Posts tagged with "Toronto":

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3XN rethinks high-rise living in Toronto

Danish firm 3XN have unveiled plans for a 43-story residential high-rise in Toronto's Church and Wellesley district. Following multiple roundtable discussions with the surrounding community, the office has proposed a design that tries to address many of the problems with towers: it reaches out to the street, breaks up its mass into distinct "villages," and encourages outdoor activity. "It was clear to us that we had to design something that could animate the corner," said 3XN Creative Director Kim Herforth Nielsen. The tower's partially-glazed podium, facing the intersection of Church and Wellesley Streets, is split into two levels, forming an open, balconied plaza with a grand stair meant to encourage community gatherings. Above this, the building, clad in a combination of recessed glass and flush golden-hued metal panels, is divided into four separate masses, with setbacks above the 8th, 13th and 19th floors creating transition zones that divide the building visually and programmatically. Amenity spaces, connected with wraparound terraces, will include a lounge, theater room, saunas, fitness and yoga areas. Construction is set to begin next year and the estimated completion year is 2021. 3XN is also designing a condominium in Toronto's Inner Harbor, with a stepped profile to create a series of outdoor terraces.
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Google’s Sidewalk Labs emerges as top contender for Toronto waterfront project

What happens when urban planning decisions fall into the hands of tech companies? This is a question that has been asked with increasing frequency as driverless cars, data-driven urban interventions, and "smart cities" have insinuated themselves into the daily news cycle. This week, it was reported that Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation startup under Google's parent company Alphabet, has emerged as the top contender to tackle a major new urban development project in Canada. Waterfront Toronto, a government-funded corporation operating in of Canada's most populous city, has selected Sidewalks Labs for Quayside, a project which aims to rework 12 acres along Old Toronto's inner harbor into mixed-use space including residential development, of which 20 percent must be affordable. Quayside is part of Toronto Waterfront's mission to adapt nearly 1,977 acres around the city's port to modern use. Waterfront Toronto has been upfront about their tech-focused approach to the redevelopment project. In the competition's RFP, they announced the project was to be "a test bed for how we construct the future city" focused on "forward-thinking urban design and new technologies to create people-first neighborhoods." Sidewalk Labs seems to match these requirements, with projects like the Link NYC wi-fi kiosks now dotting the streets of New York's five boroughs, which is managed by a new Sidewalk-managed company called Intersection. Much like their (and Google's) parent company Alphabet Inc., one of Sidewalk's approaches has been to function as a kind of business incubator for organizations dealing with topic-specific urban interventions. Among their other projects, Cityblock Health addresses urban space as a determinant for public health and Semaphore Lab prototypes adaptive traffic lights. Sidewalk's slogan, "We're reimagining cities from the internet up," may provoke unease among urban planners or socially-minded architects – language is telling, and this catchphrase is notably people-less. Even when addressing issues like affordable housing, urban congestion, and health, solutions based on predictive algorithms rather than human experience can engender healthy skepticism. Waterfront Toronto, now in a self-imposed "blackout period" as they finalize the process, expects to make a formal announcement sometime this fall. The board has a scheduled meeting on October 20th to decide on the staff recommendation.
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Color on a concrete highway

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Situated about 20 miles outside of downtown Toronto, the Albion Library has historically been one of the city’s busiest libraries. In need of repairs, the facility was initially slated to be closed and renovated. After a series of consultations and community meetings, the project—led by Perkins + Will Canada—was rethought as a ground-up project.  The outcome is a new 35,000-square-foot square-shaped building punctuated by courtyard gardens and interior pavilions. The perimeter is defined by a screen of polychrome terra cotta tiles in bright, unexpected colors, helping to contrast the monotone concrete context that surrounds the site.
  • Facade Manufacturer NBK Ceramic (terra cotta); Triumph Aluminum & Sheet Metal Inc. (metal panel)
  • Architects Perkins+Will Canada
  • Facade Installer Triumph Aluminum
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame with heavy timber Douglas fir purlins and beams; structural cedar decking; structural steel studs with terra cotta rain screen and curtain wall
  • Products Aerloc Industries Inc. (curtain wall); Triumph Aluminum & Sheet Metal Inc. (metal panel); NBK Keramik GmbH & Co. (terra cotta); Geotone GT000s by Geometrik Manufacturing Inc. (acoustic wood panels)
Andrew Frontini, design director of Perkins+Will Canada, said the project team conceptualized the library as an urban oasis. “We wanted to create a colorful perimeter fence that lifts up to let people in. This screen speaks to both the richness of the community and offerings within the library. The idea of using color and very fine texture as something that materializes and dematerializes led us to use terra cotta." The architects said one of the challenges of the project was resolving two distinctly different facade systems to produce a cohesive wall wrapper that clads walls and screens outdoor spaces as it wraps the square volume of the building. “The challenge was to get everything to align, and to achieve a consistency of detailed expressions when in fact we were dealing with two very different systems." The primary wall assembly is a terra cotta rain screen composed of vertically-oriented hollow-cell tongue-and-groove planks around 3/4-inch thick. These planks are finished in an unglazed beige gray coloration, which acts as a background "field" for more colorfully glazed terra cotta baguettes that are mechanically fastened into a rhythmic patterning on the facade. The terra cotta cladding is mounted on stainless steel clips that provide attachment to a Z-girt system. About one inch beyond the terra cotta cladding sits a conventional rain screen assembly composed of rigid insulation, a vapor barrier, and sheathing over structural steel studs. At the courtyards, a second facade assembly picks up the terra cotta. Upper and lower flashing from the rain screen continues to this screen system, providing visual continuity between the two systems. This screen is composed of two-inch terra cotta baguettes set about two inches apart. The terra cotta is attached back to a steel HSS frame, set precisely to maintain a coplanar finish of terra cotta around the perimeter of the building. The framing allowed for terra cotta to be clad on both the exterior and interior side, which allowed for a more finished look to the courtyards for people using the library. Frontini said the project team very purposefully selected colors for the terra cotta. "We were looking at an array of colors that would be evocative of a floral garden. We wanted something that wasn't immediately apparent in the existing landscape—colors that were distinct from the urban setting, and vibrant so that in the winter the colors would help to animate the interior." Within the framed rain screen assembly, a series of punched windows are camouflaged as continuous vertical ribbons of glass by employing spandrel panels above and below the window opening. Below the terra cotta cladding assembly, which forms a sloped datum as it shifts upward to produce corner entries, a curtain wall system is utilized. This creates a nearly continuous band of transparent glazing around the perimeter of the library. Larger expanses of curtain wall are also employed to the interior side of the courtyards, helping to produce a more transparent separation between library and garden. Low-level radiant heating set into a recessed trench system is located at the curtain wall, helping to produce a draft stop and provide heating to patrons situated at furniture along the perimeter. Above, the library roofscape helps to manage stormwater through a green roof system that partially covers the roof, and through sloped areas which direct water into the landscaped courtyards below. "I find that the courtyards are quite magical,” said Frontini. “These pockets of greenery and color bring light deep into the building. Because of these spaces, it's very hard to be far from a window even though you are sitting in a 35,000-square-foot square."
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Jeanne Gang is designing her first project in Canada, a mixed-use tower in Toronto’s Yonge + St. Clair

Chicago architect Jeanne Gang has been hired to design her first project in Canada, a residential tower in Toronto’s Yonge + St. Clair neighborhood, with retail space at street level.
The client is Slate Asset Management, which owns ten properties in the neighborhood and is working to rejuvenate it with public art, vibrant streetscapes, and first-rate design. Slate and Gang’s office, Studio Gang, announced this month that the residential tower will be at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Delisle Avenue. The project is the latest in a series of high-profile commissions by Slate, including an eight-story mural by international street artist Phlegm. The tower will be Studio Gang’s first building in Canada, and it’s part an effort by Slate to reimagine Yonge + St. Clair. Known for her Aqua Tower in Chicago, one of the world’s tallest buildings by a woman-led design team, Gang received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award in 2011. She has been named to receive an honorary fellowship from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in May. The ceremony will be part of the Institute’s Festival of Architecture in Ottawa from May 24 to 27, and Gang will give the festival’s keynote address. “Yonge + St. Clair is on its way back. Having occasion to bring Studio Gang’s first project in Toronto to the neighborhood signals to the rest of the city that we would like to create something special here,” said Brandon Donnelly, Vice President of Development at Slate Asset Management, in a statement.
“As our practice’s relationship with Canada grows, we’re excited to explore Toronto and to understand the unique DNA of the Yonge + St. Clair neighborhood,” said Gang. “We hope to design a building that will strengthen relationships within the neighborhood and the city.”According to the development team’s announcement, Studio Gang will work with Slate to organize a “public consultation” this spring to gather community input before making a design submission to the city. According to the developers, the final building will be primarily rental, with retail space at grade, in keeping with Slate’s long-term vision for the area. While the design for the building has not been finalized, Donnelly said, a couple of decisions have already been made.“It’s not going to be a typical all-glass tower,” he said, citing a need to introduce material variety into Toronto’s skyline. “We want to push boundaries in terms of sustainability and building efficiency, which means we are thinking carefully about the building envelope and its materials.” The Studio Gang commission will be the first ground-up tower in the area by Slate, which controls all four corners of the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair.The decision to commission Studio Gang was made after a selection process that emphasized design methodology, site context, and Slate’s aspirations for world-class architecture and a fresh vision.
Yonge + St. Clair is a transit-rich area with a subway and dedicated streetcar tracks, but it is also a short walk from some of the city’s most admired neighborhoods and a ravine system that offers direct access to quiet green space. The juxtaposition of natural and built environments is expected to serve as inspiration for the project. “There is a hill that crests at Yonge + St. Clair, which means the... site acts as both a pedestal and a view terminus from way uptown,” said Donnelly “The challenge will be to develop a building worthy of being showcased, but we feel confident that we have the right team in place to do just that.”
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Just three concrete panel forms created this dramatic facade in Toronto

Often times, precast concrete is synonymous with monotonous architecture, but not in the case of Batay-Csorba Architect’s new 32,000-square-foot boutique office building in Toronto’s Liberty Village neighborhood. Dubbed "(Misfit)fit," the project consists of flexible office spaces spread over four of the building’s six stories, with retail space on the ground floor and a rooftop sculpture garden and event space that frames dramatic views of the Toronto skyline. When choosing the material for (Misfit)fit, the architects wished to add to the presence of precast concrete in the Toronto area without directly replicating previous examples. They chose, instead, to look within the Liberty Village neighborhood and found inspiration in the area's historic factory buildings. The articulation of brick along the openings and roof lines of these historic structures embodied the economy of mass production without the monotony that often plagues precast concrete structures. In order to create similar articulation on this facade, Batay-Csorba utilized modern fabrication techniques to create molds for two unique panels. Both of the larger panels were then divided into six sub-panels, which could be removed to create openings in the facade. With this system of panels and sub-panels, the architects were able to use a minimal number of molds to create maximum variety in a system similar to the historic bricks they studied. The stacked panels shift and rotate to create a definitive pattern that reads as unified but not monolithic. As the architects describe in their press release:
As panels are confronted with one another, their incompatibility is abrupt and glaringly obvious, allowing each element to be read independently against the larger mass. Individual edges and profiles are pronounced, reading not as a singularity but as a rough stacking of objects that have found their equilibrium.
(Misfit)fit stands with the weightiness of concrete and the variety of a brick system, a compilation of misfits working in harmony.
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Major expansion and upgrade planned for Toronto’s Moss Park

MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA), Public Studio, and West 8 have unveiled new plans for Moss Park in Toronto, expanding existing programs, facilities, and green space. The plan for the 366,000-square-foot park, stemming from conversations with over 1,800 community members, focuses on a public commons surrounded by programmed buildings, landscapes, and art. This new organization will provide 5 percent more park space, 175 more trees, a little league baseball diamond, extensive seating, a new elevated walking path, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and an outdoor skating pad. Along with a variety of ties to the surrounding city, the park will have a strong connection to the nearby Allen Gardens. The project team is currently writing a feasibility study report to be presented to the City Council this winter, with community consultations to be held in 2017.

Architect: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA), Public Studio, and West 8 Client: City of Toronto, The 519 Location: Toronto
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Stacking boxes in downtown Toronto

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  Sharing a downtown Toronto city block with the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design, 12 Degrees is a mid-rise urban infill project that employs a plan rotation strategy to produce a “stacked box” massing effect. The 90-unit, 11-story condo building fits tightly into a compact urban infill lot that measures just over 100 by 100 feet. The tower’s base interfaces with the nearby Victorian homes characteristic of historic Grange Park—a residential neighborhood consisting of housing stock ranging from semi-detached townhouses to mansions constructed in the 1800s. Set at three stories tall to match neighboring historic masonry homes, the ledgerock-clad base of the tower features a repetitive set of two-story tall projecting bays clad in black zinc. Beyond the base of the tower, the upper stories are composed of three sets of offset plans, including a rotated glass-clad mid-section. All of the upper floors are clad in a unitized dark gray aluminum window wall system with prefinished aluminum soffit panels. One of the benefits of the system, which can be installed in buildings up to 50 stories high, is that the glass panels can be installed from the interior. Outdoor terraces are located opportunistically in areas where a plan has shifted or rotated. These exterior spaces are contained by glass guardrails with a panelization that—from below—is camouflaged into the composition of the elevation.
  • Facade Manufacturer Primeline Windows and Doors
  • Architects CORE Architects
  • Facade Installer Primeline Windows and Doors
  • Facade Consultants SPL Consultants Limited
  • Location Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System reinforced concrete
  • Products Unitized dark grey aluminum window wall prefinished aluminum soffit panels.  ‘Manganese Ironspot’ Brick w/ black precast coping.  ‘Wiarton Black’ Limestone, ‘Anthrazic’ zinc panels.  ‘Ipe’ wood canopy, entry/TH doors, pool deck and trellis
Charles Gane, principal at CORE Architects, said the massing strategy of the building was picked up early on by LA Ads, a Toronto-based marketing and communications firm. “The marketing team came up with a whole series of things—stacks of objects with one item rotated. This became a constant theme throughout the project." Gane said the wood-clad main entrance to the building was particularly successful: "The rotation suggests the building opens up at the corner.” The desire to minimize the impact of the facade through careful compositional games and material selections is due in large part to the building's location within a largely residential neighborhood that continues to attempt a balance between a park-like setting of historic homes and larger civic-scaled institutions. Despite a daylight-absorbing matte-black zinc-clad facade finish and multiple facade setbacks, regulatory agencies shaved four stories off the overall building height prior to construction. A reinforced concrete slab system accommodates column offsets with thickened slabs in selective areas. The construction system allows for floor plates that average 10 units per floor and a penthouse level that cantilevers over lower level floors. Every floor that changes has to accommodate a one-foot offset for building systems that must shift and reroute to adjust to the skewed plan layout, which remained orthogonal to the facade. 12 Degrees has been shortlisted in the “housing” category for the World Architecture Festival Awards, which will be helpful in Berlin this upcoming November. This is the second time in the past three years that CORE has produced a shortlisted entry (Six50 King in 2014 being the other project). 12 Degrees is up against BIG, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, among others.
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City of Toronto to build 21-acre park over downtown railroad tracks

Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced plans to protect 21 acres of downtown real estate for the future Rail Deck Park. The park will be placed on top of an existing rail corridor. According to the city, this may be the last opportunity to create a public park for the city's expanding downtown population. According to the Ontario Ministry of Finance, greater Toronto's population is projected to increase by over 2.8 million, or 42.9 percent, in the next 25 years. The population of downtown Toronto is expected to double. Public improvements like this proposed park take an important step toward preparing the city for a long-term population boom. This announcement comes as part of Toronto's TOCore initiative, which is set up to ease downtown into this more populated future. TOCore is a long-range plan to create infrastructure and amenities to accommodate a significantly higher population density. Among the planned improvements are more options for bike commuting, new community facilities, and, of course, new parks. "Great cities have great parks. As Toronto grows, we need to take bold action to create public space and make sure we build a city that makes future generations proud,” said Mayor Tory in a press release. “This is our last chance to secure a piece of land that could transform the way we experience our city.” The park will be built on what is now Toronto's western rail corridor, on a site that spans from Blue Jays Way to Bathurst Street. No other details are available yet. Toronto will follow in the footsteps of Chicago's Millennium Park, Philadelphia's University City, and Hudson Yards in Manhattan by capping a rail yard to make room for new development.
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A casino and mixed-used development will fill one of Toronto’s last, large undeveloped sites

A group of U.S. firms have  been selected to help design one of Toronto's major undeveloped sites, a 683-acre property where a mixed-use urban neighborhood will be built. These include the Laguna Beach, California-based office of SWA Group, San Francisco-based BCV Architects, and New York-based Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates. The site—about 1.5 miles north of Toronto's Pearson International Airport—is currently owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group; the development will be built around the existing Woodbine Racetrack, which hosts live horse races four days a week. The group's gaming offerings will be the focus of the development, and a new casino will join the racetrack on the site. Woodbinem, who's working with development consultant Live Work Learn Play, will also add biking and walking trails, retail and restaurants, and housing. The project will also experiment with growing feed on the premises for its resident thoroughbred horses. Planning will take place over the next six months, while construction might be a decades-long process.
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PARTSIANS transforms power plant into venue for Toronto’s Luminato Festival

Toronto’s 10th Luminato Festival will #TurnOnTheHearn from now until June 26. To host the festival, Toronto-based architecture firm PARTISANS, in collaboration with theater and acoustics consultancy Charcoalblue, have repurposed the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station as a cultural center. The 400,000-square-foot space now serves a variety of purposes, including housing galleries, theaters, and cafes. A drone video captures the Hearn transformed: One of the exhibits—dubbed Trove: A View of Toronto in 50 of its Treasures and curated by Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jörn Weisbrodt—features fifty photographs by Toronto-based artist Scott McFarland of treasured objects and artworks from the city's private and public collections, The images are adhered onto the sides of the building. "Trove is like looking in a rear view mirror only the reflection reveals objects rarely before seen and stories yet untold," the press release states. PARTISANS designed a virtual gallery for Trove accessed via an augmented reality app “TheHearnAR." The app was developed by PARTISANS and Norm Li Studios; the duo also developed a video game to #PlayTheHearn that permits the exploration of the space and festival. PARTISANS has set up a temporary studio in the Hearn where it can engage with visitors and produce 3D models of the power plant and surrounding Port Lands. The models, created with the help of Ryerson University design students, will be a part of PARTISANS & Friends: Pop-Up Studio I & II, a two-part studio session in which designers and guests will imagine the future of Toronto. The discussion will range from the city’s infrastructure and architecture to its cultural and economic success. Guests will include: Halifax-based architecture firm Omar Gandhi, Toronto-based architecture firm UUfie, Luminato Festival Art Director Jörn Weisbrodt, and Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher.
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3XN to design its first North American project

Copenhagen-based 3XN has been named as the designers of a new condominium building on Toronto’s Inner Harbor. The new condos will be part of the $1.1 billion Waterfront Toronto masterplan development. The 13 acre masterplan is focused on redeveloping Queens Quay East in the East Bayfront neighborhood. This is the third housing project developed by international developer Hines in the Waterfront Toronto masterplan. Their first project, Aqualina and Aquavista, were both designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica. For the 3XN project, Hines is teaming up with Toronto-based real estate experts Tridal. Toronto-based Kirkor Architects will serve as the architect of record. The 3XN design is characterized by two stepped forms; the project's L-shape maximizes views of the river and downtown while admitting ample natural light to the ground-level public areas. The two wings of the project are connected by a seventh floor amenity space. 3XN architect Kim Herforth Nielsen described the design in a press release: "The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighboring parks, and the city skyline." He also added, "While the stepped L-shape form provides a sculptural quality to the building, the large garden terraces, are the hallmark of the design." The Danish firm was selected after a competition. Hines Bayside Program Director Michael Gross explained the selection of 3XN. “It was quickly clear to the selection committee that 3XN had not only presented a compelling design, but also one that understood the site's importance to the City and the revitalization of the waterfront; the singular opportunities created by its location along the water's edge; and the market demands of Toronto's sophisticated condominium consumer." This will be 3XN’s first North American project.
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Private company proposes cable-car system for Toronto

Toronto's Don Valley could be set for a cable car network connecting the downtown district to the greener area around Evergreen Brick Works. The project has private backing from a Swiss-Canadian company. Steven Dale, CEO of Bullwheel International Cable Car, sees the scheme as bridging the gap for the last leg of the journey to get to the Brick Works, which is currently only accessible via a shuttle bus on public transport or by personal vehicle. According to Next City, the Brick Works sees 500,000 visitors arrive each year by car. The added infrastructure could potentially boost the local farmers market and see an increase in use at the children's garden and event areas as well the general area itself which offers a welcome break from urban life with parks and trails. Going over, rather than around or under, appears to be the preferred solution for swift access to the environmental center that is awkwardly sprawled across one of Toronto's ravines. Dale argues that the proposal isn't about developing infrastructure. He maintains that the cable car's primary function would be recreational, viewed and used as a civic landmark, able to offer views over the ravine.  The system would also see no state interference, being privately run and funded. Dale hypothesizes that a journey would cost around $10 to non-locals with the entire scheme estimated at requiring $25 million to fund. As for the network itself, six towers, constructed on state land across the ravine will allow up to 42 cable cars to travel back and forth, travelling from the Brick Works in Don Valley down to Playter Gates in Downtown.
The company added that each gondola would come tooled with a bike rack to facilitate cyclists as well as other measures being in place to accommodate disabled access. "I don’t know why we’d reject any means of getting people around," Dale said. “We’re trying to come to grips with what kinds of ways we can provide people greater access to the ravines without being too obtrusive … The concept of a cable car that goes through some land that is beautiful and scenic is very appealing." Despite the audacious scheme, no planning proposals have yet been submitted to the city authorities. That said, the Don Valley Cable Car project will host a meeting on March 8 by the proposed station location at Broadway and Danforth to provide further information to locals.