Architecture Press Release | May 19, 2022
Toronto’s “Greater Golden Horseshoe”, an exurban belt surrounding the city, was for a decade in the early 2000’s the home of municipalities with the fastest population growth in Canada. Much of the development was based on land intensive detached houses. Today this region is entering a new phase of growth that prioritizes curbing sprawl, protecting green open space and encouraging intensification. Our residential condominium project is at the vanguard of this emerging phenomenon. The 2.5-hectare site ticks all the boxes- the existing building stock is a single-storey car-oriented retail plaza; the site is located along an underutilized arterial road that has been earmarked as a future infrastructure corridor.
Proposed at 6.46FSI, the density of our project is a model for development that addresses the housing shortage while at the same time establishing an environmentally responsible benchmark for preserving open space. Our design will have six towers and their associated five and 9-storey podiums. The massing and spatial configuration introduces the legibility of streets-and-blocks urbanism, establishing a repeatable pattern that forms the nucleus for an entire urban district.
The heart of the project is a tree-lined boulevard consisting of a 20-meter-wide right-of-way, with a 9-meter carriageway running down the middle sharing space, 3-meter landscaped flanking strips, 2-meter-wide sidewalks and a .5-meter buffer strip. The two flanking buildings closest to the main road have retail uses at the base, and so there is an additional 1.5-meter setback with attractive pavement enhancements.
Above the retail base, the condominium towers are 35 and 45 storeys. The back towers furthest from the main street are 16 storeys with grade-related townhouses providing a transition to the adjacent residential neighbourhood.
The total development is 161,391 square meters, adding 2,080 residential units to this area. Approximately 50% of the units are one bedroom and 25% are units with two bedrooms + den. The remaining 25% of the project is a mix of studios, three-bedroom units and townhouses. The range of units is intended to foster diversity and inclusivity, accommodating new households, empty nesters and other population demographics that previously had little choice in this area.
The towers typically have 1,200 square meter floor plates with 12 units, which makes slender masses that minimize overshadowing of open spaces. These towers are wrapped with architecturally distinctive strips of balcony. These curvilinear balcony-ribbons soften the profile of the towers, creating an organic sculptural presence in place of the typical boxiness of this type of development. The design intention is to introduce a high level of architectural sophistication that enhances the status of this emerging neighbourhood.
Once a byword for wild west suburban sprawl of detached houses, the area of the Greater Golden Horseshoe is now poised to enter a new phase of growth through well planned urbanization. This project is the first out of the gate in its area for this transformation. Our proposal introduces contextually sensitive massing onto a nascent pattern of streets-and-blocks, establishing typologies that can be replicated on adjacent sites to create a coherent urban precinct. At the same time, the forms and materials of the project impart a distinctive identity to this development, setting a high architectural bar to evolve into a highly desirable mixed-use neighbourhood offering a much-needed expansion of the range of housing options.
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