In 2014, Toronto-based architectural firm G+C Architects proudly completed an unusual project: a Jenga-like condominium tower on the city’s Etobicoke lakeshore, with alternating black and white balconies that seem to wrap around its centre.
The 50-storey residential building, named LAGO, was a fitting addition to G+C Architects’ roster of one-of-a-kind, skyline-shaping buildings across the GTA, which already included the Residences of College Park, and now boasts Yonge Street’s acclaimed tallest residential building in Canada, Aura. The founders of the company, Barry Graziani and Enzo Corazza, said they gave LAGO its twisting appearance to match the lakeshore’s curving landscape. They were especially proud of their design because, like Aura, no other building in the country would look like it — or so they thought.
Five years after LAGO’s completion, Graziani received an email from a former colleague. Fellow architect Tom Tillmann had noticed that a new building with black and white twisting balconies was taking form 200 kilometres from Etobicoke, in his hometown of London. He sent Graziani a note of congratulations for landing a new building contract on the Forest City skyline. The twisting balconies and colour patterns, said Tillmann, was “classic Graziani.”
The building Tillmann saw is called One Richmond Row — named after its address in downtown London. It is designed by SRM Architects, a firm based out of Kitchener-Waterloo, and is developed by Old Oak Developments of London. Neither company has a relationship with G+C Architects.
In their 24 years as partners, Graziani and Corazza both say they have never come across a building that looks so much like one of their own.