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Panel recommendations

The City’s Design Review Panel meets the first Thursday of every month (no August meeting between 2010-2012) at City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa. Recommendations from the Formal Design Review are provided here.

June 7, 2018

2225 Mer Bleue Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control | Santé Montfort; ZW Group Inc.; HDR Inc.; Vertechs Design Landscape Architects.

General Comments

  • 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.

General Comments

  • ­­­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.

Heritage Context

  • 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.

General Comments

  • 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.

Architectural Expression

  • 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

General Comments

  • 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.

Landscape

  • 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.

May 3, 2018

1012 & 1024 McGarry Terrace | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment, Zoning Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Lepine Corporation; NEUF Architect(e)s

General Comments

  • The Panel believes the project has improved since the previous presentation and is moving in the right direction, particularly with respect to the proposed massing. The Panel is of the opinion that there are opportunities to improve the project by refining the design of the podium, tweaking the expression of the tower, and enhancing the proposed landscape and outdoor amenity space, particularly on the rooftops.
  • The Panel suggests re imagining McGarry Terrace as a ‘complete street’ where on-street parking is integrated into the street design, as well as street trees, and appropriate lighting. The Panel also suggests drafting a plan that anticipates the conversion of the cul-de-sac, once the street pushes through. Generally, the Panel reiterates the importance of ensuring that the street is pedestrian friendly.

Podium Expression

  • The Panel suggests slightly projecting the podium toward the street, to differentiate the podium from the tower. Consider using masonry to strengthen the expression of the podium, and ensure that the podium takes on a residential character.
  • The Panel recommends adding volume to the podium, particularly at each end. Rather than a blank wall at the rear façade, articulate the podium to create a more desirable condition facing the existing retirement home.
  • The Panel suggests considering an arrival forecourt / plaza scheme at the proposed drop-off, to replace the semi-circle, as the future condition when the cul-de-sac is replaced with a thru street. An arrival forecourt / plaza would work better with the podium design and improve the functionality of the drop off as a shared vehicular and pedestrian area.  As a reference refer to City Place in Toronto.
  • With respect to the site plan agreement, the Panel suggests the redesign of the drop-off is secured to the evolution of the site, given the future road extension and reconfiguration.

Tower Articulation

  • Considering the height of the proposed building and its context, in a relatively low-rise suburban setting, the Panel believes the building requires a distinct architectural profile on the skyline.
  • Work to break up or reduce the apparent mass of the building. Consider cutting out the corners of the upper (four) floors, and stepping back these floors in order to sculpt the top of the tower and improve the tower’s impact on the skyline. A further consideration is to break down the volume into two pieces, rather than one long singular mass.
  • In order to rationalize the mechanical penthouse, the Panel suggests centering it so that it fits into the symmetry of the façade treatment. Line the mechanical penthouse with the central vertical element of the building. This may require shifting the elevator shaft.
  • The Panel recommends exploring an alternative colour palette for the tower. A darker colour palette, for example, will help distinguish the building from the storage facility proposed next door.

Landscape and Amenity

  • The Panel feels strongly that there are too many blank rooftops. Maximize the rooftop amenity spaces, including some green roofs with limited accessibility. In addition to providing relief for residents, these spaces create the conditions for other habitat; significantly enhance views of the building, as well as those from the units; and provide sustainability measures such as reducing water consumption.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that stronger planting strips are required within the setbacks. This is particularly important at the rear of the property adjacent to the retirement home, to provide more screening.

 

99 Fifth Avenue | Formal Review | Minor Zoning Amendment and Site Plan Control | Fotenn Planning + Design; Minto; Tact Architecture

General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the significant changes implemented since the previous presentation, and believes the proposed scale makes for a more appropriate transition to the existing residential neighbourhood. Overall, the Panel believes the revisions have been carefully developed and hopes this carries through to the site plan process.
  • The Panel also recognizes the sophisticated design of the project and the level of study that has gone into the presentation materials.
  • Given the extremely important public realm, particularly at the intersections of Bank Street and both Fourth and Fifth Avenue, the Panel emphasizes the importance of coordinating the utilities, streetlights, and the selection and location of street furniture, to ensure the development enhances the experiences of pedestrians.

Architectural Expression and Form

  • The Panel suggests reconsidering the box elements along the Bank Street façade to allow the building to appear as a backdrop.
  • The Panel suggests the applicant consider a similar expression on the Bank Street façade to that of the south and north facades, one that introduces material proportions that break up the relatively homogeneous treatment shown in the renderings.
  • The Panel suggests studying the rhythm of the street along Fifth Avenue to determine the typical gap between houses, and then to ensure the east setback is consistent with the established pattern. Another way to better transition the building to the streetscape to the east is to open up the third floor balcony on the end-unit townhouse. This would reduce the perceived height of the east façade and create a more compatible condition adjacent to the existing houses on the street.
  • On the Bank Street elevation, the Panel suggests aligning the middle section of the building with the angle of the street in order for the building to follow the geometry of the street and sit better on the block, when viewed from the street below.

Materiality

  • The Panel suggests that the use of metal panels at the corner of Fifth and Bank is acceptable but the details of execution will be very important to ensure its success. The panels must be of a sufficient gauge and must not be a window-wall system.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that the proposed stone column at the Fifth Avenue corner requires further refinement.   A potential solution would be to re-introduce the stone corner element up to the height of the fifth floor.

 

541 Rideau Street | Formal Review | Zoning Amendment and Site Plan Control | Chamberlain Architects & Constructors | Managers; Barry Padolsky Architects, Planners & Heritage Consultants; Fotenn Planning + Design

General Comments

  • The Panel commends the applicant for the ambitious reconstruction scheme to laser scan and reconstruct the Second Empire house on the property, and incorporate the house into the development proposal. The reconstructed house with original heritage architectural elements will be a desirable addition to the Cobourg Street streetscape and will transition well to Macdonald Gardens.
  • The Panel generally feels that improvements to the new building can be achieved through an approach that considers the base, middle and top as a clear architectural expression.   The building design should consider the east façade as a potential long-term condition and be more sensitive to its adjacencies along the north lot line. Considering that this is a Site Plan application, the Panel would like to see more detailing of the proposal, particularly on the north façade - facing the park and the residential neighbourhood - including more extensive elevation drawings.

Street Level and Podium

  • The Panel appreciates the level of detail in the podium design, and agrees that it will result in a rich experience for pedestrians walking past. The Panel strongly encourages, however that the middle part of the building is stepped back from the podium, on all sides.
  • The Panel believes the horizontal stone banding along the podium to be excessive; limiting the banding to the upper floor of the podium will enhance the Art Deco expression.
  • The Panel has some concerns with the proximity between new building and the proposed reconstructed heritage house. Consider increasing the separation between the buildings in order to create a more appropriate context for the reconstructed house.
  • The Panel recommends the applicant prepare a detailed site plan to locate street trees, street furniture, public art, appropriately delineates the extent of paving and establishes adequate space for an entry forecourt to the building.

Architectural Expression of Middle and Top

  • The Panel is of the opinion that the Second Empire, Art Deco and commercial styles need to connect better through the base, middle and top of the building. The Panel suggests extending the vertical expression up from the podium through to the middle and top portions of the building, possibly as pilasters – in an Art Deco fashion. The vertical elements could then help to architecturally tie the base, middle and top together. If a Spandrel is incorporated to achieve this affect, it may need a cornice.
  • The Panel is concerned that the east façade is blank, and the adjacent site may not be developed for up to 10 to 15 years. Articulate the east façade by introducing windows or decorative elements, and by stepping back the tower from the podium.  The tower expression should also wrap around the penthouse.
  • The Panel is concerned that the blank six-storey corner detail at the corner of Cobourg and Rideau Street is stark and does not help to animate the street corner. The Panel recommends eliminating the blank slot, and instead articulating the floor levels. The Panel also recommends adding a canopy at the corner to add some interest and enhance the building entrance.
  • Ensure that the mechanical penthouse integrates well into the building design.

 

776-784 St. Laurent Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control | Manor Park Developments; Project1 Studios; Novatech Engineering.

General Comments

  • The Panel commends the applicants for a well-managed project, which will result in a positive addition to the streetscape. The Panel appreciates the subtle design moves from the previous presentation.
  • The Panel finds that the proposal represents a sophisticated new standard for the construction of slab style buildings going forward. In particular, the articulation of the sides of the building is an appreciated departure from the typical slab buildings of the 1960s.

Street Level

  • The Panel is of the opinion that the ground floor of the building appears squat. Increase the height of the ground floor to a minimum of 3.6 metres to permit functional live-work units.
  • Consider eliminating the horizontal band above the ground floor to reduce the impression of a compressed ground floor by create a 3 floor base condition.
  • In order to better define the entrance to the building, a suggestion from the Panel is to add a canopy above the entrance.
  • The Panel is supportive of the landscape plan, and finds that the connectivity from the front of the site to the back works well. However, attention to the practicalities of pedestrian flow, including the access for tenants of the existing building to the new building, will be important to consider in the detailed design of the project.

Materiality and Architectural Expression

  • An option brought forth by some Panel members is to eliminate the projecting balconies from the front (St. Laurent Boulevard) façade, or to enclose the balconies in order to provide a relief from noise and wind, and to create a street façade that is similar to the rear facade.  This was a comment that dates back to the first review.
  • The Panel suggests considering ways to pronounce the horizontality of the top floor in order to better ‘cap off’ the building.
  • The Panel finds the proposed dark materials are interesting, however consider lightening the colours in order to highlight the sophistication of the architectural detail.  

 

83 Hinton Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control and Minor Variance | Colizza-Bruni Archtiecture; FOTENN Planning & Design.

General Comments

  • The Panel strongly believes that this is a great project, which will result in a very good addition to the streetscape. The landscape plan and proposed materiality is very thoughtful.
  • The Panel advises that the landscape architect choose honey locust trees, as they would be appropriate for the property and complement the architecture of the building.

 

April 5, 2018

1117 Longfields and 1034 McGarry Terrace | Formal Review | Site Plan | Open Plan Architects Inc.; 1897365 Ont. Inc. – MARKETPLACE

General Comments

  • The Panel is very pleased to see the considerable progress with this proposal, and is encouraged to see that the applicant is working collaboratively with staff. The Panel appreciates the changes to this point and unanimously agree that the project has improved since its previous visit to the Panel.
  • The Panel has serious concerns with the lack of detail found within the site/landscape plan, and finds the need for much more study to ensure that a positive program of outdoor walkways, amenity areas, and other spaces of importance to the public realm, are provided. A vision of urban life and the experience of the user is required in order to achieve success in this regard.

Massing and Density

  • The Panel strongly encourages the applicant to ‘push and pull’ the masses on the site to ensure that appropriate limiting distances are established between the west tower and the future development on the adjacent property. The Panel is also concerned with the size of the floor plate of the second tower and the impact that it will have on the liveability of the east tower. Consider reducing the floor plate size of the west tower.
    • It is recommended that the applicant develop the second phase of the project with a Sketchup model to have an understanding of the look and feel of the entire build out, and the potential implications of the current tower placement on a fully developed site.
  • Despite the concerns related to the size of the floor plate and limiting distance, the Panel is appreciative of the space provided between the two towers.
  • There is some apprehension from the Panel with respect to the possible creation of a wind tunnel, caused by the proposed massing. Explore ways of breaking up the long mass of the second tower, potentially into two towers. Or, perhaps the buildings could be stepped down at parts to alleviate wind concerns

Access, Floor Plan and Amenity

  • The Panel is concerned that the side façade of the second building reads as the back of the building. The Panel suggests straightening the drive-aisle (perpendicular to the street) so it functions like an interior driveway, and provide tree planting to create an enhanced pedestrian experience. This is an opportunity to establish a landscaped entrance to the building, and improve the overall site layout. Carving out a re-entrant corner of the podium in a similar (but smaller way) way to the corner plaza will help create the feeling of an entrance piazza.
  • The Panel feels strongly that a building’s lobby is crucial to the building’s identify and its connection to the public realm. The current access to the lobby of the building along Longfields Drive requires considerable improvement. The Panel advises that the lobby space be simplified with better flow from the exterior to the interior and be pulled as close to Longfield as possible. This can be achieved by relocating the elevators, removing corridors, and eliminating grade changes and stairs.
  • The Panel advises that the ramp and access point to Building 2 be redesigned to be welcoming and feel like a piazza or forecourt. This area should not be paved with asphalt, and instead a high quality paving material, to make it feel like a pedestrian zone. Consider removing the last bay from the podium, notching the corner, and reciprocating this on the next phase to create a wider, nicer access to the building.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that the southeast corner plaza can be improved. Establish a more human scale by lowering the 10m high concrete element, and be bolder with the design. Consider adding more glass and colour.
    • There is also an opportunity to better activate this corner by either setting back the stairs to create sufficient space for benches, or extending the stairs out further to create a larger plaza area that might be more useable as a public space.
  • The Panel advises careful consideration of the exterior area on the north edge of the lot to determine an appropriate use. The area will be cool and shaded, and may be an outdoor area that is more appreciated from the interior, but not frequently used – or perhaps a specific use for this area can be determined.
  • Prior to further advancement on the proposal, the Panel recommends studying the landscaping and soil depths to ensure a feasible landscape plan.

Architectural Expression

  • The Panel is supportive of the proposed exterior brick, which is an important aspect of the project, but consider introducing more glazing wrapped around the southeast corner of the first tower.
  • The Panel advises careful coordination of the penthouse and mechanical rooms with the associated rooflines to ensure they do not detract from the overall design of the towers. The penthouses will need to be integrated into the buildings.
  • On the elevations, the corner tower and the slab tower are treated very similarly. The Panel advises studying ways to differentiate the buildings, perhaps with cornice lines, extended penthouses on one building, a restrained canopy on the other, overhangs, etc.
  • The Panel does however advise consistency in terms of the expression of a general architectural style, rather than expressing too many styles.
  • The Panel recommends considering appropriate architectural lighting schemes to enhance the visual impact of the buildings at night; both on the penthouse, and at the street level.

929 Richmond Road | Formal Review | Zoning Amendment and Site Plan | Azure Urban Development Inc.; rla Architecture.

General Comments

  • The Panel is happy to see the improvements made to the development scheme, particularly with respect to the four storey continuous podium, the forecourt, and the orientation of the building on the corner.
  • There are some concerns from the Panel with respect to the extent of the density proposed for the site, and general comments with respect to the overall architectural treatment and material use.

Landscape

  • The Panel applauds the enhanced landscaping proposed at the rear of the site, however advises that more of the surface parking be removed and replaced with soft landscaping. Pay particular attention to enhancing the landscaping at the corner of the lot abutting the neighbouring properties.
    • Consider the addition of a one-storey deck that could be landscaped – thereby providing amenity area for the residents and act as a cover for surface parking below. This would provide a noise barrier for residents within the building and improve the views downward from the units above.
  • The Panel believes there is an opportunity to add some landscaping above the podium.

Materials / Architectural Expression

  • The Panel would like to see some reduction in the mass or the visual impact of the tower. Consider lowering the height of the step back on the north façade and introducing a material change to break up the massing of the tower.
    • Avoid establishing hard corners – soften the corner expression by extending the wrap around balconies. The Panel believes this would also result in improved visibility from the corner units. 
  • Given the large scale of the building and the intent to improve the transition to the established neighbourhood, the Panel suggests that the extensive use of dark brick should be reconsidered, due in part to its tendency to age poorly.
    • As a way of lightening the overall expression of the building, look at adding accent colour in the soffits.
  • The Panel believes the blank wall on the ground floor of the north façade of the podium is problematic. Study this façade to improve its articulation and avoid creating a dead space.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the transition of the glazed podium into the brick base of the building can be improved. Avoid creating a curtain wall by adding some vertical or horizontal masonry elements.

1946 Scott Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Surface Developments; Project 1 Studio

General Comments

  • The Panel commends the applicant for a very sophisticated project and is appreciative of the changes since the first review, particularly with respect to the height of the ground floor and the measures taken to better transition to the low-rise neighbourhood at the rear. The building represents an important typology and this project can set precedence for future developments of this scale.
  • The Panel is pleased with the experimentation in terms of the landscape initiatives, and hopes the proposed planting is successful.

Architectural Articulation

  • The Panel finds the changes made to the northeast corner, which wraps glazing around from the front to the east façade; result in an activated ground floor at the street level – which will have positive implications on the streetscape.
    • Consider the use of this space, in order to establish an important corner condition. Perhaps office use could be successful as the street transitions to higher densities and a wider variety of urban uses.
  • The Panel questions the material change on the upper three floors and suggests adding a slight reveal on the east and west façades under the top two storeys. The step back need not be deep, but sufficient to make the top two floors of the building appear as a white, floating element.  This architectural expression would enhance the building’s design, and fit with the intended overall expression.
  • It is the Panel’s opinion that fritted glass on the balconies would be an appropriate design move in order to hide the clutter on balconies, and prevent issues of overlooking from one private space to another.
  • The Panel advises the applicant to pay close attention to the final design of the mechanical penthouse. Ensure that the expression is not bulky or overly visible as to not detract from the building’s otherwise handsome design.
  • Where possible, the Panel advises the applicant to work with the utility company to ensure the most aesthetically pleasing options in terms of the distribution equipment along the street, particularly with respect to hydro poles and transmitters.

Landscape

  • The Panel recognizes that the greening elements on the south façade will play an important role in improving the transition from this building to the low-rise residential uses to the rear. In order for the landscape above the covered parking to be successful, soil volumes will be critical. This is a difficult challenge, and creative solutions are required to ensure the plants do not need replacing every year.
  • The Panel recognizes the proposed planting along the south facing balconies as an encouraging and ambitious idea.
    • Research at the University of Guelph with respect to irrigation and heating of planters may be beneficial when further developing this landscape and maintenance plan.
    • Look for other examples of projects within winter climates where planters on balconies have been successfully implemented in order to achieve a cascading vine effect (206 Bloor Street, (Museum

February 28 and March 1, 2018

February 28, 2018

398-406 Roosevelt Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan and Zoning Amendment | Domicile Developments Inc.; Alcaide Webster Architects Inc.; Fotenn Planning + Design

General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the applicant’s attempt to understand the neighbourhood. The Panel does however have some concerns with reviewing this proposal under Mainstreet (TM), rather than residential (R3) policies. The Panel is of the opinion that critical moves are necessary in order to better transition the building to the existing low-rise residential neighbourhood to the north, and to improve the corner condition to relate more appropriately to the Richmond Road commercial street.
  • The Panel strongly believes that the scale and mass of the building is too large for the size of the site, and that more appropriate setbacks and stepbacks are required, particularly on the north side of the lot, and at the corner facing Richmond Road.

Corner Treatment

  • Given that the southeast corner of the lot is quite visible from the Richmond Road commercial corridor. The Panel emphasizes the need to orient the building toward this important traditional main street. The Panel recommends eliminating the proposed signage and wrapping the glazing around the corner to create a front facing condition onto the public square. 
  • In addition to wrapping the glazing, the Panel advises that the building be setback to create an exterior area for a public place, such as a plaza or sitting area. It is the opinion of the Panel that this will help develop the building’s important relationship to Richmond Road.

Neighbourhood Transition

  • The Panel recommends that the building be lowered in height to four storeys, with the possibility of stepping back a fifth storey. This step back is particularly important on the north side, abutting the existing residential uses, where the Panel believes an increased separation between this building and the existing house is desirable.
  • To improve the transition toward the residential area to the north, consider introducing a driveway along the north side of the lot to establish more space between the proposed building and the house next door.
  • The Panel feels strongly that the lack of a landscaped buffer at the rear lot creates an unacceptable transition from this development to the adjacent lots to the rear. The Panel recommends reducing the size of the asphalt pad, and introducing landscaping to improve the impact on the rear neighbours.
  • The Panel suggests reducing the number of points of vehicular access to the site, immediately next to the residential neighbours. Ideally, the ramp to the underground parking could be accessed from the existing lane on the adjacent commercial property to the south, to reduce impact on adjacent residential neighbours.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that the proposed office units could work commercially. However, the applicant should consider live-work units at the ground floor as an alternative, as this is a transitional area between a main commercial street and an established residential area. 

Architectural Expression

  • The Panel suggests a more cohesive architectural language by reducing the ambiguity between horizontal and vertical expressions. A reduction in height to four storeys, with a clear step back to a fifth storey will help to achieve a more singular architectural language.
  • Generally, the use of brick is good, but the Panel recommends eliminating the use of brick on the top floors, thereby minimizing the visual impact of the top of the building on the streetscape.
  • The Panel sees a strong rhythm going north along Roosevelt, however the rhythm gets lost with the archways and disjointed window pattern. It is recommended that the arches are eliminated, so that the character and rhythm created by the ‘storefronts’ is carried across the front façade of the building.
  • The Panel believes that the cornice is a strong design element that can work well. Extend the cornice across the entire fourth floor of the building to help delineate the stepped back floors.
  • The Panel suggests that the two storey band can wrap around the corner to address Richmond Road, with the upper floors stepped back further.
  • The Panel appreciates the architectural detailing proposed, however suggests exploring opportunities to merge the heritage influences with a more contemporary style, to fit the context of this evolving neighbourhood.
  • The Panel appreciates the industrial style windows. It is advised that this window style be brought up from the base to the upper floors, simplifying the overall window expressions found on the building.
  • The Panel advises increasing the height of the ground floor to between 4.5 and 5 metres. Consider using only this heightened first floor as the band that is wrapped around to orient toward the Richmond Road commercial corridor. With this approach, all the floors above the first level can take on a distinct residential appearance.
  • The Panel notes that the mechanical room is absent on the elevations and advises the applicant to ensure that its impact is minimized.
  • It is recommended that the applicant work with hydro and other utility providers to eliminate the presence of messy cables, wood poles, screws, etc., where possible.
  • The Panel advises that the area of pavement, hardscape, the location of street trees, on-street parking, and drop off areas, be further studied and be more clearly articulated on the plans.

Access

  • The Panel has concerns with the location of the vehicular activity on the residential side of the lot. Explore the option of an easement allowance, or pull the building back to locate the ramp access between the adjacent commercial building and the proposed new building. It is the opinion of the Panel that moving the garage entrance to the rear is ideal.
  • The Panel feels strongly that there should be no layby along Roosevelt Avenue. Large street trees are needed, along with a wide sidewalk extending up to Richmond Road.
  • Consider shifting the main entrance to the residential units closer to the street. The current design could result in bicycles and other clutter accumulating in the inset.

March 1, 2018

929 Richmond Road | Formal Review | Zoning Amendment and Site Plan | Azure Urban Development Inc.; rla Architecture.

General Comments

  • The Panel recognizes the complexity of this site, which has three prominent edges, however is struggling with the radical changes from the previous proposal on the same property.  The Panel has some fundamental concerns with the height, the orientation of the building, and the proposed surface parking.
  • The Panel views the context of this site, defined by a church, funeral home, and a nine-storey residential building on the opposite corner of Richmond Road to the east, and concludes that the proposed development is too dense. The Panel sees too many unresolved elements with this proposal and recommends that the applicant return to the Panel for further input after addressing these recommendations.

Podium Expression

  • The Panel is of the opinion that the proposed orientation of the commercial aspects of the building toward Woodroffe Avenue, rather than Richmond Road, does not establish a main street façade, and is inconsistent with the Richmond Road streetscape.
  • The Panel emphasizes the importance of reinforcing the traditional main street and recognizing the importance of this intersection by increasing the podium height. The proposed two stories feels squat and an increase in podium height will allow the building to hold the corner better.
  • The Panel recommends that the podium be a stronger element, which is oriented to Richmond Road, but wraps around to Woodroffe Avenue. It is important to acknowledge the geometry of this intersection with the design of the podium. Consider an L-shaped, podium building that establishes a very strong corner at Richmond and Woodroffe. An appropriate podium height here is between three and five stories high.
  • The Panel advises using larger windows along Richmond Road to strengthen this façade.
  • The Panel finds that the corner is currently undecided, and recommends studying a design with a strong podium expression aligned with Richmond Road, with the tower component aligned with Woodroffe Avenue.
  • The Panel believes there are opportunities to set back the building along Richmond Road and create useful exterior space for a plaza or café patio. Ensure that tree planting, bollards, utilities, etc. are coordinated to ensure a successful corner. Setting back the building along Richmond is more important than along Woodroffe.

Tower

  • The Panel finds the transition to the adjacent residential neighbourhood too abrupt. The Panel strongly believes a more gradual transition, reflecting a 45-degree angular plane, is needed.
  • The Panel finds that the footprint of the building is too large, and that the building reads like a slab – thus not acknowledging its urban role within the neighbourhood context.
  • There is some concern with the proposed height and a suggestion that the building be reduced in height to closer reflect what was previously approved. The Panel suggest that the same principles applied to the previously approved project, with respect to height, density and parking should also apply to this project.
  • The proposal reads like a dark grey slab, and the Panel recommends considering a stronger element such as a point tower on top of the podium.
  • The Panel does not support the proposed black brick cladding on the tower. There are some serious durability issues with respect to heat retention and brick spalling. Although black brick can be acceptable as a backdrop contrast element, the Panel finds its use as the primary cladding material is out of character and overly contrasting with the existing built environment, particularly next to the red brick building.

Landscape and Parking

  • The Panel is of the opinion that the private and public edge should be blurred. The Panel recommends eliminating the fence, and applying a landscape approach, which integrates the site with the adjacent pathway and residential neighbourhood. Connecting to the pathway will provide some amenity and ensure access for residents.
  • The Panel recommends eliminating the surface parking area, or perhaps reducing the parking to a single loaded parking lot adjacent to the property line. Generally, the area at the rear should be kept as green as possible, thereby improving the context for the ground level units.
  • The Panel suggests that the loading and parking entrance should be located on the north side of the lot.
  • The Panel recommends pushing the building back in order to create a stronger landscape presence on both Richmond Road and Woodroffe Avenue. Street trees should wrap around both frontages.
  • As a result of pushing the building back to the corner of Richmond and Woodroffe, a sunny outdoor space is established which benefits street trees and vegetation.

100-300 Steamline Street | Formal Review | Site Plan and Minor Variances | Ottawa Train Yards; Controlex Corporation; Neuf Architect(e)s.

General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the effort put forth by the applicant, and commends the integrity of the process as the project has evolved. The master planning initiative and working with the UDRP and staff have been very important and have achieved results. The proposed typologies are very interesting and by taking cues from the master planning vision for the larger site, the Panel believes that the proposal can be successful.
  • The Panel emphasizes that private developments and streets become important elements of the public realm. Moreover, the Panel believes that there are opportunities to make broader connections with the surrounding area, particularly by planning for future north-south accesses between the proposed phased development and Industrial Avenue, where development is likely to occur in the future.

Site Circulation and Parking

  • The Panel has serious concerns with the proposed surface parking:
    • Using appropriate surface treatment and providing sufficient landscape can make this area feel like a plaza and not just functional parking lot. The Panel strongly recommends that the parking area be redesigned to be comfortable for pedestrians as well as functional spaces for community events.
    • The Panel advises that the edges of the parking area should relate better to the associated buildings. Integrate the parking lot into the landscape plan and consider locating entrances to the buildings adjacent to the lot.
    • More clearly define the drop off and delivery locations associated with each building.
  • The Panel has concerns with respect to the creation of large blocks. The larger development will require smaller blocks with good internal and external connections.
    • Strengthen the configuration of the street layout to reinforce the north-south street so that future extension to Industrial Avenue is possible. It is advised that an agreement in principle should be put in place to accommodate this future connection.
    • Another suggestion is to connect the east-west road directly to Sanford Flemming Avenue, perhaps with a right-in / right-out intersection.
  • It is the Panel’s opinion that the private streets should be designed to accommodate on-street parking on both sides, and should be conceptualized as city streets, not private lanes. On-street parking should also be introduced to Sir Sanford Flemming Avenue.
  • The Panel advises that garbage pick up should be handled on individual block sites, and not concentrated in one spot. The current layout negatively effects the potential for future development to the south, creating a ‘backdoor’ garbage condition. Perhaps garbage pick-up for the first phase can be located somewhere along the south side of the east building.

Form, Massing and Materials

  • With respect to the distance between the two Phase 1 towers, and the massing of the buildings, the Panel has some concerns that a symmetry is setting in, whereas the Panel prefers the more varied and offset rhythm represented by the sketches.
    • There are particular concerns with the relationship between the proposed 22-storey tower (to the east) and the future 25-storey tower in Phase 2. The Panel suggests offsetting the future tower, and introducing more variation in the typology to avoid creating a tunnel effect, particularly given the direction of the prevailing winds. Also, attempt to avoid units facing units where possible.
    • The Panel suggests a less rational approach to the architectural expressions, with stronger podiums, undulation and appropriate separation between towers, as seen in the sketches.
  • To reduce the slab expression, the Panel recommends breaking up the volume of the towers, and uses material changes that relate to geometric shifts in the building, rather than plane changes.
  • The Panel suggests pushing the west tower as close as possible toward Sir Sanford Flemming Avenue, in order to permit a larger open space between the two proposed buildings of Phase One.
  • To better line the north-west private street, the Panel suggests extending the east building southward. The podiums should establish a pleasant, urban streetscape.
  • One suggestion is to further break up the massing and the appearance of slab buildings by dropping down a couple of floors at the top, on half of the footprint, allowing for the creation of rooftops on the other half. This also would result in additional amenity area for residents.

Street Level Development and Landscape

  • The Panel suggests that the ground level units facing both the street and the parking areas should have steps leading to direct exterior access. This will help normalize an urban condition and a vibrant streetscape.
  • The Panel has concerns with the longevity of the proposed plantings. Find dead space within the underground parking lot in order to increase soil depths to accommodate deep planters above.
  • Given the proximity to the city’s train station, the entire development must be designed to carefully as a gateway site. On the site plan, consider broader connections such as access to parks, linkages to transit, schools and shopping. And contemplate areas where genuine public spaces can thrive and people can feel welcome.
  • The Panel suggests some flexibility in terms of the uses proposed in the at-grade units. Live-work units may be appropriate, and there is a possibility that offices may be viable in the future.
  • The courtyard space between the proposed buildings is too small to function as a park, but too large to work as an urban square. Reconfigure this space so that it can either be larger and function as a park, or be reduced in size and become a more distinctive space.
    • Ideally, the Panel suggests that the corner public space is reduced in size to function as an urban parkette, with the central courtyard area functioning as a park area for local residents.

Ottawa Hospital (930 Carling Avenue and 520 Preston Avenue) | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning Amendment | The Ottawa Hospital; HDR Architecture Associates Inc.

General Comments

  • The Panel is reviewing this proposal from the perspective of its impacts on the urban realm, and with respect to architectural design. The Panel does however acknowledge and appreciates the complexity and degree of effort that goes into a hospital project of this size, including long term operational and maintenance issues. The Panel understands that the full build out of the hospital, projected to be somewhere between 2.73 and 4.5 million square feet by 2047-2048, is dependant on a future needs assessment, as well as budgets and policy decisions at the provincial level. 
  • The Panel is concerned with the scale of the proposed development and finds that the project is of a completely different scale than the surrounding neighbourhood. As such, the Panel recommends key moves and further analysis to help preserve some of the existing character along the Prince of Wales Drive edge and to better integrate the hospital with the Experimental Farm context. Another important consideration of the Panel is the impact of the hospital on Carling Road, and the adjacent Carling-Preston neighbourhood to the north.
  • The views, key distances, and analysis of how the project affects the Capital landscape and surrounding neighbourhood are needed in order for the UDRP to provide fulsome comments on the proposal. It is strongly recommended that the applicant return to the Panel as the project advances, with a submission that includes several renderings showing key views from a variety of perspectives, especially those with Capital significance.

Massing and Architectural Concept

  • The Panel has concerns with the scale of the proposal presented; particularly considering the initial presentation eluded to a Scandinavian approach to a hospital complex – at a much more human scale. The size and massing of the proposed building has the potential to create a significant barrier in the form of a large wall that is disconnected and out of scale with the existing fabric nearby.
  • The Panel has some concerns with the interpretation of the ‘Town and Crown’ approach to this proposal. For example, Parliament Hill opens itself up to the city whereas the current oval, circular building plan is insular and puts the existing neighbourhood to the north at the periphery, having negative implications for the urban realm. In addition to being highly visible, the entrances to the complex could also be surrounded by plazas, which are welcoming for people.
  • The Panel recommends that key site priorities with respect to the urban realm, which reflect a more civic approach, are established and brought into the planning context going forward. The Panel is looking for public spaces around the facility.
  • One suggestion is to consider flipping the oval so that it plays off the ridge. With the west oval flipped, the building works better with the topography of the land and improves the relationship with the street edge, articulating a clearer arrival point for the public.

Carling Road and Urban Integration

  • The Panel suggests that the massing of the proposed oval structure is broken down to reduce impacts on the character along Carling Avenue.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that some land along Carling Avenue should be used for buildings facing Carling, ensuring this urban street has two sides, and the hospital complex has a friendlier edge toward the neighbourhood.
    • The buildings would form an edge along the street to contribute to the urban fabric, rather than relate directly to the hospital site. These building could be as low as two storeys.
    • The Panel suggests that buildings along Carling Avenue would allow for an interface with the surrounding city, and could accommodate a variety of services related to the hospital, such as chiropractic, practitioners, pharmacies, etc.

Experimental Farm and Prince of Wales Drive Context

  • The massing as viewed from Prince of Wales Drive should be broken up to avoid significantly altering the character of this important Ottawa landscape; defined by the federal roadway, the Experimental Farm and Dows Lake.
  • The Panel expressed serious concerns with the impacts of the proposed development on Prince of Wales Drive with respect to the entrances and the limited setback. The current proposal results in a strong built form edge along the Drive. The Panel recommends this impact be reduced by significantly increasing the setback and limiting vehicular access from Prince of Wales Drive.
  • The Panel admires the attempt to preserve the treed ridge, but finds it likely impossible given the location and scale of the proposed oval building. Consider instead a reinterpretation of this feature elsewhere on the site.
  • The Panel is appreciative of the gesture to include considerable greenspace and park like spaces within the development but is concerned that this approach compromises the public spaces surrounding the development.

Sustainability

  • The Panel would appreciate more analysis on specific sustainability considerations, such as energy consumption, roof resilience, and linkages to transit. Very large hospital campuses often become car destinations, so smaller campuses are ideal in order to promote alternative transportation modes.
  • The Panel suggests that variations in the height of the buildings are introduced to address the impacts of prevailing winds on the site.
  • The Panel views the green roof favourably, but there are some concerns about whether the space will be designed in such a way that it is easily accessible and well used. An appropriate planting program is important.

3030 St. Joseph  Boulevard | Formal Review | Minor Zoning Amendment | Orleans Heights Development (Torgan Group); Fotenn Planning + Design; rla Architecture.

General Comments

  • The Panel sees the proposal as an interesting piece of architecture that fills the unusually configured site. There are however some serious concerns with respect to the proposed density. The Panel does not believe there is sufficient rational for height beyond the six to eight storey range, and would therefore expect a revision to the proposal to show a lowered height.

Massing, Height and Architectural Expression

  • When considering the top floor amenity, and the St. Joseph Boulevard elevation, the Panel sees this as a 14-storey building. It is the opinion of the Panel that the proposal represents overbuilding of the site, and recommends that eight stories is the maximum height in order for the building to fit its context at the edge of a low-density residential neighbourhood.
  • The Panel suggests that the tower portion of the building fronts St. Joseph Boulevard, with a lower podium located along Duford Drive, thereby shifting density away from the residential side of the lot. The current distribution of massing results in an imposition to the established residential area to the south.
  • The Panel suggests that the corner element of the building could be redesigned to be more slender.

Amenity, Landscape and Streetscape

  • The Panel advises the applicant further explore the podium expression, and consider increasing the podium height to two-storeys in order to reflect the built form along St. Joseph Boulevard.
  • The Panel suggests moving the lobby to the far west of the building along St. Joseph Boulevard as to avoid breaking up the retail space.
  • Given the substantial change in grade, special attention must be paid to the interaction between the sidewalks and the building, particularly where wrapping around the corner.
  • In order for the retail spaces to be successful, the Panel emphasizes the need to coordinate lights, sidewalks, crossings, and other related streetscape elements.
  • The Panel suggests that the introduction of a podium along Duford creates an opportunity to create a beautiful landscaped rooftop amenity terrace, taking advantage of the slope and triangular lot shape.
  • The Panel has concerns that utilitarian functionality of the building is not clearly articulated on the plans and strongly suggests these issues are resolved.
  • The Panel advises that hydro utility issues are carefully considered and solved early, given the condition of the soil in the area, and the slope of the site.

890-900 Bank Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Control | Hobin Architects Inc.; Fotenn Planning + Design; Canderel; Amica Mature Lifestyles.

General Comments

  • The Panel is appreciative of the challenges associated with the project, and will provide comments that are limited to the refinement of the design, and not those relating to the massing.
  • The Panel feels that the project is thoughtfully compatible with the street, and relates well to the nearby Lansdowne Development. With careful attention to all elements of the streetscape, the building will be a positive addition to the rejuvenating Bank Street.
  • The Panel suggests that in addition to some changes to the proposed materials and the expression of the four-storey building, the applicant reconsider the signage on the neighbourhood side of the building. It is the wrong scale for the neighbourhood, and is inappropriate from a design compatibility perspective. 
  • The Panel is supportive of the relocation of the parking and drop off area to Monk Street, and in favour of the introduction of stone.

Material Refinement

  • The Panel has serious concerns with the proposed use of EIFS, particularly with respect to its durability and visual appearance. The Panel strongly recommends using brick.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the HVAC system needs to be redesigned so that the grills are incorporated as a part of the window system. The brick façade should be kept clean and clear.
  • In order to reduce the visual impact of the top two floors, the Panel suggests using a lighter colour material as opposed to the proposed dark cladding, or work to simplify the design. Any effort to calm the penthouse element would be appreciated.
  • In more advanced design drawings, the Panel suggests paying close attention to the underside of the balconies, as the perception from the street is important.

Four-Storey Element

  • The top of the four-storey element finishes abruptly. The Panel suggests adding a capping element to improve the design on Bank Street façade. 
  • The Panel suggest taking the brick up to the third floor, leaving the fourth floor to appear visually distinct from the three-storey base. This could improve the impact of this part of the building along Bank Street.
  • Consider shifting the awnings so that they are below the sills of the second floor windows, and extend the use of the awnings across the entire front façade of the building.

Chateau Laurier (1 Rideau Street) | Formal Review | Site Plan and Heritage Permit | Larco Investments; Capital Holdings Limited; Architects Alliance; Momentum Planning and Communications.

General Comments

  • The Panel is generally supportive of the proposed massing, and sees the contemporary expression of a bar building facing the park as a strong expression and a good move – particularly from a public realm perspective. The Panel does however see opportunities to further refine the massing and improve the relationship between the proposed addition and Major’s Hill Park, the Rideau Canal, as well as adjacent streetscapes and important view sheds.
  • The Panel is cognisant of the delicate balance of finding an appropriate contrast between the original heritage structure, and the new addition, but the Panel believes that thoughtful measures to introduce more stone, resulting in less contrast, could improve the proposal.
  • In order for the UDRP to play a key role for such an important project, the Panel suggests that the applicant attend a Focused Design Review session, which would include some Panel members, as well as key resources from the City and National Capital Commission.

Design Approach

  • The Panel is supportive of the lowered height and the contemporary design principles applied by the applicant. Furthermore, the intention to design an addition that primarily responds to Major’s Hill Park, as opposed to appearing primarily as an annex to the Chateau, is understood and appreciated by the Panel.
  • The Chateau Laurier is viewed by residents of Ottawa as a public building, and therefore the Panel is very appreciative of the improvements to the internal courtyards, as well as the clear, logical wayfinding established through the building.
  • The Panel advises further study to explore opportunities for more direct access to Major’s Hill Park from the hotel.
  • The Panel suggests that there may be opportunities to engage both the park and the building, particularly along the interior gallery and the exterior colonnade. One suggestion is to extend the ramp to a new exterior platform with the intent of improving functional linkages between the interior and exterior of the building in the northwest corner of the site.
  • The Panel is very supportive of the visible distinction between the original hotel and the new addition on both the west elevation (canal side), and the east elevation (Mackenzie Avenue). The view from Mackenzie is particularly successful with the incorporation of an easily read plinth   where the building steps out.
  • The design intent of the original hotel and its early addition was for the building to be viewed with a foreground, middle ground and focal point.
    • One suggestion from a Panel member is to revise the design to reflect a more aggressive interpretation of this original intent. Improve the north elevation by introducing different planes, and visual elements to disrupt the simplicity of the bar form, and ensure that key architectural elements of the original hotel are not obstructed when viewed from the park. The Panel believes these interventions can be achieved while holding true to the applicant’s philosophical approach to the project.
  • Explore ways to better integrate any penthouse and mechanical projections into the building – given the bar building design approach, the Panel is of the opinion that a completely flat roof is preferable. If possible, move the mechanical elements to the basement.  
  • Work to enhance the Mackenzie entrance to the addition so that it is clearly articulated and welcoming to tourists.

Materiality

  • The Panel understands the challenge in terms of using stone and masonry while building an addition with a clearly contemporary expression. It is recommended that the proposed materiality be further explored, with the intent of finding opportunities to incorporate more masonry in combination with the proposed glass.
    • One opportunity is to bring across the datum line established above the ground floor of the west elevation of the Chateau, and use stone above this line.
    • Study the use of stone for vertical elements to frame the glass and add a sense of calmness to the design.
  • The Panel believes there are other opportunities to respond to datum lines and cornices, which would result in the addition to still appear detached and respectful, but better relate to the existing hotel. Consider introducing stone at the base of the addition, and establishing horizontal lines, to help achieve a stronger linkage.

View Impacts

  • It is the opinion of the Panel that there are opportunities to tweak the massing, particularly on the canal side. Consider adjusting the alignment and treatment of the west façade by pulling in the addition away from the canal, thereby opening up more of the original west elevation of the hotel from several vantage points, including; Major’s Hill Park, and the Rideau Canal Locks.
    • In addition to exposing more of the face of the Chateau, the removal of the two units at the west end of the corridor (Floors 2-6) allows for a more interesting interpretation of the northwest corner of the building.
  • The Panel recommends introducing an increased stepback on the seventh and eighth Floors to reduce their visual impact from several vantage points.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that incorporating more masonry - particularly on the vertical elements of the west elevation will greatly improve the compatibility of the addition with the original Chateau. As a result, the Panel believes the visual experience of the hotel will improve from Major’s Hill Park, and Mackenzie Avenue near the United States Embassy, as well as from the York Street Steps.
  • The Panel emphasizes the critical importance of lighting to the success of the project and anticipates that further studies will follow. Avoid too much glow, and anticipate the visibility from the Interprovincial Bridges and Vieux-Hull.  

February 1, 2018

Albert-Slater Street Functional Design Study | Formal Review | City Infrastructure Project | Transportation Services; City of Ottawa

General Comments

  • Street redesigns are some of the most challenging projects from an urban design perspective given the number of stakeholders involved, and the Panel commends the applicant for taking this transportation plan to the UDRP. Further, the Panel recognizes that it is extremely challenging to implement a long-term vision in an interim condition.
  • Having the opportunity to discuss this project at the Panel is a sign that the City takes its responsibility of creating urban places very seriously. The Panel is generally supportive of the broad design measures put forward in this proposal, and appreciates the division of the project into three distinct sections.
  • The Panel very much appreciates the analysis associated with the Mackenzie Bridge section, including the clear identification of the viewsheds, focal points, and the identification of the approaches. The central part of the study area between the Mackenzie Bridge and the west section are also special parts of the downtown core, and it is the Panel’s opinion that they too merit a similar level of analysis.
  • Given the complexity of the project, the lengthy timelines, and the varied stakeholders, the Panel strongly recommends that the City’s Transportation group work to foster partnerships as the project moves forward. Establishing clear processes and ensuring streamlined communication can help build trust and transparency with the public and with affected businesses and property owners. A good communication strategy can safeguard support for the project as it proceeds.

Place Making

  • The Panel strongly believes that the project presents opportunities to think very carefully about transportation functionality, while also capitalizing on place making opportunities. Identifying prospective locations for new plazas and other public spaces can have the effect of creating a framework, where future private development can integrate into this vision.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that an interpretive master plan for the entire effected streetscape should be drafted in association with this project. The master plan should include a lighting plan, and the location of future monuments, as examples – and the general approach should be to work towards a city design, rather than a federally inspired design. Thematic development can be derived from, or associated with notable Ottawa figures, and other cultural heritage, which reflect the city’s municipal language. This design theme could apply to light poles, bus stops, street signs, etc. and should read consistently along the lengths of the streets in order to establish a unique, but consistent design language along the subject streetscapes.
  • The Panel sees wayfinding and signage as very important components of this project that should be further developed.
  • Through analysis of sightlines, view corridors, heritage buildings, and the location of major institutional buildings, the Panel suggests speculating about the most meaningful areas of the study area. Special design attention should be focused on these areas.
  • The Panel considers the proposed public library as an enormously monumental development, directly affecting the west section of the project. The new roads, and their relationship to the library site, can represent important healing from the urban blight and neglect of the past that has affected parts of this area of the city. Specific design direction should result from careful analysis of the slopes and grade changes, to ensure effective movement from Slater Street to Bronson Avenue. This flow should be elegant, and void of competing interests. The Panel emphasizes that the reconstruction of the road network in this location will result in a critical connection between the downtown core and the redeveloping Lebreton Flats neighbourhood.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that both Albert and Slater Streets represent crucial western gateways into the downtown core. Beyond right-of-way design and functionality – the Panel suggests that the massing, shapes and architectural expressions of buildings along these important roads, are also critical to the overall urban design success.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the majority of the public art investments are best directed to Mackenzie Bridge, as well as the west section of the project, near the future library. These sections act as important gateways into the downtown core.
  • Consider the introduction of more Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) throughout the project area.

Functionality

  • Given that the project is a combination of interim and long-term measures, and is responding to the future LRT system, the Panel is very supportive of the approach presented which allows for certain aspects of the street functionality to morph over time. The Panel is also appreciative of the pedestrian thought that has gone into the overall design.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that a crucial element of the west section of this project is to create sensible, seamless connections to the new LRT station at Lebreton Flats. Pay close attention to the grades, and ensure a strong, well thought out relationship between the reconstructed right-of-ways, and the future station.
  • The detailed technical drawings show potential conflict between cyclists and transit users embarking and disembarking from buses, given that the cycle tracks are located on the same side of the street as the bus stops. Ensure there is relatively continuous flow of the diverse users of the right-of-ways through the core.
  • The Panel advises the applicant that there will likely be concerns with impacts on the availability of on-street parking. Ensure good communication and simple signage with respect to on-street parking availability, as well as parking alternatives.
  • Explore public-private strategies with respect to establishing effective wayfinding.
  • The Panel strongly supports an approach to the project that allows considerable flexibility, allowing the City to respond appropriately to issues as that arise as the project evolves.
  • Drop-off space is becoming more and more important, and the Panel recommends planning so that sufficient area is set aside for drop-offs and pick-ups.
  • The Panel sees the west section as the most challenging aspect of the project and suggests establishing a design principle regarding clarity and continuity. The current proposal shows many changes in curbs, angular streets and relatively complex lines. Simplify moments along the west section of Albert and Slater in order to improve the safety of the users, and establish better continuity.
  • The Panel strongly recommends that the applicant ensure that the redesigned downtown portion of the streets are flowing with minimal disruption. It is crucial that traffic flow is not hampered by deliveries, or other user conflicts. Apply a flexible approach and ensure that the redesigned streets do not create daily aggravation for their users.

 

January 11, 2018

1976 Scott Street and 320 McRae | Formal Review | Major Zoning Amendment | Roderick Lahey Associates Inc.

General Comments

  • The Panel recognizes the reoccurring urban design dilemma faced by development projects adjacent to future LRT stations along this line; appropriately transitioning to the existing low-rise residential area.
  • The Panel is supportive of the evolution of this project, particularly with respect to the built form. The Panel’s comments seek to refine certain aspects of the proposal, including the tower width on the north and south elevation, the corner condition, and the quality of the pedestrian realm. The project, with some adjustments, can positively contribute to the evolving high-rise character of this section of Scott Street.

Tower Expression

  • The Panel is of the opinion that the proposed tower is too wide from the north and south elevation. Squaring the tower, as opposed to the current rectangular expression would result in a slimmer profile, thus reducing the slab appearance.
  • The reduction in the width of the tower, and the introduction of variations and breaks in the Scott Street façade should be implemented in the zoning. The adjustment to the form can be achieved, in part, through the rearranging of stairs and elevators – and a slimmer form would result in a reduction in the need for material changes.
  • The Panel believes that some additional height to the tower could be acceptable from an urban design perspective if designed appropriately, and it could provide an opportunity to introduce a more dynamic top to the building that could include penthouse units.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that balconies along the west elevation should be integrated into the main face of the tower.
  • The podium should be clearly articulated at the corner of Scott Street and Tweedsmuir Avenue. The Panel believes that the zoning should ensure that the vertical expression of the tower does not begin immediately at the corner.

Ground Floor and Pedestrian Environment

  • The Panel discussed the merits of expanding the site area. In particular, the adjacent lot immediately to the south along Tweedsmuir Avenue. This would allow for the creation of a pathway linking Tweedsmuir Avenue to McRae Street. Barring this, a laneway through the lot, as narrow as 1.2m in width, would allow for a distinct pedestrian circulation through the site, creating a pleasant buffer between the high-rise portion of the site and the low-rise residential character to the south.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that the McRae Street building edge should be recessed in order to create a wider promenade, with a double row of trees in front of the ground level retail units. This would significantly increase the quality of the retail environment and the streetscape.
  • The Panel suggests reducing the length of the four-storey building along McRae Street in order to increase the size of the proposed park.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the height of the ground floor retail units along McRae should be increased in order to appropriately accommodate commercial uses.

Neighbourhood Transition

  • The Panel believes there is a need for some design cohesion amongst the new tower developments along Scott Street. Consider a six-storey podium, which could act as a datum line along the block, which could be picked up by future projects.
  • The Panel has some varying opinions regarding the transition from the proposed tower to the existing low-density residential neighbourhood to the south along Tweedsmuir Avenue. The Panel points out that the three-storey townhouse units do not directly relate to either the proposed tower to the north, or the existing house forms to the south, however a housing form of three to five stories may be successful at this location. Consider allowing for more breathing room between these units and the allée.

340 Huntmar Drive | Site Plan Control Application | Microtel Kanata Inn and Suites by Wyndham; Dredge Leahy Architects Inc.

General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the opportunity to comment on this important addition to the Kanata Town Centre, and understands the challenges associated with carefully balancing the architectural expression as it relates to the particular aspects of the site’s context, with regimented corporate standards. Despite this, the Panel feels strongly that this proposal represents an opportunity for the proponent elevate the Microtel corporate brand as it enters the national capital market, particularly on this property, which acts as a gateway site with the Kanata Town Centre.
  • It is a mandate of this Panel that buildings must face the public street. As such, the Panel does not support the approach presented, which aligns the street edge with the rear side of the hotel. The Panel strongly advises that the building be flipped so that the front faces Huntmar Drive. It is the Panel’s opinion that the facing the front of the building toward the street is a critical urban design starting point.

Architectural Expression and Building Orientation

  • The Panel strongly recommends flipping the building, so that the front faces Huntmar Drive, while the parking area abuts the rear of the hotel. The rear façade can still function as the location of an entrance to the hotel for those arriving by car, but this entrance should be secondary to the street facing entrance.
  • Relocating the main entrance to the Huntmar Drive façade should include the addition of a canopy, and possibly a glass block feature, and other design elements that give visual prominence to this entrance along the street. Attempts to bring surprise and delight to the streetscape, through architectural detailing at the main entrance, would be appreciated by the Panel.
  • Consider ways to enhance the window surrounds and the cornice along Huntmar Drive in order to add some colour to the overall expression.
  • The Panel recommends relocating the tower element, along with other architectural elements associated with the front entrance, to the Huntmar Drive façade. Align the tower with the entrance.
  • With respect to the pool area, the Panel suggests increasing the size of the windows, possibly enclosing the waterslide entirely in glass, with the intent of creating a memorable visual beacon at this corner of the property. This will distinguish the overall expression of the hotel and help to animate its presence on the street. Consider cladding the pool pavilion with brick to differentiate it from the rest of the hotel.
  • Consider bringing up the brick cladding on the main part of the hotel to the third floor of the building (the grey line).

Landscape and Amenity

  • The Panel strongly believes that a Landscape Architect is required in order for the project to be successful. Landscape is of particular importance given the extensive, well-integrated, and lush landscape features on the Tanger Outlet property across the street, as well as the opportunity provided by the lots’ adjacency to a creek. Try to integrate the existing landscape context into the site.
  • The Panel is of the opinion that more trees and shrubs should be planted along the Huntmar Drive edge in order to bring more landscape interest to the front of the property.

99 Fifth Court | Formal Review | Minor Zoning Amendment | Minto; Tact Architecture Inc.; FOTENN Planning & Design

General Comments

  • The Panel commends the applicant on a well thought out and rational proposal on a very important traditional commercial block in the city’s Glebe neighbourhood. Fundamentally, the Panel appreciates the gesture of preserving the existing brick commercial building along Bank Street. The Panel believes that the critical objective of this development must be its successful integration into the Fourth and Fifth Avenue streetscape, as well as a design that is sensitive to the existing Bank Street commercial block. The Panel is of the opinion that the current proposal needs significant improvements in order to express itself appropriately as a background building that emphasizes the visual primacy of the historic street façade. It is recommended that this application return to the Panel in order to review further refinements to the proposal.

Heritage Context and Design

  • The Panel commends the applicant for the appropriate use of natural and natural looking materials, such as stone and synthetic wood, which will integrate the new construction well with the existing heritage commercial row.
  • The Panel recommends using red brick on the first two levels of the new building, along the Fourth and Fifth Avenue façades, to ensure continuity with the existing building along Bank Street, and to connect the building to the character of the residential streetscapes to the east. Also, consider using stone on the foundations to reflect the material patterns of the nearby houses.
  • Overall, neutral colours and materials are important to maintain contextual cohesion.
  • In order to give the building a quieter expression and better respect the heritage character of the neighbourhood, the Panel is of the opinion that the upper stories, beyond the two-storey datum line, should be recessed. The upper stories of the building should be simple in their expression to allow the building to function visually as a backdrop. This would allow for a reduction in the roof massing, permitting the mechanical room to be centred, and surrounded by amenity space, thereby improving the visual experience of the building from elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
  • Appropriately integrating the new building into the existing residential neighbourhood is crucial. The Panel recommends establishing a clear two-storey datum line across both the Fourth and Fifth Avenue facades, to align with the two-and-a-half storey houses that line these streets. The datum lines can be established by the roofs of direct access townhouse units fronting the streets, and can reflect a contemporary expression. The setback of the building at the ground level, on both the north and south façades, should be generally flush with the houses to the east.
  • The Panel is concerned with the contrast of the massing between the new and existing building, particularly as viewed from the northwest. There is a 90-degree angle where the west facing façade extends upward, to the top of the building, from the existing heritage structure. Consider stepping back upper floors of the building so that the massing contrast is less stark.
  • The composition of the balconies is distracting in its current form. The Panel recommends integrating balconies into the façades of the new building, thereby making the vertical bands more prominent, and establishing a simplified vertical alignment on the north and south façades. 
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the visibility of the heritage building would be enhanced if the lobby to the residential units were pushed back beyond the wall of the existing building. The design of the entrance could also be simplified as to not detract from the heritage building at this corner.

Laneway and Outdoor Amenity

  • The Panel recommends that the outdoor amenity area proposed between the existing and the new building is reconsidered to ensure that the space is activated and useful for its users.
  • The Panel is concerned with the proposed diagonal parking spots along the rear laneway. The pedestrian experience can be ameliorated by eliminating these parking spaces, or converting them to parallel spaces, and introducing direct access to the ground level studio units facing the rear of the lot.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the applicant should conceptualize the rear lane as a Woonerf, where its treatment and functionality create a welcoming public space that clearly prioritizes pedestrians. The connection between Fourth and Fifth Avenue could include vehicular use, but the design should ensure slow speeds for these users.

386 Richmond | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | rla/architecture; FOTENN Planning & Design

General Comments

  • The Panel recognizes the challenges associated with this narrow property, and commends the proponent for presenting a good overall design, with an appropriate use of cladding material. This model of development is of interest to the Panel; however, there are some concerns associated with the replicability of this proposal on other lots within the vicinity, given constraints associated with building setbacks and potentially limited separation distances between buildings.
  • It is the opinion of the Panel that the proposed 16 residential units is very ambitious given the site constraints. Specifically, the three-metre rear yard setback to an abutting lot could be problematic for future development to the rear.

Architectural Detailing

  • It is the Panel’s opinion that the proposed metal panel board cladding material is appropriate. However, given the visibility on the east and west sides of proposed six-storey structure, the Panel recommends exploring options for improving the appearance of the side facades. Pursue solutions involving digital printing, mural designs, or adding texture, as this represents an important gesture to the neighbourhood.
  • To add cohesion to the front façade, the Panel recommends echoing the main commercial window proposed on the first floor, on the upper levels of the building as well.
  • To further enhance the aesthetic quality of the building, the Panel suggests adding colour to the soffits, or to other visible architectural elements.

Context and Replicability

  • The Panel recognizes that an important challenge associated with this site is maintaining street continuity. It is the opinion of the Panel that the recess of the façade at the building entrance should be reduced. Bringing the entrance closer to the sidewalk will allow the building to better align with the existing buildings on Richmond Road, thus maintaining the existing rhythm on the street, as defined by building entrances.
  • The rear setback is highly problematic if a development is proposed on the lot at the rear. The Panel asks that an increase to this setback be considered. If the rear lot were developed in a similar way, there would only be six metres separation between the structures, seriously compromising the quality of life for residents of both buildings. Typically, a minimum of six-metres is the required rear setback to ensure sufficient sunlight, with an ideal of 7.5 metres.
  • Given the site context and the potential for similar development on the adjacent properties to the east and west, the Panel suggests that the glazing and light should extend from the front and rear of the building, with the sidewalls remaining solid.
  • As a potential model to consider, the Panel suggests looking at the Belgian narrow house form, designed with high ceilings that allow for penetration of light deep into the interior.

Functionality

  • The Panel is of the opinion that bicycle parking should be at grade. Moving the entrance closer to the street could allow for a reconfiguration of the interior layout of the ground floor, thus allowing space for bicycle parking.