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Quadrangle gets urban intensification award for work in Markham

Toronto-based Quadrangle Architects have won a design award for urbanization work they've done in Markham.

The firm got the Urban Intensification Award for the four-building Rouge Bijou development, downtown Markham's first condo project.

The project gets its name in part from its proximity to the Rouge River at the western edge of Markham's city centre.

"The ambition is to establish a context for the next buildings and support the vision of Downtown Markham as a compact, sustainable, walkable and transit-oriented community," said Quadrangle principal Sheldon Levitt in a press release.

Rouge Bijou, whose buildings range in height from seven to 10 storeys and which house a total of 450 living spaces, is part of a larger, nine-building collection of buildings that also includes Verdale, Nexus North and Nexus South.

Rouge Bijou is also built to LEED Silver standards, and includes in-suite energy recovery ventilators, super-lobby green roofs and will collect rain for grey water use.

The award was presented on November 8.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Sheldon Levitt

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Telus talks green with tenants of its $250-million, 30-storey LEED Gold tower

The Toronto City Summit Alliance writes, in a recent press release, of Telus' new $250-million, 30-storey LEED Gold headquarters at 25 York Street, that "While the building is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification, the building's environmental performance depends in part on tenants' and their employees' use of the space."

There's been a lot of talk to building standards, especially LEED, in the last several years as the development industry and Toronto at large become more aware of the potential for technological advances to claw back our impact on the environment.

But as this press release pointed out last week, the greenest-built building can still be wasteful if the people who use it are.

Which is why the TCSA-sponsored series of landlord-tenant talks in some of the largest buildings in the city are so potentially useful. This one, hosted last Thursday by Telus and the tower's builder, Menkes, gathered the building's other tenants to discuss the built-in green features, and share strategies for making the most of them.

Strategies discussed included car pooling to work to use the allocated car pooling spots and biking to work to use the in house showers and bike storage facilities

This was the fourth such meeting in the awkwardly named Greening Greater Toronto's 'Greening Our Workplaces' Tenant-Landlord Collaboration Series.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Rebecca Geller

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Consortium headed by HOK architects chosen to design massive Pan Am village to house 8,000 in 2015

Infrastructure Ontario and Waterfront Toronto has announced that a consortium led by HOK architects has been awarded the planning, design and compliance contract for the athletes village to be built in the West Don Lands to host the Pan American Games in 2015.

Mark Guslits, HOK's senior project director, describes the job as providing "detailed documents that describe all the elements of the village, both the overlay, which relates to the PanAmerican Games portion of it, as well as the legacy, which is what will remain once the games are over."

The plan is to create accommodations and facilities for the 8,000 athletes expected for the July, 2015 games, and to build it all to a LEED Gold environmental standard. Though there will be some temporary buildings, including welcome centres and meal halls, most of what's built will be converted into a commercial and residential community once the games are over, including both affordable and market-value homes.

The consortium includes Quadrangle, which will concern itself primarily with the larger buildings on the site, Dutoit Allsopp Hillier, which will focus on the community-related aspects of the project, and Montgomery Sisam, whose experience with Infrastructure Ontario projects will, according to Guslits, allow them to be "a guiding influence related to generating the documents in the fashion in which IO expects them."

HOK will take on the sustainability aspects of the village.

Guslits expected the request for qualifications (RFQ) to go out to the developer and builder community in the next couple of weeks, and figures the project as a whole will be done by the end of 2014.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mark Guslits


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First 7 LEED Silver service stations open on the 401

The first seven of a new generation of 20 highway service stations were unveiled last week, all built to LEED Silver environmental standards.

"We had an original idea and came up with a strong, consistent brand," says lead architect Les Klein, of Toronto's Quadrangle, "and we were able to follow through with that with no difficulties whatsoever."

Built by EllisDon and operated by Host Kilmer Service Centres Inc. along the 400 and 401, in addition to being aesthetically consistent, the stations were designed to overcome the anonymity and placelessness highway rest stops often have, incorporating various digital media to display and promote local images and events.

The station's bathrooms use 40% less water than average, and are built with air-tight envelopes to ensure their high-efficiency insulation is able to minimize both heating and cooling requirements.

The stations are also universally accessible, with signage designed by Toronto's Bruce Mau Design.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Les Klein

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Pantalone campaign proposes explicit green mandate for Build Toronto

Joe Pantalone's mayoral campaign has announced his intention, if elected, to aggressively pursue a green mandate for Build Toronto, the city's arm's length real estate and development corporation.

The deputy mayor would place particular emphasis on green partnerships and development, with Build Toronto encouraging green industrial uses for disused properties in low-income or transitional neighbourhoods.

"This is something to galvanize Build Toronto," says Pantalone's press secretary, Mike Smith. "When you look at these neighbourhoods," Smith says, "these are often post-industrial neighbourhoods. If you pursue the development of green economy, you can let the neighbourhoods transform as they have, maintain their industrial base without bringing in a lot of destructive, polluting industries on the one hand, or going the other way, like Leslieville, replacing good industrial jobs with dead-end service jobs.

"It's a way of looking at sustainability in a wholistic way. It's environmental, but it's also economic and social, and if you take any of those out of the triangle, it's not really sustainable."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mike Smith


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Homebuilder begins construction on two homes in Richmond Hill to study environmental efficiency

One longtime Toronto homebuilder is embarking on a novel project to both exhibit and determine the efficacy of Energy Star and the new Energy Star Plus enviro guidelines.

Sheppard and 404-based Heathwood Homes is building two homes in neighbouring Heathwood communities in Richmond Hill, one to each set of standards. The Energy Star Plus home will be used as a model home until 2012, at which point it will be sold, and the efficiency of both homes, when occupied, will be monitored by Heathwood to determine what works and how well.

"Sometimes we don't know exactly what's happening in a home," says Heathwood president Hugh Heron, "because it's a living environment. This will give us an opportunity to feel like we're on solid footing when we go forward."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Hugh Heron

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Pickering gets new marine safety infrastructure

It's 21 years late, but Baywatch has finally made it to Pickering.

This month, the City of Pickering completed a water safety program involving the permanent installation of signs and buoys in Frenchman's Bay to enforce long-ignored federal boating laws.

The project has been nicknamed Baywatch.

As the markers began going up, the Durham Regional Police Marine Unit has started stopping boats for speeding, and to do general license and safety checks.

According to Pickering's mayor, the reduced speeds will also have some positive repercussions on the physical environment.

"I congratulate City staff for spearheading this initiative," Mayor Dave Ryan said in a prepared statement, "and partnering with the police marine unit and other stakeholders to enhance community safety while reducing the erosion of our shoreline."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Mark Guinto

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Green initiatives announced for 1,985,480 square foot Commerce Court

GWL Realty Advisors, which manages Commerce Court, took the opportunity provided by a meeting convened by primary tenant, law firm Stikeman Elliott, to introduce its new submetering program, which will allow each tenant to monitor their own energy use.

The meeting, held late last month under the auspices of the Toronto City Summit's Greening Greater Toronto's "Greening Our Workplaces" Tenant Series, was meant to provide a forum for tenants and their landlord to discuss various green initiatives and proposals.

"We're actually in the installation process now," says Paul Hollins, director of technical services with GWLRA, who's in charge of the 1,985,480 square foot complex, "and we've hopefully whetted their appetites, and by November, when we've completed the system, they can set some targets for themselves."

"Tenants will be able to use the metering system to validate whether automation features in the building, such as lighting controls, plug loads like computers, are working to their advantage," Hollins says. "It will be able to tell us if all the computers are on all night, or if the lights are on over the weekend."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Paul Hollins

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Pickering issues 32 comprehensive sustainability guidelines for future development

The City of Pickering released a report last week that will determine the direction of much of its future development.

Generically titled Measuring Sustainability Report, it sets out 32 criteria by which the sustainability of development in the city may be measured.

"It's getting the ground rules established," says Tom Melymuk, director of Pickering's office of sustainability. "If you take a green building program, how can we incent that? Once you start measuring how well you're doing, you can start focusing on areas where you're not doing as well and develop an action plan."

There is no schedule, or any action plans in place yet, and Melymuk refers to the report as a framework for the future.

As it was described in the city's press release, "The indicators range from those that reflect the quality of Pickering's air and water, to those that reflect the City's progress towards being an inclusive and welcoming community, with healthy employment opportunities."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Tom Melymuk

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Commerce Court tenants meet with landlord to discuss greening of 2-million square foot complex

A meeting to bring major tenants and major landlords together in the city's core to discuss green initiatives will take place May 27 in Commerce Court.

Organized by the law firm of Stikeman Elliott, the meeting will bring together other large-scale tenants of the building to meet with landlord GWL Realty Advisors.

The second of five such meetings planned, it is part of the Greening Our Workplaces Tenant Series, an initiative of Greening Greater Toronto, which is itself under the auspices of the Toronto City Summit Alliance.

"It's tenants who are driving these meetings," says Linda Weichel, managing director of Greening Greater Toronto. "It's really about understanding the obstacles for commercial buildings to reduce their energy use."

Weichel says that one of the main benefits of such meetings is the opportunity they provide for some tenants to share data relating to programs they may already have tried out themselves that may end up working for their neighbours.

"There are capital constraints where people only have so much money to spend," she says, "and they need to know the money they will be committing is actually going to make a difference, and is going to work for them."

The first meeting was held between BMO and their landlord at First Canadian Place, Brookfield Properties. The next three have not yet been announced.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Linda Weichel

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$150-million River City development wins top BILD award

The enormous River City development planned for the West Don Lands, to be developed by Urban Capital Property Group, received one of the top prizes at this year's BILD Awards.

Named the best building design in the high-rise category (Edgemere won the low-rise category), River City was designed by Montreal's Saucier + Perrotte Architects and Toronto's ZAS Architects.

When completed between 2017 and 2020, River City will be a five-building development with 900 condominiums south of King Street between River Street and the Don. It is being built to LEED Gold standards, with a plan for it to be, with offsets included, carbon neutral.

The first phase is expected to begin construction early next year and completed early in 2012. It will consist of one five-storey, 100-unit building and one 15-storey, 230-unit building. Daily Commercial News estimates the ultimate construction cost of the project to be $150 million.

The BILD Awards are given out by the Building Industry and Land Development Association, a GTA residential building, development and renovation industry association.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Waterfront Toronto

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BMW invests $6 million in new 20,000 square foot Cooper Mini dealership and HQ

Everything but the landscaping has been completed on the new Mini Cooper headquarters and dealership at 20 Sunlight Park Road just southeast of Eastern Avenue and the DVP.

Designed by RAW with several environmental concerns in mind, the project is a series of black cubes set on a triangular lot, highlighted by linear yellow trim.

"It was an empty parking lot before," says RAW principal Roland Rom Colthoff, "really a gap between the Broadview loft building and BMW Toronto.... we wanted a building that was animated and eye-catching, and I think we got that."

At 20,000 square feet and costing $6 million, the new buildings represent a major re-investment in Toronto for the BMW-owned Mini brand, replacing their hip but quite small first location on King Street West.

The dealership opened on April 1, and the landscaping is set to be completed this month.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Roland Rom Colthoff

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Unique $13.5-million emergency training facility at Pearson wins design award

A unique building at Pearson airport, which started out as a simple utilitarian project to train its own staff and ended up a dynamic for-profit institute run by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, has won a 2010 Ontario Architects Association award for design excellence.

Designed by Kleinfeldt Mychajlowycz Architects Incorporated, which was previously cited by the OAA for their own offices at 147 Portland St., the Fire and Emergency Training Services Institute trains fire and emergency personnel in its classrooms, using such facilities as a burn building and a rescue tower.

If the project receives the LEED Silver certification it's aiming for with its passive solar collection panels and reduced energy and water consumption, it will be the airport's first LEED building.

"It exceeded forecasts in regard to recovered solar energy," says project manager Gerald Lambers.

Construction on the 25,000 square foot, $13.5-million building began in November, 2005 and was completed in January, 2007. The prize will be awarded next month.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Gerald Lambers

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Modrobes returns with 1,200 square foot store on Queen West

Modrobes was Lululemon avant la lettre and sans yoga. An independent shop, run by Brock University graduate designer Steven Sal Debus, Modrobes was a Queen West staple from its opening in a 400 square foot shop just west of John in 1997, to its expansion into a spot almost five times that size in the space now occupied by Adrenaline Tattoos. The big shop closed in 2005, but thanks to a winning appearance on CBC's Dragon's Den, Modrobes is back, re-funded, in a 1,200 square foot shop in the old Rotate This space at 620 Queen West.

Following the theme of the new clothing line, which Debus calls eco-sportswear, he designed the shop himself. "It used as much recycled material as possible," he says. "Basically, it's made of old metal and old barn board."

This is the least expansive store he's ever put together, he says. The big one that shut in 2005 cost him $250,000 to design and implement; this one, which opened April 10, cost $20,000.

The clothing is made mostly from recycled plastic bottles 18 make a jacket, 16 for a pair of shorts and is priced between $14.99 for an "organic t-shirt" and $150 for the jacket.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Steven Sal Debus

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New 11-storey, 85-unit co-operative housing project wins design award

The 60 Richmond Street East housing project made this year's list of the projects honoured by the Ontario Association of Architects for excellence in design.

The 11-storey, 85-unit affordable-rent building was the first new housing co-operative to be built in years and will be used initially as a place to re-house those displaced by the nearby Regent Park redevelopment. It was built to LEED Gold environmental standards and designed by Teeple Architects. It was built by Toronto Community Housing.

"I think the most significant part of it is the way that it animates the street," says Gordon Grice, editor of Perspectives, the OAA's quarterly journal, citing its colourful cladding and saying the only other building as lively in Toronto is Will Alsop's Sharpe Centre for Design. "It's a good urban neighbour."

According to the OAA's citation, "This project explores ideas for the future of urbanism in the North American city. It seeks to understand and express the notion that urban form can simultaneously be environmental form. 60 Richmond East is also an example of the imagination and dedication that is required in creating responsible architectural solutions for the current global economic and environmental climate."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Gordon Grice

Do you know of a new building going up, a business expanding or renovating, even a cool new house in the neighbourhood? Please send your development news tips to [email protected]

132 sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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