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Panel recommendations

The City’s Design Review Panel meets the first Thursday of every month at City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa. Recommendations from the Formal Design Review are provided here.

August 6 and 7, 2020

353-357 Gardner Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Rosaline J. Hill Architects; Paquette Planning Assoc.


  • The panel is of the opinion that the proportionality and scale of the building on the site works well.
  • The Panel recommends giving some additional consideration to the base, middle, top legibility of the building.

Site Plan

  • The Panel is generally supportive of the approach to the site plan in terms of the entrances to the building and their placement.
  • The Panel recommends studying the ground floor layout, including integrating the lively activity of the neighbourhood.
  • The details on the design of the planters along the McArthur façade are important and the Panel suggests that they be clad in a way to tie into the base of the building.
  • The Panel has some concerns with the accessibility of the site and emphasizes the need for the main entrance to be fully and easily accessible.

Built Form and Architecture

  • The treatment and articulation of the façade along McArthur is positive. This could be even further empathized by:
    • intrducing a slight differentiation of the upper floor, which could be achieved by capping the corner element; and
    • using a larger cursing of materiality such as an Arriscraft stone and a defined base that would help with the overall scale.
  • Consider introducing a slight stepback above the second or third storey.
  • The distribution of colour needs some additional consideration in terms of the legibility and the use of lighter colours on less prominent parts of the building, such as the Gardner façade.
  • The Panel raised some concerns with the intention to match the colour of the adjacent building on Gardner. The relationship between the two needs some additional study.
  • The approach to ‘tucking in’ the mechanical penthouse should be further studied to ensure that the penthouse is not visible from a distance.
  • The size of the windows should be studied further. There appears to be too many small, narrow windows.

Zibi block 206 and 207 | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application (for 206 and 207) and Zoning By-law Amendment (for 206 only) | Windmill Development Group; Dream Unlimited Corp.; Kohn Partnership Architects Inc.; Teeple Architects


  • The Panel is extremely concerned by the increase in height of this proposal and how it deviates from the outcomes of the built form plan as developed by the Joint Design Review Panel with the National Capital Commission.
  • The Panel has specific recommendations related to built form and materiality, and has some concerns with the lack of soft landscaping.
  • Fundamentally, the Panel believes the most appropriate built form for the site would be a cluster of mid-rise buildings and that, due to the visual prominence of the site in relation to the Capital Symbols, any tower consideration should conform to the built form guidance as outlines in the masterplan.

Site Plan and Landscaping

  • The nature and uses of the site have changed significantly with the introduction of a mixed-use neighbourhood and the Panel has concerns with the industrial heritage rationale justifying the lack of proposed trees. The Panel recognizes the history of the industrial site and the need to reflect this history in the design; however, with the evolution of the site from industrial to a mixed-use residential area, the landscape intent should also evolve.
  • The Panel recommends that the wind impact and the solar exposure be further studied.
  • The Panel indicates that the ground level treatment of the development is not fully resolved, including the elevations and the proposed uses as they relate to the surrounding public realm.

Built Form

  • The Panel indicates that the DNA of development on the Island, as envisioned through the masterplan process, is a cluster of mid-rise buildings that work together to serve as a backdrop to the National Capital landscape, and not be in competition with National Symbols. To this end, the Panel has significant concerns about height creep. The height should be reduced to conform to the heights in the developed JDRP built form plan as approved by Council.
  • The Panel supports framing the public realm with the podium and the mid-rise building.
  • There is a suggestion to design a stepped slab building for this site. Though not ideal, this would be one way of bringing down the height while maintaining some gross floor area.

Architecture and Materiality

  • The Panel appreciates the elegance of the architectural expression.
  • With respect to the two buildings, the Panel is supportive of the distinct designs; however, suggests that the colouration and weathering of the metal panels for the office building be further studied to ensure that the material reflects the design intent.
  • For Block 206, with respect to colour, consider a different hue which is a bit warmer and softer than the stark white, to create a quieter expression with a material combination that blends in with the background.
  • The Panel has expressed some concerns about the North façade treatment. The base of the building appears very heavy.

320 Mcrae Street and 315 Tweedsmuir Avenue | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | GWL Realty Advisors Inc.; NEUF Architect(e)s; James B. Lennox & Assoc.; FOTENN Planning & Design


  • The Panel appreciates the changes to the design from the previous comments; however, the Panel still has some lingering concerns with respect to the bulkiness of the tower with respect to the floor plate and materiality.
  • The Panel strongly recommends that the applicant work closely with the City to preserve the existing trees and introduce new street trees along the McRae Ave and Scott Street frontages.

Built Form

With respect to overall mass of the tower:

  • The proposed floor plate is still in excess of what the City’s High-Rise Design Guidelines require and the Panel requests that the applicant explore ways of slimming down the bulkiness of the tower expression.
  • The building could benefit from increased stepbacks, especially along the Scott Street façade. Introducing greater stepbacks will also improve some microclimate issues.
  • Greater vertical articulation could be achieved by opening up the space above the top floor balconies to the sky, so that the silhouette of the building begins to be sculpted at the top.
  • There is a suggestion to further articulate the façade of the tower to reduce its perceived bulkiness.
  • One option to create a more slender tower appearance would be to remove all of the solid vertical elements from the corners. Another option would be to introduce balconies at the corners to lighten the appearance of the tower.

With respect to the residential units facing McRae:

  • Provide a public realm connection at ground level between the tower and the townhouses, preferably one that provides for vehicular movement, but at the very least a pedestrian connection midblock. The corridor connection at grade could be relocated to the second storey to allow a passageway all the way from Tweedsmuir to McRae. This would provide flexibility to everybody – both drivers and pedestrians.
  • For the four-storey built form, there is an opportunity to treat this more as a series of individual townhouses. This could be achieved by increasing the vertical expression between the units and slightly stepping back the upper floors, so that the perceived façade at street level is more reflective of a pedestrian friendly scale of two or three storeys with a fourth-floor terrace.


  • Further study of the materiality of the tower is needed to help to break down the mass.
  • The corners of the tower could be lightened by creating a larger scale, more predominant window pattern and avoiding smaller windows, which make the tower appear larger.
  • For the residential units facing McRae, the Panel recommends that a brick material is more appropriate to reflect the residential use.

Public Realm

  • The Panel recommends that the relationship between the private realm (ground floor terraces) and the public realm on McRae Ave be further studied. A clear separation needs to be provided between the sidewalk and the terraces.
  • The Panel recommends that the ground level of the townhouses should be no more than six steps (1.5 meters) above the street.
  • As McRae Ave is a residential street, it should be lined with street trees.
  • The Panel strongly encourages the applicant to work with the City to maintain the existing trees and introduce street trees along the Scott Street frontage.
  • Further study of the ground floor retail along each frontage should be undertaken to determine feasibility.
  • The Panel recommends the building be set back from the proposed park.

1705 Carling Avenue | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Claridge Homes; NEUF Architect(e)s; Novatech; James B. Lennox & Assoc.; FOTENN Planning & Design


  • The Panel is concerned with this car-dominated site plan and recommends more emphasis be placed on the pedestrian in the design of the site.
  • The Panel recommends that height should be shifted away from the low-rise residential uses to the north, specifically the residential uses along Tilbury. The tower should be located on Carling, with a mid-rise building at the back.
  • The Panel recommends that active uses and connections be introduced along the Carling façade.

Site Plan

  • There are some concerns regarding the proximity to the neighbouring properties both to the north as well as to the east and west.
  • The setbacks are minimal to the adjacent sites to the east and west and future development of those sites will impact the livability of those facing units.
  • Any entrances facing Carling Avenue should connect to the street.
  • There is a concern with the amount of space dedicated to the vehicle and bisecting the site with the vehicular access.
  • There is also a concern that the vehicular access route negatively impacts the potential of the amenity space to connect through to Carling Avenue. This may limit the potential to animate the amenity space.
  • The amenity space at the rear of the property doesn’t appear to be connected to the buildings. The tower is surrounded by a parking lot and driveway. It would be an improvement if the amenity space was extended to the base of the tower for ease of access and improved views from the units.
  • There is a concern with the lack of amenities on site, particularly for senior residents.

Built Form

  • The Panel appreciates the scale of the podium, however the applicant should consider calibrating the height of the podium to respond to the adjacent low-rise apartment buildings.
  • The tower should be located as far away from Tilbury as possible to mitigate the impacts to the low-rise residential neighbourhood to the north. With the tower fronting onto Carling Avenue, the mid-rise building can be located behind the tower and provide the transition from the tower to the low-rise residential neighbourhood.
  • The Panel recommends that the tower could also be further sculpted, and its bulkiness reduced.
  • The Carling façade needs further study and more animation along this façade needs to be introduced. The entrances should be brought closer to Carling Avenue and direct pedestrian access from the units to Carling should be provided.


  • The pattern of the darker and lighter colours should be more consistent.
    • Avid having changes of materials in the same plane.
    • The pdium expression should be consistently one colour and address Carling Avenue.
  • There is some concern with the blank facades. This needs to be further studied.

July 2 and 3, 2020

1330 Carling Avenue and 815 Archibald Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Figure Architects Collective; FOTENN Planning & Design


  • The Panel recognizes the importance of this site and the need for change in the area, however, is concerned with the proposed height of the building, given the size of the site, and the lack of transition to the adjacent neighbourhood.
  • The Panel appreciates the various setbacks but stressed the importance of base-middle-top approach to design and recommends a stronger podium expression. The Panel also expressed concerns about the use of dark materials and the use of the selected bright orange colour.

Height and Transition

  • The Panel felt strongly that the height and mass of the proposal is over-scaled for this site and lacks transition to the adjacent neighbourhood. Acquiring additional property may help to improve the proposal.
  • From a long-term perspective, the Panel is not confident that the proposed development will contribute to the sense of scale and community that the City wants to create along Carling Avenue.
  • Surface parking should be enclosed in a one or two storey podium which would create a better transition to the neighbourhood.

Built Form

  • The Panel recommends establishing stronger street relationship and emphasizing the podium with a vocabulary that is distinct from the tower.
  • Better transitioning should be introduced on Archibald St., where there is a very tight sidewalk, and the proposed tower is at 24 storeys without a step back. The design should incorporate a wider set back with soft landscaping and trees. The tower should step back another 3m above that so that you can achieve that scale on Archibald.
  • One Panel member suggested, to improve the transitioning, acquiring additional property to the south may assist with providing an angular plane transition.
  • The idea of viewing the podium and the tower as a single L-shaped element is a noble concept; however, the type of precision with metal panel is very difficult to achieve unless a metal plate material is used, which is very expensive. It is very difficult to wrap the frame, that this design relies upon.
  • The ground floor appears under scaled compared to the rest of the building.
  • Consider wrapping the amenity along the roof so a second exit from the roof terrace can still be achieved and the entire roof area can become amenity space.

Architecture Expression and Materials

  • The Panel cautions the use of the metal panel, as it can be problematic in different climatic conditions.
  • The colour palette of the building is dark and heavy. It should reflect and create a more neighbourhood feel. Consider a residential scale module like brick.
  • The corner unit on the northwest side, will have late afternoon sun exposure that should be embraced as an opportunity in the design. Explore wrapping the corner with glazing.

1995 Carling Avenue | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Claridge Homes; EVOQ Architecture Inc.; FOTENN Planning & Design


  • The Panel has significant concerns with the density and separation between the proposed tower and the impact on the surrounding existing and future context. Overall, the Panel is concerned with the density and scale of the proposed development and generally feels that a nine-storey building as permitted in the zoning is appropriate.
  • The Panel recommends that the public realm around this building can be significantly improved and the base of the building improved with a stronger corner expression.

Intensity, Tower Separation, and Transition

  • The Panel believes there are very significant planning issues and urban design challenges for a building of this size on this site; the main issue being that the proposed development is too dense for the site. The density proposed is more appropriate in a downtown context.
  • A few Panel members consider this a mid-rise site ,due to the challenges of tower separation and lack of separation and transitioning to the low-rise context to the north.
  • As proposed, the tower is not meeting the intent of the City’s High-Rise Design Guidelines.

Public Realm

  • There should be a wider sidewalk and room for street trees.
  • The design of the ground floor would be improved if the podium was flipped, creating an entrance at the corner with a small arrival forecourt. Currently, the entrance is tucked away from the corner and the idea of wrapping the corner is lost.

Architectural Expression

  • In addition to the significant reduction in height, the architectural expression of the tower should be refined with more attention given to the base, middle and top.
  • The Panel has concerns with the proposed materials and the articulation of the building. It is often helpful, to break down the scale of the building, to group floors together rather than articulating the single storey expression. Architectural elements could be framed, with breaks introduced at reveal floors.
  • There are concerns with the dark colour, and the associated heat island effects.
  • The base of the building needs to be further developed to ground the building at a more human scale. The current design feels like the building is hovering above the ground.

6301 Campeau Drive | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Bayview Hospitality Group; API development


The Panel supports the proposed uses but there is an overall consensus that there is too much surface parking. The Panel is generally in favor of the proposed private street or laneway adjacent to the park, but does not support perpendicular parking along that edge. The design should focus on the pedestrian experience moving though the landscape to establish a sense of place through integration with the park.

Site Plan and Built Form

  • This is a unique site and the proposed development would benefit from gradual setbacks, wider sidewalks, and tree plantings to knit it into the surrounding context.
  • The interface with the park would be improved by having a pedestrian connection on the park side of the property line.
  • The parkland is an asset to the site. Consider re-sculpting the 6th storey of the park facing buildings by increasing their height in some areas and lowering it in others. The would add variation to the continuous wall along the park and better relate the development to its surrounding context,
  • The Panel suggests studying some recent Scandinavian examples of courtyard design. Explore different built forms such as L-shaped buildings that provide courtyards, that would open out towards the park.
  • The Panel suggests reconsidering the access off Cordillera, to provide one entrance without exiting into the right of way. Rather than having 2 cross entrances, explore approaches to reduce some of the vehicular traffic.
  • At the corner of Campeau and Cordillera, the treatment of the units should not create an end wall condition on Cordillera, but perhaps a corner expression so that the building faces both Campeau and Cordillera.

Surface Parking

  • There is an extraordinary opportunity to weave the building, landscape and pedestrians use and circulation into the design of the site and to reduce the dominance of the car.
  • Studying the pedestrian experience of the site design will help to provide a community dimension to the development.
  • Parking should be reduced at the northwest corner to provide a small plaza space with greenery between the townhouse units facing Campeau and the driveway to the west.
  • The applicant is encouraged to further examine the grade relationships and vehicular circulation to improve the relationship of the townhouses with the adjacent open space, ideally avoiding having them back onto parking lots.

Central Street

  • The central street needs further study and refinement, as designed it will be a very busy vehicular route and the pedestrian experience will need to be enhanced. A raised landscape or amenity area parallel to the street may help to further define it.

390-394 Bank Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment Application | Urban Capital; RAW Design; FOTENN Planning & Design


The Panel commends the applicants for a sophisticated design. Improvements to the proposal could be gained by studying the streetwall height (datum line) at the the 4th storey to relate to the narrow right of way of Bank Street and the established built form along the street.

Built Form and Materiality

  • The Panel recommends further study of an appropriate street wall for this context. Specifically, strengthen the datum line at the fourth storey to reflect the built form context and the scale of the street in this main street condition.
  • There is a high degree of sculpting of the building; however, the corner condition at James Street would be improved by reducing the extent of the brick façade treatment on Bank Street to create a glass corner, and by lowering the height of the corner expression to four storeys to match the south façade.
  • Modifications to the colours of the upper floors from a black to a grey would help the upper floors recede and assist with the establishing a stronger datum line along Bank Street.
  • Consider reducing the openings along the south elevation as the building is abutting a vacant lot.

5506 Manotick Main Street | Site Plan Control Application | Formal Review | Lloyd Philips Associates Ltd.


The Panel is generally supportive of this positive new addition to Manotick Main Street, at this gateway location. Several refinements to the proposal were recommended, including simplification of the materiality and architectural expression of the building, reorganization of the parking lot.


  • The Panel supports the applicant’s approach to this development as a gateway site and supports the site organization of the building located at the street edge with parking in behind.
  • On eclectic mainstreets such as Manotick Mainstreet, the greatest unifying element that ties all development together is the streetscaping treatment. It will be important to have a consistent approach to the public realm so that over time it contributes positively to the character of the street.

Building Design and Materiality

  • The scale of the building is supported by the Panel in this context.
  • Consider increasing the height of the ground floor and strengthening the vertical rather than horizontal elements of the architectural expression. The Panel recommends eliminating the canted wall facing the patio, to help the building read more clearly as a traditional mainstreet building.
  • The Panel recommends a more regular fenestration pattern by creating more consistent heights of windows, sizes of opening, and by eliminating the strip window.
  • Explore the possibility of using right angles at the corners of the building, which may help reduce building costs.
  • The Panel strongly recommends simplifying the façade treatment and quieting the expression of the building by reducing the palette of materials to only one or two elements. Red brick and stone are recommended for this context and a building of this size. The use of stucco is discouraged, as it has poor longevity.
  • Some organizational ideas for the materiality that were discussed include:
    • Have one material vertically emphasize the centre portion of the front façade by extending it from the top, down to grade. Infill portions could be one material, and the rest another material.
    • Similar t the bank building across the street, create a strong stone foundation expression with brick façade treatment above.
    • The prminent corner treatment that mirrors the bank building contributes to the gateway effect when entering the village. Strengthen this effect by employing one material for the corner treatment, as described above.
    • If stne is used as a façade treatment it should extend from the ground up, as it is structural in appearance.

Site Organization

  • The Panel expressed general support for the organization of the site, particularly the corner patio, locating parking in the rear, and locating the entrance to the parking lot at the rear of the site.
  • Explore alternative configurations for the parking lot, which is currently somewhat inefficient and unresolved. The goal should be to simplify the layout, and increase the amount of space for landscaping, perhaps by increasing the size of the landscaped “island”. Pavers would also help improve the space.
  • The Panel recommends relocating the garbage enclosure to the rear corner of the site. This would improve the rear entrance to the building and simplify access for waste removal vehicles.

Corner Patio

  • The Panel strongly supports the corner patio and especially the approach to having it inset into the landscape and sheltered by the retaining wall. A trellis may be an effective means of amplifying this effect.
  • Without losing the sheltered effect, explore means of strengthening the patio’s presence at the corner. More openness would serve to enliven the intersection and public realm.

1040 Bank Street | Site Plan Control Application | Windmill Development Group Ltd.; Hobin Architecture; Lloyd Philips Associates Ltd.


The Panel expressed strong support for this project and primarily offered architectural refinement comments. It is a sensitive site plan and massing and will make for a handsome project.


  • For staff’s benefit, the proponent should produce winter renderings from the vantage point of the canal. Depending on the season, foliage coverage will not always be present, and the façade will be more visible.
  • Continue to study how the building will be lit and what impact it will have on the surrounding streets, specifically, how much light will be emitted from balconies and explore the possibility of bollard lighting, landscape lighting, and lighting entrances to help illuminate the streetscape.

Building Design

  • The Panel recommends exploring means of minimizing the impact of the exterior stairs and enhancing the landscaping treatment on Aylmer Avenue.
  • Consider individual entrances to the townhouses, rather than paired entrances and reorienting the corner townhouse unit to have its front entrance on Galt, to further animate the Galt façade and increase the amount of space for landscaping on Aylmer.
  • The beginning of the slope for the garages could be shifted to the property line, which will enable the garages to be lowered slightly and perhaps eliminate a few steps on Aylmer.
  • The projecting balconies may be an unintended distraction. Consider connecting the four vertical piers on the Galt façade of the six-storey building with a stone header.

Relationship to the Church

  • The Panel generally supports the contemporary reference to the existing church and recommends continuing to finesse the proposal to strengthen this relationship.
  • Continue to study the materiality of the end gable of the townhouses in comparison to the end gable of the church and consider following the vocabulary of the church more closely in this location. The dark material currently proposed may be overpowering.
  • The townhouses relate well to the church; however, the building should also distinguish itself from the church. Reconsidering the arches over the entrances to the townhouses may help in this regard.

Landscape Design

  • The pavers in the driveway space will be an important detail to maintain as the proposal progresses.
  • Extend the planter that lines the Galt façade of the townhouse further towards the driveway entrance to better conceal the garage area.

June 5, 2020

Gladstone Station District Secondary Plan | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment | City of Ottawa


  • The Panel appreciated the opportunity to review the plan and recognizes the exciting long-term opportunity to reimagine this underutilized part of the City.
  • The focus on pedestrians and cyclists was supported, but the Panel felt that the plan would benefit from stronger and more direct connections for all modes of transportation, including a more regular street layout, and fewer dead-ends.
  • While the support was generally expressed for intensifying the area, especially along the transit corridor, the Panel questioned the number of towers and the building heights being contemplated.

Density and Built Form

  • The Panel generally felt that the plan proposes densities that are too high for this area. Locating the highest densities along the O-Train corridor and near the transit station is supported, but the number and height of the towers was questioned by the Panel. It was suggested that a primarily mid-rise neighbourhood with some high-rise buildings would have been sufficient to achieve the goals supporting pedestrian activity and the main streets.
  • The Panel recommends a more nuanced approach to the built form strategy along Preston and Gladstone Streets that supports the existing scale and the finer grain rhythm of the street. The blanket six storey approach may detract from the small frontages and low scale that are tied to these streets feeling special.
  • The facades of the buildings facing the pathway along the O-Train corridor must not be designed to feel as though they are the backs of buildings. They need to also front onto and animate the pedestrian spaces.
  • It was generally felt that additional facilities were needed to support this density.

Street Network and Connectivity

  • The Panel was of the opinion that the proposal could be strengthened if “megablocks” and dead-end streets were avoided and a more regular network of fine grain streets were implemented.
  • More direct connections that extend through the neighbourhood and more that were accessible by all modes of transportation, including automobiles, are recommended. The Panel recognizes staff’s strategy to deter cut-through traffic, but felt that given the densities that are being proposed, a stronger, more direct circulation route that is less confining would be preferable.
    • Strengthen the east-west cnnection between Laurel Street and the pedestrian bridge. It should be a woonerf-style promenade that prioritizes pedestrians, but permits slow vehicular traffic.
    • It wuld be preferable if the north-south connection under the Somerset Bridge extended further south, rather than ending abruptly.
    • Extend Street B further nrth, rather than have it end.
    • Explre the possibility of a street on the north side of the park to break up the mega block.
  • The Panel supports the proposed pedestrian and cyclist connections, but recommends strengthening how they are displayed graphically in the plan, as it will be critical that they remain embedded in the plan and they are currently difficult to see.

Open Space

  • The proposed plaza or privately owned public space on Gladstone Avenue will be important to the plan. It needs to be at least the scale of the plaza at the World Exchange Plaza.
  • The Panel appreciates the rationale for consolidating all the park space in one area, but has concerns that the configuration restricts access between the neighbourhood streets and Somerset.


450 Rochester Street and 367, 369, 371 Preston Street | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control ApplicationApplication | Aberdeen-Preston Holdings Limited; Arnon; Hobin Architecture


  • The Panel expressed strong support for this high quality development, especially the building envelope, the architecture, and the tree planting strategy. Comments were generally directed towards strengthening the treatment of the public realm and refining the architecture.

Public Realm and Landscape Design

  • Public and private space need to work well together to create as much public realm as possible. Consider that post COVID-19, even more room may be needed in the public realm.
  • The Panel recommends refining the design of the Aberdeen Street public realm to provide a clearer and more consistent pedestrian pathway on public property towards the Booth Street Complex.
    • The planting bed is nt the recommended approach, as it would reduce potential space for sidewalk and make the space less accessible.
    • The prposed curb geometry is also problematic in this regard.
    • Recnsider the location of the vents at the corners of the woonerf, or at the very least shift them to align with the edge of the buildings.
  • Consider a more consistent landscape treatment throughout the development. On Beech Street, move the four trees in front of the pharmacy and the food store to the street edge to align with the others and improve their chance of growing large.
  • The corner plaza on Preston Street is a great addition to the development. It is recommended that the local community be involved in its programming (and the programming of the spill-over space) to ensure its success. Ensure that the quality and location of traffic lights and hydro poles do not detract from the quality of the space.
  • The corner plaza on Preston must be designed to read as a true public space and not seating for a restaurant. It must be open to the public realm.
  • The woonerf style street design is excellent, however consider making it a one-way street, at least south of the garage access.

Building Design

  • The Panel expressed general support for the proposed built form and the architecture, particularly the stepped massing approach and the expression of the base.
  • The design and materiality of the brick podium is quite handsome, however the soffit at the corner of Preston and Beech needs improvement.
  • The Panel recommends recessing the lobby and residential entrance or the entire seven-storey link further back than the towers in the Aberdeen Street elevation. This will free-up more space for pedestrians in the public realm and help to break down the long streetwall.
  • The heritage buildings in the Booth Street Complex have a particular aesthetic that could be captured in this development. Consider mirroring a similar materiality into the base of the Rochester elevation rather than have red brick on the upper floors.
  • Look for additional opportunities to tie the brick on the upper levels visually to the base by drawing the brick down in places to connect the two. Avoid the effect of having brick float on a glass base.
  • The Panel recommends exploring the possibility of breaking the Preston façade down into three or four pieces to better fit the traditional rhythm and scale of the Street.
  • Reconsider the location of the access to the public parking and food store on Beech Street or have them recessed and absorbed into the food store to allow for more space in the public realm.
  • The one-bedroom units located at the inside corners of the U-shaped building and problematic and will has little access to light. It is recommended that these units be repurposed as storage or consolidated with other units.
  • Staggering units on either side of the courtyard space may help to minimize privacy issues between units directly facing each other.
  • The tower rooftop elements will need to be carefully designed, as they will be visible from the highway.
  • Consider integrating green roofs in the areas that are not designated for amenity space that would encourage a microclimate for bees, etc.

112 Montreal Road and 314 Gardner Street  | Formal Review | Minor Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Manor Park Management Inc.; Woodman Architect & Associates; Levstek Consultants; Momentum Planning and Communications


  • The Panel did not express support for the project as it is currently proposed, which is a significant departure from the outcome of the previous focused design review session. The Panel’s primary comments related to reducing the size of the tower floor plates, lowering the height of the podium, reorganizing and simplifying on-site circulation, and simplifying the architectural expression of the buildings.
  • The Panel recommended a focused design review session between staff, the design team, and a few panel members to work on the design.

Massing and Building Design

  • The Panel has significant concerns with the massing of the buildings as proposed.
    • The verall density is too great for the site and the tower floorplate sizes are too large. The entire project should be reduced in scale.
    • The pdium element is currently too tall and it is strongly recommended that the it be reduced at least to six storeys. At eight storeys, it will read as a mid-rise building and the podium effect will be lost.
    • The massing particularly needs t be scaled down near the west property line. The 10.6m setback does not provide adequate transition to the neighbourhood.
  • The buildings’ materiality and compound curvilinear forms (both in plan as well as in elevation) read as institutional rather than residential and are out of place with the character of Vanier. It is recommended that the curved portions of the building be limited to the podium and that the towers be rectilinear in form.
  • The Panel recommends that the proposal return to the previously proposed urban design approach, reducing the number of towers from three to four (without increasing the floor plates). It is appreciated that the number of towers has been reduced to three, but the overall density of the project has increased.

Open Space and Landscape Design

  • The swirling and colourful landscape is intriguing, but could benefit from additional organization. Perhaps the colours could be used as an organizational element to delineate where features such as playgrounds and bike parking are located.
  • The Panel potentially supports the notion of a parkette located at the south of the site along the Vanier Parkway, but a more complete idea of what is proposed in that space needs to be illustrated. It currently reads as underdeveloped, leftover space.
  • The Vanier Parkway is characterized by high amounts of vegetation and the Panel supports the strategy of a landscaped setback in this area. Rather than have the two large breaks in the landscaping where the pathways to the building are located, it is recommended that the pathways be tightened up and some tree plantings carry across them for continuity.


  • Combine and eliminate some of the circulation elements in the southwest corner of the site to simplify the space. Currently, the drop-off, roundabout, parking garage entrance complicate circulation and pedestrian crossings.
  • The Panel strongly recommends integrating the parking ramp into the base of the building to avoid it acting as a barrier to pedestrian movement.
  • The pedestrian link from the Vanier Parkway through the building to the central courtyard will likely be too long and dark to be a comfortable space.
  • Given the scale of the massing and the geometry of the buildings, the wind tunnel effect will likely be a problem in the pedestrian spaces.


1357 Baseline Road  | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application and Minor Variance | Smart Centres REIT; Groupe Selection; ACDF


  • The Panel supports this project and believes it will set a good precedent for the street.
  • The Panel cautioned that the materials will need to be carefully executed at construction to achieve the effect shown in the renderings.
  • The Panel had several recommendations to improve the public nature of the POPS, ensure that the trees grow to the sizes shown in the renderings, and to ensure that the spaces are safe and universally accessible.

Building Design

  • The Panel appreciates the look at feel of the building and the design excellence of the curved balconies. The architecture will suit the use well.
  • Special attention will need to be paid to the materials chosen and their execution at the time of construction to achieve the desired effect shown in the renderings. For example, ensure that a white coating is applied to the concrete on the underside of the balconies or that it is tinted in colour to achieve the crispness of the renderings. The undersides will be highly visible from the street.
  • Avoid the use of a corrugated aluminum panel for the balcony dividers. The crispness of the balcony design will be reduced with the introduction of a top and bottom frame required when using corrugated metal. Using a curved shaped metal panel to achieve the aesthetic that the renderings indicate is suggested.
  • The Panel acknowledges that there is a need to differentiate the commercial and residential facades, but the residential currently feels underdefined. The floors extending to the ground need to be more thoughtfully addressed.
  • Consider limiting the entrances of the main retail space to the west side. This may allow the plaza to be lowered and have a greater degree of accessibility.

Privately Owned Public Space & Landscape Design

  • The POPS space is elegantly designed as a garden typology and will be pleasant when viewed from the balconies, but the Panel expressed concern that it will not be welcoming enough to the general public. Too much of the space is treated as a forecourt to the building. Locate the heavily planted areas closer to the building, which will be at eye-level from the street, and more seating areas lower and closer to the street.
  • As opposed to having the space gradually slope down towards the street, consider stepping the space down in a series of terraces.
  • The POPS would be much more successful if it were inward facing (while maintaining public accessibility. Given the context, the outward facing terraces will likely be under used. The POPS will feel like a special place and benches should face towards it.
  • Given the shallow depth of the parking garage beneath the POPS, it is unlikely that the trees will be able to grow to the sizes shown in the renderings. Explore the possibility of cutting back the P1 level of the underground garage to ensure sufficient space for soil and root systems.
  • Wrap the proposed street tree plantings on Baseline around the corner and along Clyde Avenue.
  • Especially given the proposed use of a retirement home, the Panel raised several concerns regarding universal accessibility and the POPS. The plan for the seating steps at the corner plaza may require additional railings and the desired effect of the space will be lost. Continue to study this. Sloped floors or grouping the stairs into small groups may be a better option.
  • Consider the greater connection network with consideration to the accessibility needs of the residents of the building. Strong and safe connections will need to be planned to allow residents with reduced mobility to walk to nearby shopping centres, bus stops, etc.


100 Bayshore Avenue  | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Ivanhoe Cambridge and KingSett Capital; Lloyd Phillips & Assoc.; Hobin Architecture


  • The Panel generally felt that while this is an elegantly designed building, the proposed density poses issues relating to tower separation distances, site operations, and lack of amenity and greenspace.
  • Recommendations were made to reorient and reduce the mass of the towers, re-envision the forecourt as a pedestrian friendly space, and to develop a development and connectivity strategy for the greater area.


  • The Panel recommends that the City undertake a high-level coordination plan for the greater area to better understand how all these neighbourhoods and developments will function together in terms of pathways and connectivity.
  • Explore the possibility of sharing the driveway with the adjacent property to the west when it develops. There are likely to be many curb cuts and driveways along this street in the future.

Public Realm

  • The Panel felt that the proposed design of the public realm is the weakest part of the proposal.
  • Redesigning the forecourt, which is primarily lay-by and parking is strongly recommended. Some of the surface parking should be eliminated and converted into a more pedestrian-friendly plaza or garden amenity space.


  • The Panel expressed reservations towards the density being proposed on the site, which has had a negative impact on the separation distance between towers, the lack of open space and landscaping, and operational difficulties such as garbage removal. Reduce the size or the tower floorplates or perhaps the proposal should be re-envisioned as a one-tower site.
  • The Panel supports staff suggestion of re-orienting the west tower to improve separation distances between the two towers.
  • Consider locating the taller of the towers higher towers in the east and lower in the west.

Building Design

  • The Panel generally supports the architectural expression of the buildings and especially the simple treatment of the towers, the reveal level, the proportion of the podium. The parking has also been skillfully hidden in the podium.
  • The Panel recommends that the proponent continue to study the interior functionality of the podium and specifically how garbage will be removed from the site. As proposed, operational difficulties are highly likely.
  • Explore alternative uses for some of the ground floor of the podium such as indoor amenity space or as ground-oriented liner units. Currently too much of the ground floor and exterior is reserved for functional elements such as parking and garbage.
  • Design the indoor parking levels in such a way that they may eventually be converted into another use. Because of the proximity to transit, the parking may eventually be underused.
  • The Panel recommends continuing to study what mitigation measures might be implemented to reduce the noise of the bus terminal on the residents of the building. It is likely to be quite noisy during rush hour.
  • The Panel expressed reservations regarding the use of dark colours on the tower. With sun exposure, they do not tend to age well.


1335 and 1339 Bank Street  | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Lofty Riverside GP Inc.; Lloyd Phillips & Assoc.; Hobin Architecture


  • The Panel generally felt that while this is a very handsome building, but is located on too tight a site. Concerns were raised regarding the negative impacts that it will have on the neighbouring property and the public realm on Bank Street. To improve these issues, recommendations were made to explore a limiting distance agreement with the neighbour, reduce the scale of the podium, introduce a POPS on the site, and to relocate the lay-by and the parking ramp.
  • Several comments were also made to refine the architectural expression or the building.


  • The Panel strongly recommends that the proponent explore a limiting distance agreement with the neighbouring land owner. Without such an agreement, this may not be a high-rise site. Should the adjacent property redevelop, the proposed proximity to lot line will cause issues.
  • Along with the development on the opposite side of Bank Street, this site will contribute to the being a gateway into the community. There is a missed opportunity to have the two developments relate more strongly to each other, by such gestures as mirroring the location of the POPS at the corner and shifting the tower south and by lowering the height of the podium to match the other development.


  • The Panel recommends reducing the size of the tower floorplate or perhaps including wide-shallow units on the east side to improve the separation distance to the neighbouring property. Shift the tower as far west as possible.
  • The Panel appreciates the architectural lantern effect at the top of the tower, but made several recommendations to strengthen its expression:
    • Incrporate a stronger vertical element in the tower and have the lantern cap it.
    • Tie its design t the warehouse-style expression of the base.
    • Lighten the clour of the mechanical penthouse, as its dark, heavy expression detracts from the lantern.
  • The reveal floor in the tower is supported, but should be recessed, rather than being coplanar.
  • Consider lightening the colour of the tower, as it will read as very heavy on the Bank Street façade. It was suggested that the middle panel could be made white to lighten the west façade.


  • The Panel recommends dropping the height of the podium to four storeys.
  • The Panel supports the gesture of breaking the podium up into three distinct volumes, but felt that this design move can be made for evident if the podium introduced various plane changes between the three volumes as well as a variation in height, even if it means lowering the podium expression where the tower is.
  • Some Panel members suggested toning down the historical character of the architecture of the podium.
  • The Panel recommends finding an alternative location for the ramp to the garage, as it will create a dead space on Bank Street. A retail unit would be the preference in this location.

Public Realm

  • Too many elements, including the lay-by, the multi-use pathway, the bus stop, street trees and street furniture are being located in the public realm on Bank Street which will detract from the pedestrian experience.
  • The Panel strongly recommends that the drop-off on Bank Street be eliminated or relocated elsewhere.
  • A privately owned public space on the site would greatly improve the proposal, especially if it mirrored the space on the other side of Bank Street.


  • The Panel recommends continuing to explore sustainability measures beyond mechanical systems.

May 1, 2020

99 AVENUE U (FORMERLY 530 TREMBLAY) | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | CLV Group Developments; Project 1 Studio


  • The Panel reiterated its general support for the project. It will be a good example of a low-rise infill building and the aspirations for the woonerf-style shared street are commendable.
  • Significant concerns that remain with the site plan include the misalignment of the buildings with the existing block pattern, the location of the surface parking and garage entrances, and the quality of the pedestrian realm and landscape design.

Site Plan

  • The Panel feels strongly that offsetting the alignment of Avenue T and the central pedestrian space between the two buildings will appear as a mistake and will be a missed opportunity.
  • The Panel expressed concern for the amount of space dedicated to automobiles. The garage entrance and abundance of surface parking will interfere with the success of pedestrian spaces and mobility.
    • The Panel felt strngly that the location of underground parking entrance as proposed will detract from the success of the central open space.
    • The seven parking spaces n the north side interfere with pedestrian mobility and it is recommended that they be eliminated or moved to the south of the buildings.
  • If surface parking cannot be removed, it may be possible to reorganize the site in other ways to alleviate issues:
    • Shift the buildings t the north and relocate the woonerf and all surface parking to the south of the buildings; or
    • Relcate the main drive aisle to the current location of the woonerf, line it with on-street parking, and eliminate the parking in the rear.
    • Relcate the sidewalk on north side of the woonerf to the south side between the parking and the terraces.

Building Design

  • The Panel supports the architecture of the project and considers it exemplar of this scale of development.
  • It is recommended that all terraces be raised above ground level by a few steps and their edges softened with plantings. This will make them more comfortable and reduce headlights shining into units and exposure to exhaust.
  • The Panel reiterated their comment about including two-storey live-work units. They should be located primarily on the north elevation and facing the plaza.
  • Reconfigure the floor plans to have internal amenity spaces and primary lobbies face out onto the central plaza space.

Landscape Design

  • The woonerf is a commendable aspiration, but the landscape plan seems underdeveloped. There is a missed opportunity to strengthen the pedestrian realm throughout the entire development.
  • The plantings appear to be low in height throughout the project. The Panel recommends incorporating plantings with additional height, especially around the at-grade terraces to buffer them from headlights and exposure to exhaust. Tall and dense plantings, such as cedar trees, are recommended along the south edge of the site to provide a buffer from the railway.
  • Consider planting more trees and planting areas and including protection, based on experiences learned with the design of Lansdowne Park. As an alternative consider introducing roll curbs in the woonerf.
  • Add more pedestrian crossings (if the walkway is not moved to the south side).
  • The Panel supports the integration of the rail theme into the landscape design. Consider the opportunity to run the “rails” in an east-west orientation. The theme may be better captured if it were aligned with the actual tracks.

339-341 GLOUCESTER STREET | Formal Review | Minor Zoning By-Law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Roderick Lahey Architects; FOTENN


  • The Panel expressed general support for the architectural expression of the proposal, but felt very strongly that without accompanying legal agreements with neighbouring properties, the scale of the building will establish problematic relationships and is not a building typology that should be encouraged in Ottawa.
  • Several suggestions were offered to finesse the architecture and to strengthen the base of the building.

Building Mass and Contextual Considerations

  • The Panel expressed serious concerns with the scale of the proposed building and the poor relationship that it establishes with adjacent properties. In the event that the neighbouring properties should redevelop with a similar typology, the result would be narrow tower separation distances that would result in poor living conditions.
  • It is recommended that the proposal demonstrate greater adherence to the City’s high-rise guidelines or secure legal agreements with neighboring properties to ensure adequate separation distances will be achieved in the future.

Building Design

  • The base of the building appears too squat and lacks presence at the street level. Explore means of strengthening its expression as more of a true podium, perhaps by increasing its height to two storeys.
  • The Panel expressed general support for the strong parti diagram presented and the “pinwheel” approach to alternating light and dark materials in the front façade.
  • Achieving the desired effect of the “pinwheel” design will be dependent on creating a change in planes between the two tones. A minimum one-metre pane change is recommended.
  • It is recommended that the location of the balconies be adjusted, so that the underside of the balconies and the edge of the pinwheel planes are not aligned. The boarder of the pinwheel should be visible all around its edge.
  • The Panel supports the prominent, yet light design of the top of the building. Explore the possibility of showcasing the blank white space as an illuminated lantern element.
  • Consider exploring alternatives to the black and white colour palette. It may not be the most appropriate fit for the context. The black also encourages heat gain and may not age well.
  • The Panel expressed concern over the proposed size of the units, which appear to be very compact.

March 6, 2020

46 Gilmour Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment, Heritage, and Site Plan Control Application | Robertson Martin Architects; Novatech


  • The Panel appreciates the unique challenges that this site poses and recognizes the project architect’s efforts, which are commendable.
  • Improvements to the treatment at grade and the sideyard relationship to the neighbouring apartment building were strongly recommended.
  • Other changes recommendations included simplifying the materiality and undertaking a more contemporary approach to building design.

Relationship to Apartment Building

  • The Panel strongly recommends that the proponent continue to explore means of improving the sideyard condition between the proposal and the apartment building to the west. The goal should be to draw more light into the space, and reconcile overlook issues.
  • Consider shifting the core towards the east and notch out parts of the mass on the west facade. With additional notching on the west, the windows could be reoriented to avoid directly facing the neighbouring property.
  • Consider redesigning the space between the two buildings as a pedestrian walkway through the site to provide a bit more separation.
  • Using a lighter building material on the west façade may help to brighten the space.
  • Perhaps the City could offer setback relief on the Gilmour side, if more sideyard setback is provided on the west facade.

Ground Floor and Site Plan

  • The Panel acknowledges the storm water overflow route condition on Lewis Street but requests the proponent consider dropping the elevations of the building down closer to the grade of Gilmour Street (as much as possible) to increase the floor to ceiling height of the ground floor.
  • Reconsider the recessed entrances to the building. The Panel recommends enclosing the entrances into a vestibule and bringing the front doors closer to the street.
  • Eliminate one of the proposed parking spaces on the Lewis side to establish a more positive relationship with the public realm and the ground floor layout.

Building Design and Elevations

  • Consider a more contemporary expression to the building design while maintaining respect for the heritage character of the area:
    • Incorporate additional glazing.
    • Eliminate the stone and simplify the expression of the Gilmour façade by exclusively using brick and glass or by changing materials with plane changes.
    • The penthouse could perhaps be treated differently and be largely glazed.
    • Stepping back the penthouse is recommended.
  • The strong cornice line along side façade may not be needed. The Panel recommends quieting the façade with a single material all the way to the top. This façade will likely remain highly visible for quite some time.

Landscape Design

  • There is limited space for landscaping in the setback, however consider columnal species for privacy screening as an opportunity to integrate additional greening. This would work well with a more contemporary treatment of the ground floor with more glazing. Cassey House in Toronto was cited as a good precedent.

1098 Ogilvie Road & 1178 Cummings Avenue | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments | KWC Architects; Pierre Martin & Associés Architectes; Lapalme Rhealt Architectes et Associés


  • The Panel thanks the proponent for their collaboration with staff and the Panel through a focused design review session. The proposal has much improved.
  • Panel expressed general support for the proposal, which will be an important precedent-setting development for an area that needs intensification.
  • Further refinement is needed to the pedestrian network and user experience, the design of the hotel building, and refinement of the architecture of the tallest tower.


  • Continue to study how the whole area comes together in terms of placemaking, gateways, and edge, landscape integration, and stormwater management integration.
  • As the remainder of this large block continues to evolve, perhaps the central park space and strong views of Our Lady of Lourdes church could act as organizing device for the context. Consider adjusting the internal street layout on the site to open a view corridor to the church from Ogilvie.

Building Design

  • The Panel supports the proposed height of the podiums.
  • The Panel recommends differentiating the hotel building from the rest of the podium and development. It should be designed to read as part of the same “family” but nuanced architecturally to be distinct and unique.
  • Eliminate the heavy feature at the top of the tallest tower. Rather, use the expression of the rooftop to define the silhouette and set it apart as a landmark within the development. The façade facing Cyrville is more successful in this respect.
  • Explore options to have the hotel attain a greater degree of public presence at grade.
  • Consider dropping the parking below the pool underground to establish a stronger dialogue between the pool and the garden spaces.
  • The proposed garden may work better on the residential side of the development to capture the early morning and late day sun.
  • Consider making the pool an indoor pool, possibly at grade. It would get more use year-round if it were indoor.

Pedestrian Experience

  • The Panel recommends that the proponent continue to study the character of the streets, the pedestrian experience and the network of pedestrian connections through the site.
    • Direct connections will be very important to achieve transit-oriented development goals. The pedestrian realm twists at turns as proposed.
    • Ensure that all pathways feel safe, public, have “eyes on street”, and are well lit.
    • Avoid blank walls such as the parking garage and continue to look for opportunities to better animate the development at grade.
  • Re-evaluate the design of the drop-off to have it read more as a street.
  • Consider planting an additional row of trees on the cummings edge to signify the formality of the edge of the hotel and a second row at the street edge.

February 7, 2020

1050-1060 Bank Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | KWC Architects; James B. Lennox & Assoc.; Holzman Consultants Inc.

Overhead view of site plan between Aylmer Avenue, Bank Street and Euclid Avenue
Concept photo of the building


  • The Panel expressed strong support for project, how it has evolved, and the contribution that it will make to the neighbourhood. Several recommendations were offered to help finesse the scheme.

Site Plan

  • The Panel supports the reinstatement of the rear lane and is pleased to see that the setback has been increased. A through-lobby may now be possible.
  • The Panel acknowledges the need for vehicle parking, but would recommend additional bicycle parking on the site.

Building Design

  • The proposal has evolved nicely from the previous version and the clarity of the massing and architectural articulation holds the site better. The alignment of the break in the front façade with the main entrance, the finer proportions of the side facades, and the two-storey units with access to the roof are strong architectural moves.
  • Consider integrating a second break in the front façade, similar to where the main entrance is, perhaps located between the two proposed retail units, if “Retail Unit 2” is split into two.
  • The negative corners and delamination of materials is supported.
  • The Panel is divided on the necessity of the gateway signage. It would be possible to achieve a similar effect by strengthening the architectural expression of the corner and the treatment of the top to have it read as a beacon.
  • There appears to be a missed opportunity to strengthen what will be phenomenal views looking out towards the Rideau Canal from the building.
  • Ensure that the cantilevered balconies at the corner are not value-engineered. A support column would detract from the design of the most important corner of the building.


  • The use of high-quality natural materials is commendable.
  • The stone treatment of the base at the southeast corner (where the coffee shop is proposed) should fully wrap the corner onto the Bank Street façade.
  • Fritted glass is recommended for the balconies to obscure the inevitable clutter which will be on them.
  • Consider using curtain wall system as opposed to window wall.

2070 Scott Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Azure Developments Inc.; Quadrangle Architecture; Stantec

Site plan for building at Scott street
Photo of building at Scott street


  • The Panel supports the general architectural expression of the building, but voiced concern that the proposed density and building height are too high for the site and context.


  • The Panel feels that the proposed density and building height are not appropriate for this site nor the context. Notionally, the Panel feels that the highest densities should be promoted adjacent to the transit station and tapered down further along Scott Street.
  • The Panel recommends reducing the size of the podium to three or four storeys. The six storeys podium is less problematic on Scott Street, and perhaps also on Churchill, but should be stepped down on Winona and the south side of the development to relate to the low-rise neighbourhood.

Building Design

  • The architectural expression of the building is very elegant, however does not sufficiently succeed in reducing the apparent mass nor the impact on the context. The tower needs to be truly broken up, perhaps in an “L-Shape configuration.”
  • The south façade of the podium seems under articulated, given the likelihood of pedestrian traffic that will likely use the rear walkway. Explore means of enlivening this façade by integrating additional entries or transparency.
  • It will be important for the streetscape surrounding the building to be well landscaped. The hand drawings show large trees, but there likely is insufficient space for them in reality.
  • Ensure that the greenroof portion on the Winona side of the development is adequately greened. It needs to become a proper amenity space.
  • Explore means of reducing the prominence of the loading and parking garages. They will detract from the streetscape.

January 10, 2020

1980 Ogilvie Street (Gloucester Centre - Phase 1) | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment Application | First Capital; Roderick Lahey Architect; FOTENN Planning + Design


  • This will be an important precedent-setting project and the Panel supports the proponent’s aspiration to locate a residential tower in close proximity to a transit station.
  • Achieving a stronger pedestrian realm should be the highest priority of this proposal. The Panel recognizes the challenging context, but as the long-term vision is to urbanize the mall, this project should set the tone for future development.

Relationship with Public Realm

  • The Panel recommends strengthening the building’s contribution to the pedestrian realm by animating the first few floors of the building on the north facade. The aim should be to have the pedestrian realm feel less as the back of the building and more as a streetscape.
    • Set the building back further on the north side to ensure sufficient space for curbside street trees (as opposed to against the building) and a wider sidewalk dimension.
    • Relocate the interior ground floor parking underground or shift it to the south side of the building to provide additional glazing and pockets of animation on the north side.
    • Explore the possibility of a glass pavilion on the first and second floors. A double-height retail space would make a stronger case for retail.
    • Consider redesigning the residential lobby of the building as a through-lobby with a prominent entrance on the north side.
    • Animate the second floor pedestrian bridge by glazing it.

Building Design

  • Special attention should be paid to the second floor of the project, the pedestrian connection through the mall, and the pedestrian bridge. The bridge and the second floor should be highlighted as a beacon with additional glazing. Design with flexibility in mind, as the second floor could potentially evolve into amenity space in the future.
  • Explore possibilities of reproportioning the tower to have it read more as a point tower and less as a slab.
  • Cover the vehicular drop-off on the south side, so that it is not open to the sky. This would help frame the adjacent hydro corridor and improve the urban feel of the development.

British High Commission (140 Sussex Drive) | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | HOK Architects Corp.; CSW Landscape Architects; Novatech Engineering Consultants Ltd.


  • The Panel appreciates the proponent’s fulsome overview of the historical context, the rational approach to the building layout, and the detailed description of the proposed façade treatment. It is generally in favour of the design approach and direction taken at this stage.
  • Further study of the contextual impact of the proposed development and its materiality, specifically as it relates to views from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and the river is recommended.

Contextual Considerations

  • The Panel questions how the stark white colour of the porcelain, the size and colour of the mechanical penthouse, and the strong horizontality of the proposal will fit into the landscape and the foreground of the Lester B. Pearson Building.
  • The proponent should produce photorealistic renderings of the development from the vantage point of the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and the Ottawa River to help study the visual impact of the development on the landscape and backdrop.

Building Design

  • The modern approach to the design of the building and how the two volumes relate to the Earnscliffe residence is generally supported by the Panel.
  • Continue to explore opportunities to reduce the visual impact of the mechanical penthouse:
    • Reduce its size through an underslung elevator and putting the elevator machine room below grade, or by moving some of the equipment to the ground level.
    • Reconsider how it will be screened, clad, and especially coloured.


  • The Panel commends the proponent on their selection of such high quality cladding materials, but questions how it will fit visually into the context. Explore alternative colour palettes such as a tone-on-tone gray. This may improve the play on shadows as well.
  • Consider strengthening the relationship to the historic Earnscliffe residence through materiality. Perhaps limestone, broken up with ceramic could speak to a 21st Century interpretation of the building.

Landscape Design

  • Ensure that the impact of the development on the existing trees is carefully studied. Removal and replacement of trees at the construction phase would be preferable, as opposed to subjecting the existing trees to a slow decline over a long period of time.