2225 Mer Bleue Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control | Santé Montfort; ZW Group Inc.; HDR Inc.; Vertechs Design Landscape Architects.
- The Panel commends the applicant on a great project with a building that relates well to its landscape. The Panel believes the project will help to set a standard for future neighbourhood development, particularly in close proximity to this important traffic circle.
- The Panel finds the building to be handsome, appropriately scaled, with a well thought out partie concept floorplan. The Panel does however see opportunities to better mesh the future park into the larger neighbourhood context, and considers this a crucial consideration for the applicant and the City at this time.
- Sustainability measures such as the white roof are appreciated. Green roofs and other measures that collect rainwater or reduce energy usage are also encouraged. The Panel is supportive of the proposed materials, and strongly recommends against staining the cladding material for reasons of longevity.
Master Planning and Park
- The Panel strongly recommends a master plan exercise to contemplate the future development of the Montfort owned property, with at minimum a high-level block and road plan that contemplates the best ways of integrating these lands into the larger neighbourhood.
- Given that the future park was intended to function like a town centre for the larger neighbourhood, the Panel is concerned with the location of the proposed park. It is the Panel’s opinion that the park should be aligned with a public road, and some consideration should be given to locate the park along Mer Bleue Road, to the north of the proposed building. The principles associated with the ‘town centre’ concept should be carried forward when moving ahead with establishing the park location.
- The Panel recommends that the driveway access from Mer Bleue Drive should be redesigned to function like a street, rather than an entrance to a parking lot.
- Future development could be envisioned on parcels at the terminus of this street, such as back-to-back seniors’ residences adjacent to the existing townhouses along Gerry Lalonde Drive.
- In order to better integrate the Montfort lands into the existing built context, the Panel suggests that the 15m easement that accesses the adjacent subdivision should be used as a private road rather than a pedestrian access.
Building Entrances, Landscape and Materiality
- The Panel recommends that the plaza area in front of the main entrance is expanded and that a clear pedestrian space is better distinguished at the main entrance to the building. The paving material and landscape environment should clearly prioritize pedestrians.
- The Panel suggests refining the small parking area at the front entrance to ensure that its primary function supports pedestrian use.
- The Panel recommends the introduction of a more prominent entrance feature, perhaps with an angled roof to emphasize the main entrance while still relating well to the architectural expression of the rest of the building.
- Generally, the Panel is of the opinion that the landscape could flow better on the property. More thought should be put into connections from the canopy at the main entrance, following through toward the entrance to the north, while considering ways to enhance the link to the Therapy Garden, and create a more welcoming entrance on the east façade.
- The Panel is supportive of the landscape treatment at the intersection but suggests that views be opened up a little more to ensure that there are clear sightlines to the building entrance.
- Consider principles of Crime Prevention Through Design (CPTD) when reviewing linkages between the bus stop and the entrances to the building. Clear sightlines and sufficient lighting are required.
- The Panel suggests considering microclimates and wintertime conditions when further developing the details of the landscape plan.
Parking and Loading Areas
- The Panel suggests considering the establishment of an 8m private road with sidewalks along the easement to the east of the proposed building, in order to better integrate the medical complex and future related development, into the existing subdivision.
- The Panel is concerned that the large parking area does not fit into the overall plan and requires more thought.
- The Panel also suggests that the proposed east-west pedestrian route to the north of the building be pushed up to the top of the parking area, and that it be converted to a road with sidewalks. This will allow the overall site to open up and logically connect this complex with its future urban context.
- The Panel advises that the paved area of the loading zone be narrowed as much as possible, and better screened, to create a more welcoming east entrance, and an improved relationship to the easement, the potential future park, and any future development on the east side of the property.
- The proposed paving is excessive given the two small receiving doors at loading dock.
110 York Street | Formal Review | Minor Zoning Amendment | Neuf Architect(e)s; Fotenn Planning + Design; Claridge Homes; Andaz Hotel.
- The Panel is appreciative of the presentation, which allowed the cumulative effect of the existing buildings, and future development to be contemplated in a comprehensive manner.
- The Panel views the Byward Market as iconic on a national and international scale, and is concerned that this proposal does not fully contemplate the heritage character of this Heritage Conservation District (HCD). As designed, the Panel believes that the development will have a negative impact on the existing character of the district.
- When considering the collective intent of HCD guidelines, the angular plane and the Heritage Overlay, established in the Zoning Bylaw, as well as the City’s new Tall Building Guidelines, the Panel feels strongly that the proposal represents inappropriate development for the site, which would result in insufficient separation distances between existing and future buildings on adjacent properties.
- If the development is to move forward, the Panel recommends a subcommittee is established to review the entire block and assess the compatibility of development going forward.
- The Panel understands that the existing building to be demolished is not contributing to the cultural heritage value of the HCD, however feels strongly that new development must respect the Part V designation of the site. The proposed building must be compatible, in terms of scale and character, with the streetscape and the district more broadly.
- The Panel feels strongly that the addition of towers to this important heritage district is inappropriate, as it would completely change the character of the area.
- The Panel is not satisfied that guiding principles have been articulated that provide justification for the proposed massing, nor respond to the intention of an angular plane along the York Street streetscape.
- The Panel suggests adjusting the street level fenestration pattern so it ties into the existing Andaz Hotel next door, and relates to the streetscape more broadly.
- Consider a more traditional architectural approach, including a two-storey ballroom, in order to establish a building that relates better to the street and provides for a quality pedestrian experience. More rhythm and articulation on the ballroom podium is needed.
- In order to better integrate the building into the heritage context, the Panel recommends picking up on the six storey datum line found on the warehouse building to east of site.
Separation Distance and Servicing
- The Panel has serious concerns with respect to the implications of this building on separation distances between this building and the approved condominium building to the south.
- The Panel is concerned with servicing capabilities when considering the potential future buildout of the entire block.
- Consider the opportunities for utilities, patios, and then finally consider building materials that are appropriate for the dimensions and configuration of this site, in relations to its immediate context.
- Tall Building Guidelines would not support this type of development as the resulting separation distances have considerable negative implications on access to light, and quality of life more broadly.
- The proposed development does not maintain sky views nor views toward the site. The Panel suggests redesigning in a manner that respects these important considerations.
900 Albert Street | Formal Review | Official Plan, Zoning Amendment and Site Plan Control | GGLO; B + H Landscape Architect; Trinity; FOTENN Planning + Design; Parsons Engineering; FMS Lighting.
- The Panel is appreciative of the applicant providing such a thorough urban design analysis, which includes the impacts of the proposed buildings on views, as well as contemplates the future relationship with the Lebreton Flats redevelopment project. The Panel acknowledges the break in the podium, and the improved access driveway to the site, as very positive moves in the evolution of the project.
- Despite improvements to the design approach to the podium, the Panel still has concerns with the relationship between the podium and the street, and the impact of the podium on the adjacent public realm – particularly with respect to grading and material details. There is a sense from the Panel that the design continues to be driven programmatically with an emphasis on the interior space, which then dictates the outward design.
- The panel is very concerned with the design of the towers, which are proposed to be the tallest buldings in the City. The Panel referred to this height as a “Big Ask” and that the design response lacks the built form and design quality of the building striving for this height.
Skyline Views and National Symbols
- It is an important mandate of the Panel to look at national symbols in Ottawa and ensure that new buildings relate to, and do not detract from these symbols. Given that the proposed increase to the permitted height is incredibly significant, with considerable implications on the city’s skyline, as well as on views encompassing important national symbols, the Panel strongly recommends that the Tall Building Design Sub-Committee Panel reconvene in order to move this project forward.
- The iconic nature of this development and the impacts on Ottawa’s skyline merit a highly focused evaluation. The Panel does not support approval of the development prior to a Tall Building Design Sub-Committee Panel Tower Committee session, or similar review, where a collaborative review approach can achieve very positive results.
- Consider more use of masonry and brick to connect better to existing building of architectural significance within the downtown core and the neighbourhood to the west.
- The Panel is concerned with respect to the viability of the proposed Class A office space, and suggests further market study may be required. Relocating the office space on the north side of the lot, facing Bayview Bridge may also be more appropriate.
- The Panel has concerns regarding the placement and built form of the three towers and the resulting relationship between the buildings and their context.
- Consider moving the eastern tower further east, as to ensure that there are long unobstructed views from within each building.
- Respond to the geometry of the site and consider designed a ‘Flat Iron’ style building as the east tower. This provides an opportunity to bring a unique, slender design quality to the east tower, while establishing a clear identity to the site.
- The Panel finds that the buildings appear too tall in the 3D modelling. Photo realistic views with the renderings of the proposed towers would assist to better understand the visual impacts of the proposal in relationship to our Nation’s symbol’s
- The Panel has some concern with the skyline implications of the two tallest towers being very similar in design expression, yet set askew from each other on the site.
- The Panel suggests further study to determine if the dark metal panels are the right choice materialistic for the towers.
Ground Plane and Landscape
- The Panel appreciates that the applicant has improved to the podiums but still has serious concerns with their relationship of the ground floor and the street and the impact on the public realm. Study further how to effectively address the grade changes and to avoid a blank wall condition adjacent to the sidewalk Also consider the materiality of the podium at street level where there are direct impacts on the quality of the public realm.
- The Panel advises that the access driveway should feel more like a street, and an entrance to a public realm. Add street trees and ensure that appropriate high quality paving is used to create a walkable and accessible environment.
- Consider how the proposed street level environment can tie into the established residential neighbourhood to the east, which primarily consists of century old red brick, low-rise housing.
- Further develop the program for the public realm to reflect its context in the nation’s capital and to integrate with the its existing and future neighbourhood context. Consider ways of going beyond murals and plaques, perhaps building upon the train station theme.
- The philosophical approach to the landscape which considers local geology is commendable, however the Panel has some concerns that the extensive use of granite and stone pavers may not meet accessibility guidelines.
Sustainability and Phasing
- Considering the cold climate, and the close proximity to the Ottawa River, the Panel has some concerns that the impacts of winds could be harsh, as these extremely tall buildings are relatively close together and are designed with hard edges. Comprehensive wind studies will be critical to the year round success of the development.
- Given the immense overall buildout of the development, the Panel suggests that the phases of the development be clarified.
- The height of the buildings, and the number of residential and office units in the development require careful thought regarding the establishment of emergency systems, rain water collection strategies, and electricity back-up plans, etc.
- Envision linkages to the City Centre site next door and conceptualize how the development of that site could link into this complex in the future.
765 Montreal Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control and Minor Variance | CSV Architects; WSP
- The Panel appreciates that there is likely a limited budget for this important social housing project, and recognizes that the site is difficult. The Panel is supportive of the project, however has concerns regarding the lack of interaction between the building and the adjacent streets.
- The Panel recommends adding bicycle parking to the site to promote active transportation.
Layout and Relationship to Streets
- The Panel is concerned with the lack of animation at grade, particularly at the corner of the building, where it fronts two public streets. It is recommended by the Panel that the internal uses of the building should be expressed at the street.
- Look at shifting the internal functions of the building in order to animate the corner.
- Consider enhancing the corner by angling it toward the intersection, and adding a canopy.
- The Panel is concerned that the main entrance to the building is accessed directly form the parking lot. In this urban context, the Panel strongly encourages finding a solution to the issues of security and explore ways to establish the street facing corner of the building as the main public entrance.
- One consideration is to move the elevator and shift the utilitarian and office spaces so there can be an entrance on the west façade, also creating an opportunity to add considerably more glazing than proposed, and increase the size of the windows on the ground floor, facing the streets.
- The Panel recommends relating the bus stop to the main entrance of building.
Materiality and Architectural Expression
- The Panel suggests finding creative solutions to drop the building down so that it sits closer to the street.
- Consider internalizing part of the grade change on the site, in order to make the building more in touch with the street. Allowing for steps at the entrance within the interior of the building would reduce the external grade change required.
- The Panel recommends that the windows on the second and third floor are expressed more vertically in order to give the building a stronger vertical character.
- It is the opinion of the Panel that more brick would create a calmer appearance to the building, reflecting a more traditional residential look – thus allowing the building to integrate easily into the neighbourhood, rather than stand out.
- Consider using brick on the first three floors, and using the metal panels on the top floor.
- If budget constraints restrict the use of brick, the Panel suggests using brick to emphasize the major entrance of the building, and making the rest of the ground floor white.
- Consider adding window sills, and a cornice along the top of the front and west facades.
- The Panel suggests that there be no changes between the colours of the panels on the upper floors to create a clear base, middle and top to the building.
- The Panel recommends dropping the height of the retaining wall and building a terraced armour stone wall that would be less expensive and be more of a landscape feature.
- One suggestion from the Panel is to consider the removal of the Chinese Elm and Norway Maple trees, if it allows for a more sensible parking area layout or overall site design, as these tree species are aggressive and arguably disposable.
- Consider shifting the building slightly west in order to create the space for a small alley between this building and the adjacent property to the east.