sustainable environment for Cadillac Fairview’s tenants.

16 York was among the first PCL projects to pilot Job Site Insights®, a smart IoT construction platform. This smart building technology used a family of sensors deployed across our sites for quality assurance and control and played a crucial role in moisture management and mitigating water damage.

Water leak and flood sensors proved invaluable for anticipating pipe bursts or water leaks under raised access floors. Temperature and humidity sensors alerted the team to envelope breaches where heat is often wasted. With sensors deployed and rapid response to 24/7/365 monitoring, PCL used Job Site Insights® to efficiently respond to areas of known concern and maintain a clean, dry building throughout the construction process. Using technology, PCL delivered a digital level of quality assurance for its client and helped mitigate their heightened concern for a healthy work environment.

“I’d like to recognize the collaborative team effort of our project team and digital construction team for being one of PCL’s early technology adopters,” says Monique Buckberger, PCL Toronto’s vice president and district manager. “This project is a shining example of how operational excellence can be enhanced through technology adoption and innovation in research and development. This is truly a differentiator for PCL and is adding value for current and future client developments.”