One of the world’s best residential skyscrapers is in Ontario, in Mississauga!

Today, Mississauga is the third most populous city on the Great Lakes. From the beginning of the XXI century the city was trying to create a distinctive image for itself. In 2006 it held an international architectural design competition for a 56-storey, 175.6m (576ft) tall residential condo tower, called Absolute World, that is intended to be a landmark for the city. The competition for the building of the fourth tower located at the northeast corner of Burnhamthorpe Road and Hurontario Street was announced on November 28, 2006, by Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Over six hundred registrants and ninety-two submissions from architects in seventy countries took part in this competition. Submissions were judged by a panel which included architects, civic leaders and the development team members. On January 30, 2007, an announcement was made in Toronto informing the public who the six finalists were:

  • Nicholas Boyarsky, Boyarsky Murphy Architects, United Kingdom
  • Michel Rojkind, rojkind arquitectos, Mexico
  • Roland Rom Colthoff, Quadrangle Architects Limited, Canada
  • Sebastian Messer, Studio MWM, United Kingdom
  • Yansong Ma, MAD office, China
  • Tarek El-Khatib, Zeidler Partnership Architects, Canada

Each of the finalists was given an honorarium to defray the costs of preparing the final submission design for a tower that would be taller than 50 stories and the tallest building in Mississauga when completed.

The public was invited to vote for the favourite designs which were on display at the Square One Shopping Centre as well as online, along with the judging panel. The voting was to stop on March 22, 2007. Representing constant challenges, the winning design of a young Beijing-based architect, Ma Yansong, and his firm, MAD Architects, was announced from CN Tower on March 28, 2007 as the winner. Burka Varacalli Architects, a Toronto firm, designed the interiors alongside engineering firm Sigmund Soudak & Associates.

Within days of the announcement, the taller building had been nicknamed the “Marilyn Monroe” tower due to its curvaceous figure likened to Marilyn Monroe.

The towers were built by Fernbrook Homes and Cityzen Development Group. With the first three towers completed (Absolute City Centre 1 & 2 and Absolute Vision), the last two towers (Absolute World 4 & 5) were topped off at 50 and 56 storeys. The higher tower has six levels of underground parking.

Interesting facts: in 2000, 85 of the 100 tallest buildings were offices; in 2014, this number dropped more than twice. It reflects global trends, fundamental shift to residential skyscrapers. The buildings got attention from home and abroad. Buyers came from around the world, particularly Dubai.

On June 14, 2012, the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a non-profit group of architects and engineers, reported that the towers were among the world’s best new skyscrapers.

The Absolute World Towers are remarkable for their aesthetic beauty. The larger of the two towers twists 209 degrees from the base to the top. The curving shape of the buildings is unique: in most towers, all but two of the floors are exactly the same, in “Marilyn Monroe” none of them are.

Absolute World Residential Condominiums

  • Alternative names: The Marilyn Monroe Towers
  • Location: 50-60 Absolute Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Construction: 2010 – 2012
  • Owner: Fernbrook Homes, Cityzen Development Group
  • Height: Tower 1: 179.5m (589ft); Tower 2: 161.2m (529ft)
  • Storeys: Tower 1: 56 floors; Tower 2: 50 floors
  • Lifts/elevators: Tower 1: 6; Tower 2: 6
  • Architect: MAD Architects; Burka Architects
  • Developer: Fernbrook Homes, Cityzen Development Group
  • Structural engineer: Sigmund Soudack & Associates
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