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Absolute Towers – The Marilyn Monroe Towers

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bridge-city-goes-undergroundAbsolute Towers is a set of five residential towers in the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Construction of three of the towers was completed in 2008.

The last two blocks, Absolute Word 1 and Absolute World 2, are set to be unveiled soon. The two towers are also known as the ‘Condo Couple’.

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Built by Ontario builders Fernbrook Homes in collaboration with Toronto developer Cityzen Development Group, Absolute Condos is a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex in the five tower glass, concrete and steel luxury Absolute City Centre development in Mississauga, opposite the Square One shopping mall.

The residential towers fan out from a 30,000ft² private recreation centre. The Absolute Condos development is on the north-east corner of the crossroads of Hurontario Street and Burnhamthope Road, a gateway to the Mississauga town centre.

This location has enabled MAD Architects’ design for the final two towers to directly address visitors and others travelling into the city. In describing their design, principals of MAD, Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano and Dang Qun have said that Mississauga, a fast-developing suburb in orbit around Canada’s largest city Toronto, sought a new and unique identity that best explains her own characters. The Condo Couple will have a continuous balcony around the entire skyscraper in place of the commonly used vertical barriers.

The buildings make different angles at different levels to provide a 360° view to each unit. Just two years after being founded, MAD Architects won first prize in an international competition in 2006 to design phase IV of the Absolute Towers. Phase IV is 56 storeys (170m) high making for a total 45,000m² of floor space, dubbed Absolute World

1. Absolute World 2

The design was so admired that the studio was commissioned to design a sister building, Absolute World 2, next door. Absolute World 2 or phase V, the fifth tower of the project, will incorporate 50 storeys and be 150m high, boasting a total floor space of 40,000m².

However, unlike Absolute World 1, the second, more northern tower will be wider in the ‘waist’. MAD said part of the idea was to evoke the city dwellers’ desire for nature, exposing them to the sensuality of sunlight and wind. The curvy, wraparound balconies, accessible from all principal rooms, offer maximum light. Each tower is crowned with a residents-only terrace and lounge.

“Our design expresses the universal language of audacity, sensuality and romance. As the new landmark of the city of Mississauga, it will become the icon of the present landscape with all its twisting rhythms resembling the human body,” they said.

Building structure

The three older towers are complementary, but less curvaceous. The first Absolute apartment block features 850ft² two-bedroom apartments while the second, A², has 850ft² to 1,260ft² two-bedroom apartments, mostly with balconies. Building three, the Club Tower, ranges from 765ft² two-bedroom apartments with an additional 60ft² balcony to 1,250ft² three-bedroom-plus-den penthouses with an additional 92ft² of balcony.

Absolute World 1 offers five different floor plans for two-bedroom apartments – 755ft² to 1,030ft² in size, all with large 155ft² to 280ft² balconies.

There will be six levels of underground parking. The material used for the façade in the construction is aluminium and the colour is blue.


Construction of the last two towers started in 2007 when Burka Varacalli Architects was hired by MAD as a local partner. The construction was planned to be completed in 2010. By January 2010, 22 storeys of the first tower were completed. Start of construction for the 150 m high, 50-storey counterpart in the north took place a few months later.

For its realisation, PERI designed a spectacular and extremely cost-effective climbing variant. As the rotation of the elliptical-shaped floors is a constant 4° in each case here, the RCS protection panel itself uniformly turns in an upward direction.

In addition, the climbing rails are inclined at an angle of 26° to the vertical and connected to the storey slabs by means of RCS system climbing shoes and project-specific modified slab shoes. Likewise, the RCS units are climbed hydraulically – moving with the crane would not be possible due to the inclined climbing track.

That this unique climbing method is possible with the RCS rail climbing system as well as being applicable in construction site conditions was proven beforehand by PERI engineers with corresponding calculations along with a test set-up. The two towers, budgeted at a total US$1.3 billion, aim to manifest potential power while making a statement to the surrounding area and social context, according to MAD.

Marilyn Monroe´s Canadian hip swing Mississauga is situated to the west of Toronto in the province of Ontario. With 700,000 inhabitants, it is the sixth-largest city in Canada. Absolute World, with the two dominant towers, provides the city with a completely new, modern face.

In Canada, the attractive undulating sequence of curves featured on the southern high-rise building has resulted in it being given the nickname of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ by the enthusiastic local population.

Beijing-based MAD Architects saw fit to embrace not only a global trend for curvaceous skyscrapers, but also for satellite developments to express the town’s individuality.

Project team

Client: Fernbrook Homes
Architect: MAD Studio, Beijing, with Burka Varacalli Architects
Associate Architects: Burka Varacalli Architects
Principals: Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano, Dang Qun
Design Team: D Shen Jun, Robert Groessinger, Florian Pucher,Yi Wenzhen, Hao Yi , Yao Mengyao, Zhao Fan, Liu Yuan, Zhao Wei, Li Kunjuan,Yu Kui, Max Lonnqvist, Eric Spencer
Interior Designer: Esqape Design
Construction Manager: Cityzen Development Corporation, Canada
Developer: Cityzen Development Corporation with builder Fernbrook Homes
Electrical Engineering: ECE Group
Landscape Architect: NAK Design
Mechanical Engineering: ECE Group
Structural Engineering :Sigmund Soudack & Associates

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