99 Fifth Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan to permit the construction of a six-storey residential building, integrating an existing commercial row | Minto Communities; TACT Architecture.
- The Panel is appreciative of the well-structured presentation clearly outlining the evolution of the project in response to previous UDRP recommendations. Overall, the Panel is happy with where the project has ended up, and finds this application to be exemplary of the benefits for all stakeholders associated with the design review process.
- The Panel offers some suggestions to further improve the interaction between the public and private realm, including the privately owned public space at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bank Street, as well as reducing the impact of the loading dock and the parking garage along Fifth Avenue. The Panel also offers a suggestion on how to lessen the visual impact of the balconies facing Bank Street.
Grade Level Design
- The Panel understands the necessity of the proposed loading dock, but suggests the combined impacts of the accesses to the loading dock and the underground parking area could be reduced through creative design solutions.
- Use the same pavers on the drive surface leading to the loading dock as those used for the pathways leading to the grade level apartment units. This would allow the loading garage driveway to feel as a continuation of the pedestrian space, as opposed to an unfriendly gap along the Fifth Avenue streetscape.
- To soften the impact of the garage doors and to humanize the scale of the loading dock, introduce public art on the garage doors.
- Patterning the doors in a way that carries the verticality of the windows on the south façade of the building could potentially also minimize their impact.
- The front doors of the grade level units facing Fifth Avenue should feel like entrances to houses. The Panel suggests moving the pathway leading to the entrance of the unit to the left of the loading dock so that it is aligned directly with the front door, making a straight connection between the apartment unit and the sidewalk.
- There are some safety concerns (CPTED) raised by a Panel member with respect to the narrow connecting pathway behind the building, between Fourth and Fifth Avenue. But the Panel understands that the area will be gated and locked.
- The Panel is very supportive of the retention of trees along the Fifth Avenue streetscape and the design moves required in response to these trees.
Privately Owned Public Space (POPS)
- The Panel is supportive of the introduction of a POPS at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bank Street, despite the difficulty of dividing the private and public space in this location. The design of the POPS requires significant improvement so that the various elements, including the private café terrace, various entrances, and the publically accessible space are seamlessly integrated.
- Study materiality and form, in relation to the flow and design of the building, in order to better integrate the streetscape and the POPS.
- With respect to street furniture within the POPS, the Panel suggests reconsidering the curved bench.
- The metal guardrail next to the metal bike racks, as well as the different types of wood proposed for the bench and the canopy reflect a lack of a streamlined design language. Introduce an aesthetic control to create visual clarity, establishing a unified, rather than fragmented space, with consistency in the design details.
- Relocate the bike rack so that it does not clutter the space and impede pedestrian flow.
- Reduce the width and mass of the column at the corner in order to more successfully open up the POPS, creating a better flow through the space.
- The Panel suggests that cladding the balconies facing Bank Street in metal, rather than stone and pre-cast concrete. This would help the balconies to visually fade into the background.
Booth District Plan (552 Booth Street) | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment to permit the implementation of the Booth Street District master plan | Stantec; ERA Architects; Canada Lands Company.
- The Panel is appreciative of the level of thought that has gone into the Booth District master plan, particularly with respect to the disposition of new buildings with the old, and the integration of the public spaces into the site.
- The Panel emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the different stakeholders (i.e. Canada Lands Company, the City, and private consultants), through the development process to ensure effective implementation of the plan going forward.
- The Panel recommends preparing programming guidelines, based on a clear vision of how the greenspaces are to be used. This will help secure and define the open space for future owners, and allow for appropriate design in accordance with their intended use.
- In recognition of the character and history of the neighbourhood, the Panel suggests that affordable housing should be a component of the development’s residential program. The success of the affordable housing piece of the plan will require measurable objectives.
- One suggestion from a Panel member is to reorder the sequence of the design guideline document. The document should start generally in terms of the vision for the plan, providing a contextual study of the main drivers of the area, and then getting progressively more specific. The guidelines should be clear, in sequence, and measurable, so that it is easier for Canada Lands Company and the City of Ottawa to administer.
- The Panel is of the opinion that the quality of the public realm needs further development. More consideration should be given to the programming of the public space, including the number of people anticipated in these programmed spaces, the elements required in order to facilitate the programming goals, etc.
- Given the varied ownership and division of the land parcels must be managed carefully to ensure that the language of the public realm is coordinated throughout the site.
- Paving materials and street furniture must be coordinated. Specific guidelines are required.
- The Panel believes that the heart of the community is the plaza in the centre of the site, and it is crucial that it remains one managed space, which is publically accessible, usable for all ages, and conceptualized under a unified vision.
- The Panel recommends the removal of the pavilion from the central plaza.
- The Panel advises careful consideration of the public realm in both a dark, and a winter context. Indoor and outdoor lighting, snow clearing, issues of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) must be considered.
- A suggestion from the Panel is to add cross-sections and/or line diagrams to the design guidelines of all major spaces and mid block connections. The purpose of which is to visually articulate appropriate podium heights, step backs to higher elements, sidewalk widths, tree plantings etc.
- Within the secondary plan or the zoning designation for the property, it is important to capture the potential for the site, and secure the public spaces, as well as the proportions for the spaces.
- The relationship between these publically accessible spaces and buildings must be contemplated and reflected in the secondary plan and zoning.
- The Panel suggests that the administration and organization of the public realm will be important to its success. Determining who organizes events, and who is responsible for maintenance, for example, will determine the success of the space going forward.
- The Panel suggests studying the Rochester edge to ensure that the rhythm of old and new buildings responds to the historic character of the buildings, and the gaps between them.
- The Panel emphasizes that the success of the development is dependent on the design of the first three to four floors of the buildings. The design guidelines, the secondary plan, and the zoning provisions must ensure appropriate development of these first floors.
- The materials of the first three to four floors should be limited to between two and four material palettes. The Panel recommends that masonry is necessary in order to knit the heritage buildings with the new construction.
- The Panel advises that step backs above the podium of the towers is regulated through either the secondary plan or the zoning designation.
- The Panel recommends that key views through, and toward the site, are identified and recognized in the secondary plan. These views must inform the specific tower locations and orientations, as well as critical façades that will be visible from key vantage points.
- Note that the new developments, and particularly the high-rise buildings will serve as visual markers, much like the towers Distillery District in Toronto.
- The Panel believes that the design guidelines must be specific in terms of permitted materials.
- The Panel suggests that the general theme of resiliency aligns well with the federal government’s overall agenda, but introducing specific measurable objectives into the design guidelines is required.
- Reuse salvageable materials from demolished buildings where possible.
- Given the landscape constraints associated with the underground parking lot, the Panel recommends specifically identifying the location where trees can be planted.
- Rather than create a new vocabulary through the design of the built form and public spaces, the Panel suggests enhancing and retaining the existing character, and quality of the site.
- The Panel discussed concerns relating to the extensive use the glazing on podiums of the new buildings in relationship to the character established by the heritage buildings within the complex.
- Consider specifying podium materials in the design guidelines.
- The Panel recommends carefully selecting the appropriate terminology with respect to heritage conservation, as the language is quite specific. Ensure the specific language included in the design guidelines reflects the heritage conservation intentions of the project.
- The Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada contains thoughtful language which should harmonize with the terminology of the design guidelines.
- The Panel advises that the Booth Street Campus represents a rigidly planned complex laid out over time.
- The Panel is supportive of the ideas of commemoration outlined in the design guidelines. The commemorative focus should be on the very specific history of this complex in Ottawa, and its importance at the national level. Reference the economic impacts, particularly within the mining industry, which was a result of the federal research that was conducted at the campus.