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Pan Am architecture here today, gone tomorrow

While Toronto’s HOV traffic lanes have attracted the most attention (and ire), they’re not the only temporary infrastructure the Pan/Parapan American Games are bring to Toronto this summer.

There’s the Athlete’s Village, which isn’t all that temporary since those units will eventually be condos and student residences, and CIBC Pan Am Park, which will scatter tents and other structures across Exhibition Place. But other venues not directly related to the Games are also springing up all over the city.

The Aboriginal Pavillion at Fort York’s Garrison Common will feature an Indigenous music and arts festival hosted by the 14 member ALP (Aboriginal Leadership Partners). One of the largest footprints of any Pan Am arts festival, the pavillion will also host sports events and food vendors.

Meanwhile, up in The Village, PrideHouse’s activities at The 519 and Barbara Hall Park will overflow onto the street during two weekends of the Games, with space for sporting activities and drinking (nice combination!) on Church Street.

But the brashest and most playful temporary structure will likely be the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation’s Celebration Zone at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Designed by Hariri Pontarini and built by Tektoniks, a UK company founded by a Canadian, the two huge white inflatable arches on Queen’s Quay will host 38 days of arts and cultural programming. The larger of the two structures, about 50 feet high, can hold 1,400 people, while the smaller one, open on the front and looking out over the waterfront, can hold about 300 people. They’re made of a recyclable PVC textile and filled with Ontario air.

“It’s really going to dominate the landscape,” says Ronald Holgerson, president and CEO of OTMPC. “We’re really excited about it. We knew we wanted to create something that was complementary to the 2015 Games and also showcase artists early in their careers.

Holgerson describes the space as “a sponsorship free zone,” though it will showcase different regions of Ontario hoping to attract Pan Am visitors this summer—and beyond.

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Ronald Holgerson

City votes on major development of historic King & Portland site

This week, city council considers amending bylaws for a development between King and Adelaide streets on Portland that would demolish and replace rental housing.

Allied REIT and RioCan, which jointly purchased a number of properties on the block for a reported $22 million in 2012 are combining them into a single 61,608-square-foot development that would contain a mixed-use office, retail and residential complex with approximately 400,000 square feet of gross floor space.

Prior to granting the zoning requested by the developers, the city is requiring a conservation plan for 499 and 505 Adelaide Street West, 1 and 11 Adelaide Place and the Parisian Laundry Building at 602-604 King Street West; a heritage easement; and an agreement to improve infrastructure. Benefits under Section 37 would total $350,000 spread among community services and facilities, streetscape improvements along Portland Street, rental housing in the ward and contributions toward the Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) capital fund for repairs.

The developer is also expected to replace existing eight existing rental units in two townhouses, as well as two other rental units that will be lost during construction, providing rental housing for as much as 20 years, 10 years of that affordable for some units. Six other rental units will be retained. Tenants would be entitled to relocation assistance.

“Though the owner has stated an intention to initially provide the residential units in the new apartment building as market rental housing, they also intend to seek condominium registration for that building,” states the staff report on the issue. “As a result, the owner preferred to secure the eight rental units in the four existing house-form buildings being retained, and did not wish to provide for any of them in the new residential building.”

The developers are proposing a 16-storey residential building fronting on Adelaide Street West and a 14-storey office building fronting on King Street West with retail uses at street level. The residential portion would include 116 residential units, while the office office building would have a gross floor area 23,041 square metres.

“The fact that the site extends from Adelaide Street West through to King Street West creates an opportunity to provide mid-block pedestrian connections through the site,” states the community council staff report from May. “The application proposes that these at-grade pedestrian laneway connections might also be used as courtyards to enhance the use of this space by the public.”

Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Toronto City Council; RioCan

New industrial incubator slated for Dufferin development

Toronto City Council has accepted a compromise from Markham-based SiteLine Group that would provide light industrial space in proposed condo development to make up for the demolition of a Dufferin Street building where more than 150 people currently work.
As Yonge Street wrote earlier this month, SiteLine plans to erect a large mixed-use complex at 390-444 Dufferin Street, where a low-rise industrial space now provides a home to small enterprises like the Akin Collective, the Brockton Collective, Canadian Salvage Timer and Design Republic. The city had originally rejected the proposal because it turns designated employment lands into mostly residential lands.
Facing an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing this week, SiteLine offered a compromise that would dedicate about 18,000 square feet of the development to light industrial uses, with a separate loading dock, elevators and HVAC in the north section of the complex. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of employment space in the existing building. A portion of that space would be part of a city-run small-business incubator providing below-market rents, a new concept from the city’s Economic Development department. The original incubator offer was for 10 years. The remainder of the proposed two-building, three-tower development would be comprised of 369 residential units.
That offer raised the ire of some attendees at a community meeting earlier this month. Residents said they were losing more than they were gaining, and worried that just 10 years of an incubator would not be enough to jumpstart businesses in the area. So the city continued to negotiate with SiteLine. Late last week the two parties struck a deal that would increase the lifespan of the incubator to 25 years.
“We’re not happy about how it’s ended, but there is a bit of a consolation prize in this incubator and that the city’s Economic Development department is keen to proceed with that,” says Charles Campbell, a member of the Active 18 Community Association, which was granted party status at the OMB hearings.
Active 18 had wanted SiteLine to at least double the amount of space dedicated to industrial employment because it was changing the official designation of the property, and because many of the existing tenants may not survive the transition.
“It’s not going to be as affordable as the old warehouse space and it’s going to be of a different sort,” says Campbell. “It’s not going to be dirty, messy, smelly kinds of work. It’ll be for more high-tech kinds of things. We’re losing jobs that we liked, but you have to figure into that that the city has no real ability to stop the developer from tearing down the existing building.”
SiteLine Group president Josh Silber said good compromises leave everyone a little unhappy, but is generally pleased with the outcome.

"We're excited to be partnering with the city to pioneer an incubator space that will help startups in Toronto," says Silber.

The company is now looking at options that will help take the project to market. Silber says it's too early to say when demolition and construction will begin. "We've got a lot of work we need to get done."
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Charles Campbell, Josh Silber

Dufferin development challenges city to maintain employment lands

City council must decide this week whether it will demand more of a developer that wants to tear down a light industrial building on Dufferin Street to erect three mostly residential towers.
The development application for 430-444 Dufferin Street has been in play since 2011 and would see a high-rise complex built on Dufferin between the railway tracks and Alma Street. The current proposal from Markham’s SiteLine Group, for two eight-storey towers and one 12-storey tower providing a total of 369 residential units, is slated to go to the Ontario Municipal Board on June 15.
At issue is whether SiteLine’s promise to include about 60,000 square feet of light industrial space over multiple floors of the north tower adequately makes up for the loss of an equivalent amount of light industrial space in the existing single-storey building. More than 150 people currently work there at enterprises such as the Akin Collective, the Brockton Collective, Canadian Salvage Timer and Design Republic. The property is zoned as employment lands and the city has opposed the application so far because it worries that losing real estate zoned for light industry will hurt the city’s long-term prosperity.
As a compromise, SiteLine put forward a proposal this month that would dedicate about half of the north tower to light industrial uses, providing a separate elevator, loading dock and HVAC system to separate the workshop spaces from the residential spaces. But at a community meeting last week, tenants of the existing building expressed concerns that they’d be able to afford the space in the new building and whether they’d be able to wait out the construction period, which could be years.
The city has persuaded SiteLine to dedicate a percentage of the industrial space to a business incubator. It’s a new concept for Toronto—and perhaps even for Canada—that would provide below-market space and other supports to nurture small-scale manufacturers, artisans and artists in the building.
“We want residents to be able to create in their own neighbourhood,” said Nirvana Champion, economic development officer at the City of Toronto, who presented the incubator concept to the community.
But attendees at the meeting were skeptical about the level of commitment—and the length of commitment—the developer was prepared to make to the incubator.
“This needs to be in perpetuity or for a long time,” said Ward 18 Councillor Ana Bailão, who called the community meeting. “If we make this building successful, there might be a better chance of another building [in the same employment lands area] doing the same thing.”
Council will vote this week on whether to accept SiteLine’s current proposal, which includes the incubator. If it votes yes, the project is expected to move ahead as proposed. If council votes against the proposal that’s on the table, the OMB will grapple with the case. “Honestly, it could go either way,” says Bailão, “but I think the community really needs to benefit from this.”
Writer: Paul Gallant
Sources: Ana Bailão, Nirvana Champion and Sarah Phipps

Revitalized Queens Quay gets final touches

With two-way traffic on Queens Quay finally opened this week, the downtown section of Waterfront Toronto’s pet project is about to be unveiled.
The ground broke on the revitalization of Queens Quay back in 2012, creating a mess of construction and detours along the waterfront for the last couple of summers. But the dust is about to clear to reveal new streetcar tracks and relocated roadways, as well as new bike lanes and snazzy pedestrian walkways. On June 19, the city will celebrate the official reopening of the stretch of Queens Quay between Bay Street and Spadina Avenue.
“We did a site walk with one of the [stakeholder] committees last week and it was overwhelming positive, people are excited about getting this street opened up and seeing this vision materialize,” says Mira Shenker, communications manager at Waterfront Toronto.
A few small fixes won’t be complete until after the Pan/Parapan Am Games. Toronto Hydro still has to install power cables into underground ducts. Until then, about 20 of the new 56 signature streetlights on Queens Quay will be temporarily replaced by aluminum poles and overhead powerlines, and six event power stations for the use by the Waterfront Business Improvement Area for events will be temporarily covered with boxes. Additional trees will get planted when Toronto Hydro is finished its work.
There’s even more good news for cyclists. The Martin Goodman Trail from Yo-Yo Ma’s Toronto Music Garden to Stadium Road, where cyclists can continue onto the existing trail through Coronation Park, will be open by the end of June.

Going east from Bay Street, Shenker says the Martin Goodman Trail along Queens Quay to Parliament should be open by early July, connecting to the existing trail that continues eastward.
“We just want to make sure that all the work at all the intersections is complete before we open the trail to traffic,” she says. “We’re addressing the lack of signage and potentially even fencing to indicate that the MGT is closed (for safety reasons) between Lower Sherbourne and Parliament until then.”
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Mira Shenker

Construction set to begin at Kingston&Co

With demolition almost complete, construction is expected to start soon on the Kingston&Co condos in Scarborough.
The eight-storey, 160-unit development from TAS is designed by Teeple Architects, the firm behind the Sherbourne Common Pavilion, Pachter House and the new GO Pedestrian Bridge in Pickering.  With the city calling for more mid-rise developments on Toronto’s main avenues, the condo would add a modern mid-rise touch to an otherwise mixed bag of buildings along Kingston Road in the Upper Beaches. A 2010 report identified the area as a particularly tricky place to turn into a comfy neighbourhood.
“The current retail function is not in the form of main-street type retail but rather in the form of plazas, malls and freestanding buildings, which are primarily vehicle dependent,” states the report. “This is the most difficult Avenue portion to plan for with particular concern regarding phasing of the developments and the ability for the mixed-use developments to support retail.”
Kingston&Co, which recently won a BILD Award for best suite design, takes over the site of the former Alpine Hotel, which closed in 2011. Unlike so many new downtown project, the building also aims to be family friendly, with larger unit sizes.
“There’s a shift in sensibility where people are choosing to live in multi-unit style neighbourhoods,” Mazyar Mortazavi, President and CEO of TAS, told participants at a BILD experts symposium at University of Toronto’s Innis College earlier this month. “People want to live in a village and at the heart of it is a community.”
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: TAS, City of Toronto

OMB hears settlement offer between city and Liberty Village developer

This week the Ontario Municipal Board will hear the details of a proposed settlement in a dispute over the development of a Liberty Village property that the city wants to designate as having special heritage value.
Kevric Real Estate Corporation wants to build a new eight-storey office building on Atlantic Avenue with retail and service commercial uses at grade. The existing five-storey office building (which spans addresses on Atlantic Avenue, Liberty Avenue, Hanna Avenue and Snooker Street) would be renovated for office uses, with retail and service commercial at the lower levels, while the existing boiler house on Liberty Street would be turned into a restaurant. Kevric originally proposed a new two-storey retail building at the corner of Hanna and Liberty, but has since offered to replace it with a POPS (Privately Owned Publicly-Accessible Spaces) as part of a compromise with the city.
The city says the development application includes a significant retail and restaurant component that does not conform to the Official Plan and has put forward an offer of settlement that would give the city a better say in how the property is redeveloped. Last month the city also filed notice to recognize the property at 40 Hanna as historically significant.
“The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company Complex (1905, with additions in 1907, 1912 and 1913) is an early 20th century industrial complex comprised of three attached factory buildings and a separate boiler house with a smokestack… valued as an important example of early 20th century industrial architecture in Toronto that is particularly distinguished by its scale, the vintage painted signage, and the landmark brick smokestack on the boiler house,” states the notice. “The associative value of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Factory is linked to its designers, particularly Henry Simpson, the versatile Toronto architect who received the commissions for the original factory (1905), the complementary addition (1907) and the detached boiler house and smokestack (1912) while completing other significant projects in the industrial area adjoining King and Dufferin (now Liberty Village).  The site is also associated with local architect J. L. Havill, who designed the large 1913 addition to the factory prior to his recruitment as the Imperial Oil Company's head designer.”
The property is already listed on the City of Toronto's Inventory of Heritage Properties, adopted by City Council on June 16, 2005. Kevric has already agreed to maintain the entire boiler house building with a glazed connection on two sides to the new eight-storey building, allowing for the boiler house to be viewed as a whole building.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: City Clerk’s Office

Temporary North St. Lawrence Market building nearing completion

The temporary North St. Lawrence Market will be open soon… south of the South St. Lawrence Market.
This month, workers are busy erecting a pre-fabricated steel-and-fabric building in the parking lot at 125 The Esplanade, that will be home to merchants and shoppers while the old market building is demolished and replaced.
Built in 1968 to replace a 1904 building, the existing single-storey building is no great beauty. The new $91-million building, designed by Adamson Associates Architects and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, will be five storeys at 120,000 square feet, and include provincial courts as well as a much fancier incarnation of the existing farmer’s market.
But that building is not expected to be complete until 2016. As well, an archeological dig will take place at the site between demolition and construction and may throw off the timeline.
Meanwhile, the temporary structure will be just 11,700 square feet and will include only the basics: an indoor water supply, washrooms, electricity, heating and air conditioning. Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins, communications consultant with the City of Toronto says both the farmer’s and antiques market will move into the temporary building. The 40 participants of the market’s cart program, who sold jewelry and crafts, are not so lucky; the program is suspended until the new permanent building open.
The hours of operation will remain the same: Saturdays from 5am to 3pm and Sundays from 5am to 5pm. During the weekdays, the space will be available to rent for other functions.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins

Former Global Village Backpackers gets heritage facelift

Over the past few weeks, passersby at King and Spadina have been watching a slow reveal as the ramshackled building at the northwest corner is restored to a version of its former glory.
The Global Village Backpackers hostel closed more than a year ago and now the former meeting place of the young and the restless is being turned into something much more professional and stylish. The 20,000-square-foot listed heritage property, acquired last summer by Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust, is being repurposed to host a marketing suite for The Well development, a café, a restaurant and offices for key tenant Konrad Group.
“It will be a spectacular space,” says Hugh Clark, vice president of development for Allied Properties.
Until now, the property’s been devoted to hospitality. Built as the Richardson House Hotel in 1875, it became the Falconer Hotel in 1906 and the Spadina Hotel in the 1920s, before eventually becoming Global Village Backpackers in 1997. The interior renovations will open up the small hotel rooms to become a grander commercial and office space, while the exterior renovations will restore a heritage look to both the southern and northern wings.
“The southern building in particular has many layers that have been added over the years, the most recent being the blue wood siding,” says Clark. “What you’ll see is when we’ve done the full restoration of the façade, the southern building will have more of a Tudor style. On the northern building we’ve already peeled off many layers of paint to expose the red-orange brick.”
Jedd Jones Architects did some of the design, while Gensler used historic photos to come up with the restoration plan for the wooden southern building.
The Well Joint Venture, a partnership between Allied, Diamond Corp. and RioCan, is expected to move into 3,000 square feet of the southern building in in June. Other tenants are expected to occupy the building this fall. Allied also plans to redevelop the surface parking lot immediately to the north of the building.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Hugh Clark

Landscape architects show off their outdoor ideas inside

Sometimes you have to go indoors to radically reimagine what can be done with the outdoors.
The Gladstone Hotel’s Grow Op, which opens Thursday for a four-day run, invites landscapers, gardeners, students, artists and place-makers of all sorts to explore how design can enhance the sustainability and the enjoyability of our outdoor urban spaces.
Certainly there’s increasing pressure to push the limits. Yards in newer urban developments are smaller, if they exist at all. Parks and other exterior spaces are getting squeezed amidst more and more intensive downtown development. So using the confines of hotels-sized lobbies and corridors to propose landscaping solutions and experiments is not such a farfetched idea.
“It’s an important challenge for designers of outdoor spaces,” says Victoria Taylor, who has curated this year’s exhibitions with Graham Teeple and the help of Britt Welter-Nolan. Principal at VTLA, Taylor one of the event’s cofounders. “Especially in Canada, we think we have so much outdoor space, we don’t do anything with it. But we should still consider the aesthetics, the ecology and even the economy of our outdoor spaces.”
Many artists who have shown during Grow Op’s three-year history have spread their wings beyond the confines of the hotel. The group Play the Walk, which advocate for exploring neighbourhoods with childlike delight, has hosted expeditions through different city spaces since Grow Op 2013. “They’re an alternative to Jane’s Walk that’s more ad hoc,” says Taylor.
This year, a group of students with the University of Toronto Master’s of Landscape program will exhibit bee-nest boxes they’ve designed for several specific species of bees. After the show, the boxes will go into community gardens across the city. “Then the science will start and the students will see if their designs will attract the bees they’ve designed it for,” says Taylor.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Victoria Taylor

Sherway Gardens joins other GTA malls in dash toward luxury

Five new retailers opening in Etobicoke’s Sherway Gardens shopping mall signal the early stages of the mall’s multi-phased, $550 million expansion.
“Preppy-bohemian luxe” US designer Tory Burch is first out of the gate. Cosmetics maker LUSH, shoe designer Vince Camuto, jewelry and watch retailer Thomas Sabo and Canadian fashion label Rudsak are also making their Etobicoke debuts over the next few weeks. Some of the stores will be located in the existing property while others will be in the most completed parts of the redevelopment.
“At Sherway Gardens we are writing the next chapter in retail and we are delighted to share our growing space with some of today's most influential brands,” stated Andy Traynor, the mall’s general manager. 
Sherway’s north expansion, set to open this September, will feature a new flagship Harry Rosen, a relocated Sporting Life and a new food court. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom will open stores there 2016 and 2017. The reboot will add an additional 210,000 square feet of retail space to the centre, bringing the total size to 1.3 million square feet.
But it’s not just Sherway that’s getting ritzier. As serious shoppers know, four of the GTA’s best known malls are currently in some sort of flux.
Sister Cadillac Fairview property, Toronto Eaton Centre, is also getting a Saks Fifth Avenue this fall and a Nordstrom store in the fall of 2016. Saks will bunk with Hudson’s Bay in the historic Queen and Yonge building, which is currently being renovated to make room. Nordstrom will share the old Sears space at the north end of the mall (formerly Eaton’s, if you’re keeping track) with other smaller retailers.
Another Nordstrom location will open at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, owned by Oxford Properties and Alberta Investment Management Corporation, as part of that mall’s $331 million expansion, which started in January 2014 and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016. About 25 smaller stores are also part of the expansion.
Not to be outdone, Mississauga’s Square One, owned by Oxford Properties, is expanding to the south, with 113,000 square feet devoted to the first Simons in Ontario and another 120,000 square feet for a flagship Holt Renfrew. That expansion, expected to be complete in the spring of 2016, will cost $237 million.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, Vanessa Jenkins

More than 40 years later, Robarts Library is getting its third pavilion

When the University of Toronto’s iconic John P. Robarts Library was completed in 1973, two pavilions flanked the enormous main building: the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and the Claude T. Bissell Building.
But on the Huron Street side, there was supposed to have been a third pavilion, which was never built.
When Diamond Schmitt Architects studied Robarts for the first phase of a $65-million renovation of Robarts—a phase which maximized the study space inside the triangle-shaped library and brought in more light—they uncovered breakout panels that were intended to connect to the unbuilt third pavilion on the loading dock side of the building.
“There is no plan that anybody can find anywhere, but there is a diagram in the opening-book brochure that shows a dotted line where that third pavilion was supposed to be,” says Gary McCluskie, a principal at Diamond Schmitt. “As part of that renovation work we started working on a plan for what could be built on that west side of the building.”
The discovery turned into an idea. The development application for the new Robarts Common expansion, about 56,000 square feet over five storeys, was filed earlier this month. And so more than 40 years later, Robarts will finally get its third pavilion.
But while original plan was for a 500-seat classroom/special events room, the new building will instead provide 1,222 seats of study space. The free-standing structure, which will connect to the main building via bridges over the loading dock, also shuns the brutal concrete architectural style that has made the original building so famous—or infamous, as the case may be. The five storeys will have a much more contemporary look that recognizes Robarts dramatic style without replicating it. Metal facets will mimic the metal on the existing building. There will be lots of glass, but blinds and fretting on the glass will reduce the amount of light that comes out of the building.
“What was really engaging about this project was finding the ways we could be similar so it fits in but is of our time today building for something that’s serving a new purpose,” says McCluskie.
Rest assured, since the new build is on the Huron Street side, the building’s striking resemblance to a turkey or peacock, when seen from the George Street side, won’t be affected.
If everything goes according to plan, construction could start next winter with an opening two years after that.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Sources: Gary McCluskie and Larry Alford
Photo Credit: University of Toronto

Winner of Jack Layton Ferry Terminal competition: Now the details

The ridiculously tight space between the Westin Harbour Castle, Lake Ontario and the Harbour Square complex was a key inspiration for the winning design for the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park. Chosen last week from five finalists, the proposal from KPMB Architects, Netherlands-based West 8 and Greenberg Consultants solves the space constraints by creating a park whose hills rise to become a green roof for the terminal itself. The plan puts one use quite literally on top of the other.
“It’s a flat area and this elevation is very significant. Being able to get higher changes your perspective completely,” says Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants. “You can imagine people picnicking on those hillsides, and having kids sliding down them in the winter. It will be something special and different on the waterfront."
Anyone who’s been to the Toronto Islands knows just how uninspiring the current ferry terminal is. “All the charm of a large public washroom,” says Greenberg. The winning design would provide better views, more green space and, within the terminal itself, a grand wooden ceiling that would better protect people from the elements. The rolling hills also faintly echo other new-generation parks along the waterfront, like HTO and Sugar Beach.
What happens next? While the city tries to rustle up the funds to pay for the redevelopment project, the winning team will enter a period of study with the stakeholders to work out the details and technical issues. For example, what will the new ferry docks look like and where will they go? Greenberg figures that could take a year. When construction does start, the port needs to remain open, which makes it a particularly tricky redevelopment.   
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Ken Greenberg

Casey House breaks ground on facility that merges old and new

When Casey House was established in 1988 as Canada’s first stand-alone treatment facility for people with HIV/AIDS, the founders talked about opening a day program which would welcome non-residential clients could just drop by. “But they were so overwhelmed and exhausted [by the AIDS crisis], they had to put a pause on that,” says current CEO Stephanie Karapita.
Now, after more than decade of serious planning and fundraising, Casey House will finally be offering a day health program in a new 58,000-square-foot facility being built adjacent to its current premises. A ground-breaking ceremony this week marked the beginning of a construction project at the corner of Jarvis and Isabella streets which will see an existing 1875 heritage mansion renovated and integrated into purpose-built facility designed by award-winning architect Siamak Hariri of Hariri Pontarini Architects.
The new building will finally give Casey House the space to offer a day health program in addition to in-patient and home-care programs. But amidst the new modern design—which doubles the existing space and doubles the number of clients Casey House can serve—the new building had to maintain the feelings of compassion that’s been so closely connected to the original and current building at 9 Huntley St.
“Our goal all along has been creating a place that’s beautiful and warm and home-like,” says Karapita, “and when you walk in the front door of the new Casey House, the very first thing you’ll see is a living room with big, huge fireplace, just as in the case of our building today.”
The fireplace is not the only element that connects the new building to the old one. When the move happens in 2016, some of the stained glass will move, too, as well as the tradition of lighting a candle in the window whenever a patient dies.
But to meet the news of the new day health program, there will be lots of new spaces, including a nursing clinic, a physical therapy room, massage rooms, an art therapy room and a number of meeting rooms. A narrow outdoor area that allows patients to socialize, has been dubbed the “sliver courtyard.” Casey House has raised $8.7 million of the $10 million it’s contributing the project.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Stephanie Karapita

Massive redevelopment of Globe and Mail site gets nod from Design Review Panel

When the revised design for The Well development went to Toronto’s Design Review Panel last week, the Diamond corp team came out smiling. The presentation, which showed off the new-look main 36-storey office building on the massive 7.7-acre site between Front and Wellington, was approved by unanimous vote without conditions—and with a few compliments.
“I actually wrote them down,” says Lucy Cameron, vice president of planning at Diamond corp, which is working with RioCan and Allied Properties to redevelop the property that’s the current home of The Globe and Mail, plus an adjacent site at Spadina. (In 2016 the paper plans to move to a new building on King Street East, next door to rival of sorts, the Toronto Sun.) The panel also got a more detailed sense of The Well’s master plan, which would be 40 per cent public space, including walkways connecting Front and Wellington streets.
“We think it’s a missing link between Clarence Square and Victoria Memorial Park, where Wellington can act as a green space and open space connector between the two, so we’re putting that forward as a public realm improvement,” says Cameron.
The new renderings for The Well also depicted the development as being connected below-ground to a subway-type stop facing the train tracks south of Front at Spadina. It’s a nod to Mayor John Tory’s proposed SmartTrack plan, which would use existing rail lines to improve city transit. The plan hasn’t gotten to the point where people are talking stops yet, but…. “It’s a little nudge. We’re putting ourselves forward that we’re interested in talking about whether a station could be a reality here,” says Cameron.
When they began the project more than two years ago and were first grappling with how to handle such a large and complex development, the Diamond corp team, along with architect, David Pontarini, went on a field trip to Europe, particularly central London, looking for inspiration.
“We knew we wanted it to be a little bit different. We wanted an amazing urban design that would integrate office, retail and residential all in a community that had a bit of heritage character, but needed to respond to new urbanism and the modern city living experience,” says Cameron. London gave them ideas about how to manage so much retail—more than 400,000 square feet—while maintaining a village feeling.
If the planning department accepts the proposals, construction would start in early 2016 or late 2017.
Writer: Paul Gallant
Source: Lucy Cameron
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