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The great balcony debate

I snapped this picture on College Street near Spadina Avenue (Toronto) yesterday:


It’s a picture of “The College” by Tribute Communities. What you’re looking at is the northwest corner of the building and a 20,000 sf grocery store fronting onto College Street.

I took a picture of the building for really two reasons. 

1. The colored balcony enclosures on the west elevation (right side of the picture) are not something I’ve ever seen done on a Toronto condo before. I like color. I also wonder if they create interesting interior lighting effects and greater privacy when you’re outside.

2. I have been noticing more Juliet/French balconies on new builds as of late (could be an availability bias). Here they’re on the north elevation fronting onto College Street. Once the building steps back, you get conventional balconies. 

I think Juliet balconies create a much nicer streetwall, particularly when used on a building’s lower floors. But I would be curious to get end-user thoughts on this. If you were looking for a place, would you rather more interior space + Juliet balcony or less interior interior + conventional balcony? Are balconies a deal breaker?

This is something that a lot of people in the industry debate. And it varies by city. In Toronto, conventional wisdom dictates that you need to provide balconies of any size, even if nobody ends up using them, other than to store a bike.

In other cities – sometimes because of liability and sometimes because exterior balcony space gets counted as part of the building’s overall Gross Floor Area (GFA) – balconies can be a real rarity.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!

1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: The great balcony debate — revisited |

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