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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.

July 8 and 9, 2021

715 Mikinak Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application and Minor Variance | Ottawa Community Housing; IBI Group

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponents for their submission and noted that the project is evolving in a positive direction. The Panel recommended continued refinement to create a precedent setting project.
  • The Panel supports the use of colour in the architectural expression. It is recommended however, that its deployment continue to be refined to emphasize the storyline that is beginning to emerge and the hierarchy of spaces.
  • The Panel believes that the landscape treatment should continue to be refined, with emphasis on the pedestrian experience. Vehicular functions should be contained to the greatest extent possible.
  • The project’s sustainability initiatives and social infrastructure are strongly supported.

Colour

  • The Panel recognizes that the colour and texture of the façade treatment are important to the project but is concerned that there is not enough discipline in the deployment of colour. The areas of quiet relief from the bright colours are appreciated, although the grey shown on the renderings appears very dark. The black parapet is also very strong and detracts from the overall façade treatment.
  • The Panel suggests focusing colour to the shutter and blinder elements, so that they’re treated more as “colour flashes” and that the design consider the use of colour to help support the hierarchy of the spaces, such as entrances and gathering areas.
  • The Panel recommends developing a stronger interpretive approach to the translation of the quilt storyline and potential Algonquin themes. The Panel cautions however, that an Indigenous designer should be consulted to ensure the authenticity of the approach.

Landscape Treatment

  • The Panel suggests that amenity areas be further buffered from the parking areas with planting.
  • The Panel recommends increasing the amount of publicly accessible open spaces and soft landscape areas. Pedestrian amenities should be integrated with the active entrance areas and places where residents and visitors will naturally meet and gather.
  • The proponent should consider reinforcing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces by connecting lobby spaces more directly with amenity areas.
  • It was suggested that the proposed open space should have a ‘heart’ that captures the spirit of the place.
  • The Panel strongly recommends moving the garbage storage areas and transformers away from key exterior amenity spaces. Garbage storage should be located within the buildings or located away from pedestrian priority spaces and appropriately screened.
  • The Panel is concerned with the proposed layout of the surface parking, that creates dead-end lanes. The Panel recommends creating a planting buffer to screen the parking lot from the proposed amenity area.
  • The Panel recommends that parking be reorganized by orienting the travel lanes parallel with the amenity area. This would also create a natural internal drop off along the edge of the amenity area. Opportunities to integrate underground parking should also be explored.

At-grade Units

  • The Panel recommends further study of the at-grade units and their relationship to the street. They should provide for an outdoor space that is appropriately screened from the street.

Sustainability and Social Inclusion

  • The Panel commends the sustainability initiatives of the project and suggests that reorienting surface parking as discussed could provide an additional opportunity to integrate bioswales.
  • The Panel recognizes that the involvement of Indigenous communities in this project is important and recommends that the design process include Indigenous representation.

Montreal – Blair Road transit priority corridor environmental assessment study | Formal Review | Environmental Assessment Study | City of Ottawa; Parsons

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for their presentation and recognized the challenges and variables needed to be considered when undertaking a street redevelopment.
  • The Panel noted some inconsistencies between the proposed cross-sections and the renderings that could be improved upon. The placemaking toolkit is supported, but the Panel believes the toolkit could be expanded and considered early in the design process.

Cross-section Design

  • The Panel notes that the cross-sections appear too suburban; four lanes of traffic, a median and two turning lanes at an intersection are not characteristic of an urban street. In particular, the section east of St-Laurent up to the Aviation Parkway intersection might have a denser street fabric than what the renderings show.
  • A streetscape treatment is needed to define the curb, cycle track, street, and sidewalk. The Panel believes a 2.5-meter boulevard on Montreal Road is too wide, unless it includes street tree planting, and recommends resizing the curb to 1 meter, which is sufficient to accommodate streetlights.
  • Consider removing the 2-metre shoulder on Blair Road and relocate the streetlights to that location. Consider having a separate trench for utilities to not interfere with tree roots and have the utility trench next to the property line.
  • The Panel notes that the cycle track's adjacency to the sidewalk might create a conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. Ensure that there is an adequate buffer to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from crossing each other's paths. The buffer could accommodate benches and provide enough soil volume for trees.
  • Consider having the sidewalk as close as possible to the property line.

Placemaking Toolkit

  • The Panel appreciates the placemaking toolkit and encourages the proponent to expand the design elements to reflect site specific characteristics at the urban nodes and gateways.
  • Use a contemporary language and palette and consider expanding the toolkit to include design elements such as bicycle racks and bus shelters to foster placemaking.
  • There is an opportunity for public art; the Panel recommends that the proponent integrate public art in the planning of the street design such that there is a dedicated area where it can be easily viewed and celebrated, rather than coming in as an after thought.
  • Public art should reflect the history and context of the neighbourhood. It should speak to the local context to foster a sense of community pride and ownership. The community's involvement will be paramount for the success of the public art program for the corridor.

Landscape Design

  • The Panel notes the relationship between pedestrians and cyclists should be further studied as the proposed seating areas at intersections may be difficult and dangerous to access due to pedestrians needing to cross the cycle track. The inclusion of indicators to slow down cyclists at these crossings is recommended.
  • Commercial and residential areas should have different landscape design treatments. Consider incorporating hard landscaping for commercial areas with structure cells for street trees.
  • Study the evolution of this stretch of Montreal Road to reveal opportunities to tell the stories about the history of the community.
  • Bury the hydro lines where possible and consider the location of utility transformers within the design of the street.
  • The Panel recommends retaining a landscape architect or an arborist to ensure the survival of trees and design excellence.

Sustainability

  • The Panel encourages the proponent to continue exploring sustainability and resilience ideas; the integration of LIDS and street trees is appreciated.

100 Bayshore Drive | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | KS Bayshore Inc; Hobin Architecture; Kingsett Capital; Lashley + Associates Corporation; WSP

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for their presentation and for addressing the previous recommendations.
  • The Panel recommended continuing to evolve the mechanical penthouses to integrate them into the towers and to lighten the tower expression, potentially by removing colour and/or simplifying materials.
  • The Panel generally supported the base expression, especially the materiality, but expressed some concerns with its south edge treatment and the openness of the parking garage.
  • The Panel recommended considering more active programming around the base of the building, with less emphasis placed on the functionality of the space and more greening of the site, as well as the reduction of surface parking.

Top

  • The Panel expressed concerns with the roof trellises and their legibility from the street. It is felt that the steel trellises make the building appear top-heavy and would be better “tucked in” to reduce their prominence where the building meets the sky.
  • The Panel recommended improving the integration of the mechanical penthouses by strengthening the design.

Middle

  • The Panel noted that the architecture of the tower could have a quieter expression. There was a preference for vertical openings instead of both vertical and square openings.
  • The Panel recommended integrating the pillar articulations to break up the length of the south façade.
  • Concerns were expressed regarding the darkness of materials. It is recommended that the proponent consider lightening the overall tower expression.

Base

  • The Panel noted that there is a greater opportunity to have a more pedestrian-friendly space around the base, especially along Woodridge Crescent. More public programming and retail could be considered by relocating the bike room to the south side of the building.
  • The Panel favours the use of terracotta and Corten steel and suggests that those materials be contained to the base expression.

Parking Garage

  • The Panel cautioned that an open-air parking garage creates a strong requirement for direct air ventilation and will be highly visible. It is recommended that a more closed façade be considered for garage screening to reduce the impact of headlights and taillights as cars manoeuvre. Similar treatment should be used all around.
  • There was also a suggestion to consider mechanically venting the parking garage to achieve the objectives mentioned above.

Landscape Public Realm

  • The Panel recommended reducing or eliminating the at-grade parking and introducing more greenery at the plaza to soften its edges. There was a suggestion to introduce more seating areas and areas of respite around the building.
  • The proponents should consider reducing the number of entrances by combining the service entrances and relocating the east tower entrance to expand the tree canopy at the plaza. It was also suggested that at-grade parking be shifted to the west so that cars do not dominate the core area and it remains a plaza.
  • The Panel suggested reducing the use of asphalt on the driveway to ensure the continuity of the sidewalk.
  • There was a suggestion to introduce more public uses, such as a café, at the north-east corner to improve the building’s relationship to the street.
  • The multi-use pathway has been well-integrated, but the Panel noted that there are further opportunities for greenery along the path. The proponent should consider a lush landscape treatment within the site that could bleed across the edge.
  • The Panel noted the open space south of the site should incorporate CPTED principles, including adequate lighting, to ensure the space is safe and welcoming and there are no dark entrances.

Sustainability

  • The sustainability elements are appreciated, but the proponents are encouraged to look beyond building features, for example, by considering terraces, permeable pavers, etc.

108 Nepean Street & 257 Lisgar Street | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment | rla / architecture; Fotenn Planning + Design; Taggart Reality Management; Glenview Homes

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for the presentation; the design approach and parti concept are appreciated.
  • The Panel expressed support for the proposed massing and the tower and podium expression, but the Panel notes some issues remain and need to be addressed.
  • The Panel also expressed concerns with the landscape and the activation of the public realm. The Panel noted the proponent should re-examine the landscape plan to improve and increase activity level in the public realm.
  • The Panel supported the activation of the edge adjacent to the existing Taggart property.

Massing and Articulation

  • The Panel appreciated the tower and podium typology and the relationship of the tower form to the public realm that gives the impression that the tower is “reaching out its elbows”. The Panel suggested reducing the floor plate slightly so as not to overwhelm the public realm below.
  • The 6-storey podium on Nepean Street is appreciated. However, the Panel recommended lowering the podium to 2 – 3 storeys on the south side and bringing the tower down to provide more separation distance between the lots.
  • It is understood that the banding approach on the balconies resonates with the building to the south, but the Panel cautioned that this approach might diminish the corner. Wrapping the treatment on that corner around the edge would prevent the south elevation from appearing like a back alley.
  • There was a suggestion to move the mechanical penthouse east on the building to align with the corner edge to create a feature.

Public Realm

  • The Panel recommended the public realm treatment be simplified and urbanized. The proponent should consider the Right of Way on Nepean Street and design a public realm that is welcoming to pedestrians; a 1.8-metre clearway does not provide sufficient width for a sidewalk, especially if light poles, planters, and snow storage are to be considered within that dimension.
  • The Panel cautioned that planters and trees would have difficulty flourishing as they appear to be too close to the building. There was a suggestion to provide greater setback along Nepean Street and O’Connor Street to provide more room for trees to grow.
  • There was a suggestion to use soil cells to ensure trees thrive in an area with limited greenery.
  • The Panel believes that retaining the existing trees would be beneficial and should be considered.
  • The site provides a great opportunity to create a POPS at the corner that would enhance urban life. The corner at King and Charlotte in Toronto, and the POPS outside of Farm Boy on Metcalfe Street, were cited as precedents. These spaces are well used and contribute to a successful public realm.
  • The POPS space should have a two-storey height and include the mezzanine as part of the commercial space.
  • Consider removing the diagonal sidewalk patterning at the corner as it appears out of place. Maintain the public sidewalk adjacent to the site as a clear and legible thoroughfare rather than expressing it as an extension of the site’s design.
  • The Panel suggests using a vertical screen for greening the ramp access to mitigate its presence and to give the appearance that the building is sitting in a landscape.

Materiality

  • The Panel appreciated the rich red brick material, but the predominant grey tones in the palette appear to flatten the tower's massing.
  • The Panel recommended the use of a curtain wall treatment to finesse the patterned glass in the panelling and the use of a window wall treatment behind the balconies.
  • The Panel believes the glass element would be a stronger design expression if it were on the northwest corner.

Sustainability

  • The Panel commended the proponent for burying the hydro lines, and support was expressed for the bicycle approach.
  • There is an opportunity to implement sustainability measures on rooftops and terraces.
  • From a safety perspective, consider adding more lighting on the street and on the side and back of the building.

1330 to 1346 Bank Street | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Cushman & Wakefield; Hobin Architecture

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for the changes made to date, and support was expressed for this project.
  • The Panel recommended simplifying some of the articulation and the overall tower expression. It is recommended that one element of the façade expression be chosen and applied to all sides to create continuity.
  • The Panel noted that the courtyard should emphasize the pedestrian experience, by creating spaces that pedestrians and vehicles can share.
  • The Panel recommended removing parking from the Bank Street edge and exploring the potential for retail uses at the corner.

Tower Expression

  • The Panel appreciates the tower sculpting and noted it is an improvement to the previous design iteration. It was suggested that one design aesthetic be chosen and applied to both towers to emphasize the sculpting, terracing, and the buildings’ 3-dimensional quality and to distinguish them from the proposed tower across the street. It was also suggested that the amount of dark material be reduced.
  • The Panel expressed some concern for the stepping of the plate sizes and the overall effect of potentially making the towers appear bulkier. A slenderer tower-to-podium relationship was suggested.

Plaza

  • The Panel noted that the plaza is an important pedestrian space and recommended a uniform treatment that is not asphalt, so that it appears less vehicular oriented.
  • There was a suggestion to remove the turning circle and allow movement to occur through the site instead.
  • The proponent should incorporate a vehicular drop-off integrated with a landscape that creates a comprehensive design approach. Explore additional programming opportunities to animate the area fronting on the plaza with retail that can spill into the space and relocate the garbage and recycling areas.
  • If a bus stop exists or is planned next to the site, it should be integrated into the proposal.

Parking

  • The Panel recommended increasing the landscape area at the entrance on Bank Street by removing parking spaces on the south side of the north building, to create a more pedestrian-friendly treatment of the public realm.

Sustainability

  • The Panel suggests enhancing sustainability, introducing more trees and white or green roofs, reducing asphalt, and considering stormwater management techniques.

June 4, 2021

1098 Ogilvie Road & 1178 Cummings Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | PMA Architects; Lapalme Rheault Architectes + Associés

Summary

  • The Panel is generally supportive of the proposal; the massing of the buildings, and materiality are working well, and the Panel is pleased with the proponent's willingness to work with them.
  • The Panel notes that a few nuances remain and need to be addressed.

Architectural Expression

  • The Panel notes the proximity of the tower to the hotel creates issues of privacy and visibility for some units; for example, unit 209 faces a party wall. Consider reviewing the unit disposition and tweak the tower to provide better views.
  • The hotel podium appears more prominent compared to the tower podium. There is a preference for the previous iteration of the hotel podium as the upper storey was recessed, more broken down and contextually appropriate.
  • The Panel notes that some modifications such as introducing the step backs in the previous submission, would be worth reconsidering.
  • The Panel notes that adding balconies on the ninth storey is beneficial.
  • The proponent should revise the balcony dividers and windows in the hotel to ensure privacy for the corner rooms is not compromised, as the balcony dividers do not align properly on the floor plans.

Treatment of the Façade

  • The Panel believes that a podium with a darker material would better define the base of the residential expression and the middle and top be combined into a single composition.
  • The bronze L at the top of the tower appears out of place; consider making the tower lighter and its expression quieter.
  • Consider extending the lighter cladding material down through the tower instead of restricting its use to the top ten floors to strengthen its expression.
  • The Panel appreciates the lit lantern on the top and urges the proponent to ensure a maintenance program and clear access to the LED lights are in place for its upkeep

Public Realm

  • The Panel believes further studies are necessary for the development of the park. Involvement from the community and the City’s Parks Department would be beneficial as the park should become the heart of the community.
  • Consider introducing trees along the south edge to provide shade.
  • The Panel supports the courtyard approach.

1200 Maritime Way | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Claridge Homes; NEUF Architect(e)s; NOVATECH; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel is supportive of the podium and tower model, the building’s orientation and relationship with Kanata Avenue are appreciated.
  • The height and density proposed are generally supported, but the Panel would not support a “tower in the park” approach, or a development surrounded by parking.
  • The Panel believes the proposal would have benefitted from an informal pre-consultation and expressed concerns regarding the tower separation between the two buildings, floor plate size, façade treatment, pedestrian experience, the relationship to Maritime Way and the proximity to the adjacent lot.

Context and Site Plan

  • The Panel suggested that an informal and more comprehensive discussion should have taken place to examine the context and development implications prior to a Formal UDRP Review. The Panel recommends the proponent returns to the UDRP for a second Formal Review.
  • The Panel considers the proposal a "tower in the park” approach. Further thought should be given to the proposal's contribution to the vision of Kanata and its surrounding context.
  • The Panel appreciates the presence of the podium on Kanata Way as it reinforces the street. However, the proponent should consider the area's future context, including the evolution of the street and how the development would provide access to exterior amenities, schools, recreation, future LRT and how the frontage along the highway would evolve.
  • Provide a landscape treatment that connects the Kanata Way path to the development and further explore the relationship to Maritime Way, as the building is perpendicular to the street.
  • The Panel expressed concerns with the adjacency of the northeast tower to the property line and the lack of setback that will compromise the potential development on the adjacent lot. Explore alternative tower placements and consider the potential of future development on the adjoining lot to ensure proper separation distance is maintained.
  • Further understanding of the proposed massing and the tower placement is needed. Given the scale of development, the Panel believes more emphasis on the pedestrian realm and exterior amenity area is required.

Massing, Articulation and Tower Orientation

  • The separation distance between the towers and the floorplate size is a concern. The Panel believes the separation distance between the towers is insufficient and will affect liveability of the units.
  • Viewed from a distance the towers also appear to merge together, creating a solid wall. Explore tower placement options, such as situating the towers at opposite ends of the podiums, to improve sky views and access to daylight and consider a floorplate size closer to 750 square metres.
  • Consider aligning the towers orthogonally to improve highway and Maritime Way views between them. Currently the towers will appear at odd angles from each other when viewed from a distance.
  • The Panel recommends further exploration of the façade treatment to differentiate the podium and tower. Consider a base-middle-top approach with a more sculpted top and step back from the podium and create a strong distinction between the base and tower articulation.
  • The buildings will be prominent markers on the skyline for quite some time. Consider defining a skyline element to create a dramatic effect to improve the view from the highway.
  • There is an opportunity to have a better treatment of the top by integrating the mechanical penthouse.
  • Examine a 2 to 5 or 2 to 6 proportion of podium.

Materiality

  • The proponent should continue exploring how to achieve a greater degree of definition and clarity. Currently, there are two to three different palettes that create a "patchwork" aesthetic.
  • The podium needs a stronger presence. Use noble materials to ground the podium and consider how the two-storey units relate to the street and public realm.
  • Eliminate the dark tops on the towers as they draw attention to their height instead of creating the illusion that the towers are disappearing into the sky.
  • Reconsider the dark horizontal brick in the towers as it creates compatibility issues in a tall tower context. Consider having brick only at the podium level.

Landscape Design and Public Realm

  • The Panel's primary concern with the public realm approach is the courtyard's functionality. The courtyard typology is supported; however, its current primary function is to move cars through the development rather than providing a pedestrian experience. Explore the courtyard typology as a landscape treatment for pedestrian use.
    • Create a mre active amenity space between the towers and use the towers to frame the courtyard.
    • Consider tucking the ramp under the building to minimize parking and paving surrounding the courtyard.
  • The proposed landscape is undefined, limiting what can be offered as exterior amenities to the remnant areas of the site. The proponent should provide a landscaping treatment at the base and edge of the building and explore a more deliberate approach for the programming of exterior amenities.

Sustainability

  • Further thought should be given to sustainability measures. The proponent should consider a broader site integration of stormwater management features, such as parkettes.

126 York Street and 151 George Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment, Site Plan Control Application and Heritage Permit |RIMAP Development; Le Groupe Architex; Fotenn Planning + Design; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel believes that this project will be important and precedent setting for the ByWard Market.
  • The Panel is supportive of this project in terms of its heritage responses, including the treatment of the sides of the building and the adaptation of the heritage building for contemporary uses.
  • The Panel appreciates the changes to the massing and stepping of the new building since the previous submission, as well as the changes made to the George Street entrance and edges.
  • The Panel feels that the laneway is moving in the right direction with a stronger mid-block connection and pedestrian clearway.
  • The Panel expressed some concerns with the “slabbiness” of the tower component and its framing, especially when viewed from George Street.

Relationship to the Heritage Building

  • The Panel feels that the integration of new and old is good but that the framing elements of the stepped floors overshadow and loom over the heritage building.
  • The Panel recommends that the stepped floors receive a lighter and different compositional treatment and not be framed by precast elements to accentuate the heritage building more from the York Street perspective.
  • The Panel appreciates the colouration proposed on the sides of the heritage building and the introduction of precast framing.
  • The Panel recommends that care be taken when selecting the shade of precast elements to find the right balance with the tone of the new brick. It is important to be mindful of the heritage building and create a distinction between new and old.
  • The Panel recommends aligning the pattern of the precast frame with the windows on the sides of the heritage building.

Massing and Building Design

  • The Panel feels that the tower floor plates are a little large and look quite slab-like. It is recommended that they be tapered and fine-tuned to achieve a smaller floor plate of 750m2.
  • The Panel was supportive of the previous glass tower proposal, as it gave the impression that the tower was “disappearing into the sky”. It is suggested that the heavy precast frame on George Street and side façade could be reduced, perhaps by introducing metal panel or a curtain wall.
  • The integration of the penthouse may also make the building more dynamic.
  • The Panel acknowledges the improvements to the George Street façade but still has some reservations about its treatment. It is suggested that a similar strategy be used on George as on York, with a banding treatment at the base.
  • The Panel feels that the placement of the balconies on the side façade appear somewhat random and that it would be beneficial for them to be vertically aligned.

Balconies and Amenity Area

  • The Panel suggests that the same level of sensitivity be used for the amenity area to ensure that the interior and exterior spaces area aligned and do not create an awkward relationship with abutting suites.

Laneway and Landscaping

  • The Panel understands and agrees with the proposal to create one wider pedestrian walkway on one side of the mid block connection. It is recommended that the development potential of the site next door be considered, as future development may change edge condition of this space.
  • The Panel supports softening the edges of this space. It is recommended that treatments such as plantings, trellises, or vines be considered. It should be ensured that there is enough soil to plant trees.
  • The Panel appreciates the overall landscape approach and treatment of drop-off area and laneway. It is a sensitive response to the Market context. The laneway could be treated as a woonerf and feature bollards to control vehicular movement.
  • Light will be an important consideration in this space.

The Ottawa Hospital | Formal Review | Master Plan, Lifting of Holding Zone; and Site Plan Control Application | The Ottawa Hospital; Parsons; HDR; GBA Group

Summary

  • The Panel commended the proponent for their presentation; the submitted package shows a well-thought-out response to a project of this importance.
  • The Panel is pleased to see visuals that show the advancements made and the evolution of the proposal integrating the Panel’s previous recommendations.
  • The Panel expressed concerns with the proposed built form at the corner of Preston Street and Carling Avenue and the concerns regarding the treatment of the parking garage along Prince of Wales Drive remain.

Master Plan

  • The Panel is pleased to see the evolution of the design in terms of the Master Plan from both built form and public realm perspectives.

Context and views

  • The Winter scene and eye-level views are appreciated. The renderings depicting people give a sense of scale to the proposed public spaces within the site.
  • The Panel recommends continuing to study key views at eye level, with emphasis on Prince of Wales Drive and the Carling Preston intersection. These are high-priority views that provide key Capital experiences, as residents and visitors enter the UNESCO World Heritage site from Preston Street and from Prince of Wales Drive, and conversely view the hospital site from Dow’s Lake and the Drive.

Main Entrance

  • The main access road to the hospital entrance should be integrated with the site landscape as much as possible.
  • Consider a more rural aesthetic by reducing the extent of asphalt where possible, providing landscaped slopes instead of retaining walls and introducing swales to integrate stormwater management.

Preston and Carling intersection

  • The Panel appreciates the liner buildings along the parkade, particularly on Carling Avenue, as they demonstrate the future potential of the integration with the street.
  • The renderings of Preston Street provide a convincing view of its animation.
  • The Panel is concerned however, that the proposed built form massing at the corner of Preston and Carling will obstruct views to the UNESCO World Heritage landscape of Dow’s Lake. The Panel strongly recommends a landscape forward approach to this gateway to the Capital landscape.
  • The Panel recommends shifting the proposed tower at that intersection west along Carling and creating a wider setback to the proposed edge of the built form to increase the aperture at Preston and Carling intersection. This would improve the visibility of the Capital landscape. Consider additional structural elements to completely screen the parking garage.
  • The proposed interim solution for the Carling Preston intersection is appreciated as a landscape forward approach. It demonstrates how a landscape treatment opens views from the intersection.
  • The Panel recommends that views of the Dow’s Lake landscape should be the first impression given the importance of this intersection.
  • The proposed ramp along the edge of the garage is supported, however the proposed Tower C limits its functionality. The Panel appreciates that Tower C would screen the parking garage, however the consensus is that the tower should be pulled back closer to the LRT station.

Hospital Buildings

  • The hospital wings appear quite prominent, as seen from certain views.
  • The Panel encourages the applicant to think about the rhythm and articulation of the façade treatment, and the potential use of colour to add some rhythm and articulation of the wings.
  • There is a suggestion to align the two wings of the building.

Public realm and Landscape

  • The Panel recommends integrating characteristics of the Farm landscape into the site and applying principles of the 19th-century picturesque design movement to create an enriched pedestrian experience throughout the site.
  • The Panel emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the parking garage and other service-related buildings and areas of the site are entirely screened throughout the year from the UNESCO World Heritage site and from Prince of Wales Drive.
  • The Panel encourages the proponent to integrate eco-design and low-impact development techniques for the parking areas within the site, including integrating permeable pavers and other storm water management approaches.
  • The Panel supports the preservation of the mature trees stands and urges the proponent to retain as many existing mature trees as possible.
  • The urban plaza on Carling Avenue could be a very successful and attractive space and should be programmed to ensure its activation.
  • Currently the plaza is disconnected from the LRT station. That relationship should be studied and strengthened.
  • The Prince of Wales Drive treatment requires further study and development to ensure that the scenic attributes of the Capital landscape are not compromised by the development of the above grade parking. A robust landscape screening approach that includes both vegetation and landform is required.
  • Consider a more integrated approach for the pathway and landscape treatment along Prince of Wales Drive to enhance the user experience and fully screen the parking garage.

Servicing entrance and the alleyway

  • The Panel has concerns regarding how the servicing area is concealed on Prince of Wales Drive and recommends further studies of views to calibrate the height and location of screening, both vegetation and landform.
  • The Panel notes that the service area will be visible from Prince of Wales Drive when the trees lose their leaves, without a landform screen.
  • It is important to resolve how the pedestrian overpass connects to the LRT station. Sections of the connection between the parking garage and towers should be provided.

Parking Garage

  • The Panel is supportive of the folding landscape approach on Preston and the gardenesque approach for the roof of the parking garage.
  • The variety of spaces and activities illustrated in the open space renderings are supported and should be further developed and secured through detailed plans and programming.
  • The Panel cautions that the success of the landscape will depend on its four-season attractiveness. Consider the winter aesthetic including the use of evergreens for climate amelioration and visual screening.
  • Ensure four season visual screening of the parking garage from Prince of Wales Drive and the UNESCO Heritage site.
  • Consider locating solar panels in areas where vegetation cannot be accommodated.
  • Consider integrating a medicine garden with herbs to emphasize the wellness concept.
  • Consider a similar approach to the Prince of Wales Drive landscape treatment to what is being proposed on Preston and create a continuous sloped landscape to screen the entire parking garage structure from the Drive.
  • The Panel has concerns with the functionality of the parking garage entrance on Prince of Wales, particularly during festival season when there is high traffic and pedestrian volumes at the intersection of Preston and Prince of Wales Drive.
  • As the project moves along, the proponent should ensure the positive design elements are not eliminated as part of value engineering.

May 6 and 7, 2021

458 Montreal Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control, Consent and Minor Variance Application | Stantec; CSW Landscape Architects Ltd; IBI Group; Brian K. Clark Architect; Q9 Planning + Design

Summary

  • The Panel appreciates the changes made in response to the previous session’s comments and recognizes advances to the architectural expression.
  • The Panel continues to have concerns with the rhythm and articulation of the façade along Montreal Road. The Panel also expressed concerns regarding the proposed plaza and landscape treatment on Montreal Road, and the materials and architectural finishes of south-east building elevations.

Public Realm and Corner Plaza Treatment

  • The Panel appreciates the revisions made to the landscape and site plan. The entrance is sleeker and the corner shows some dynamism, but the public plaza could have a more engaging aesthetic and function. The proponent should study the design of the building for cues to integrate into the plaza design.
    • Consider creating a sawtooth pattern for the landscape design and ground plane treatment that plays off the building's diagonal axial orientation, to provide an opportunity to make the corner plaza and entrance more dynamic.
    • Carry the building's red lighting in the planters or use spotlighting in the pavement to showcase the vehicles in the evening.
    • Showcase the cars by raising the display vehicles for people to view them from a variety of perspectives.
    • Introduce planters and low walls to screen the hardscape edges at the corner.
  • The integration of the bicycle lane on Montreal Road is appreciated but the Panel believes a landscaping interface is needed. Consider reducing the driveway isle paving to 3 or 3.5 metres to improve the landscape relationship along the street and provide space for trees. Strata or Silva cells could be used to provide the required soil volumes to support street trees on Montreal Road.
  • Introduce trees in the parking area to create a different character and make the parking lot more of a destination.

Building Articulation

  • The Panel understands that the building’s design is the result of the brand; however, the proposal focuses heavily on the corner entrance and does not adequately recognize the façade on Montreal Road. The Panel would like to see some break in the façade and a landscape / planting treatment extended down Montreal Road.
    • The proponent should work with the brand to introduce vertical elements and rhythm for the façade on Montreal Road.
    • The existing repair shop on St. Laurent Boulevard could offer clues on how to break up the building mass; the building is proposed to be retained and re-clad. Similar approaches can be used on the Montreal Road elevation.
  • The Panel believes the south-east façade cladding treatment is very dark and the architecture would benefit from a lighter treatment of the entrance, to improve the street presence of the building for those approaching it from the south-east.

Materiality

  • The Panel appreciates the changes made to the skylight.
  • The extension of the glass panel to screen the undercarriage of the service entrance is appreciated.
  • The Panel has concerns with the black cladding material used on the back of the building as it creates a very dark volume. The proponent should consider using a backlit perforated material or a similar sandwich panel to the one on the front of façade to reduce the perceived darkness and make the back of the building more visually interesting.

Sustainability

  • The Panel appreciates the sustainability efforts and believes adding trees into the parking lot could also boost the sustainability image and branding. Consider other sustainable elements such as permeable pavers for the parking lot and stormwater management.  Also consider sustainability measures in the architectural design to complement the brand's high-tech sustainability features.

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

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for making changes to the street frontage at grade since the last iteration but felt that in general the response to the previous recommendations was not sufficient and many of the more substantive concerns still remain unresolved.
  • The Panel reiterated its reservations regarding the appropriateness of the site for a tower form, without securing a limiting distance, air rights or other type of legal agreement with the neighbouring landowner. This is to ensure that the quality of life for those that live in the proposed development can be maintained should the neighbouring site redevelop. The height of the tower and lack of separation distance remains the primary concern and the proposal cannot be supported as currently proposed.
  • The podium of the project is overwhelming in scale. The volume should be reduced, and its expression further broken down.
  • The proposal gives too little back in terms of its public realm contribution.

Massing

  • While the Panel supports the single tower concept in principle, the primary concern with the proposal remains the lack of separation distance to the property to the east, which will have implications for livability of the units and will have costly technical implications (requirement for sprinklers). In the Panel’s view, a limiting distance agreement is absolutely needed with the neighbouring landowner.
  • The Panel feels that too much density has been packed onto this small site and having the building envelope fill the site from corner to corner places too much pressure on the surrounding public lands. The proposed density should be reduced and more should be given back in terms of public realm treatment.
  • The Panel suggests that further coordination with the proposed development across the street would be beneficial. Its podium is lower, its tower is lighter, and the building mass is staggered.
  • If built as proposed, the two projects will combine to create more of a bottleneck than a gateway.
  • One Panel member suggested that shifting the tower to the south end of the site may help to improve potential proximity issues with the neighbouring site.

Podium

  • The Panel strongly recommends reducing the scale of the eight-storey podium and further breaking down its expression. As proposed, it is overwhelming and will not have a comfortable relationship with the street.
    • Lower the height of the entire podium. Three or four storeys was suggested as an appropriate height.
    • Greater articulation is recommended for the tripartite division of the podium to have it read more as three separate buildings. Vary the heights of the volumetric expressions and enhance the reveals.
    • While the red brick portion of the base has clearer definition, the façade treatment of the two other portions of the podium look too much like superficial façade treatments.
  • The Panel suggests that the solidity of the red brick portion of the podium is too eroded at the northwest corner. It would be preferable to have a solid corner in this location.

Tower

  • While the Panel appreciates that the tower has a different architectural expression than the podium, the dark aesthetic is too strong and creates too bold a silhouette against the sky. The dark materials may also result in excessive heat gain.
  • The Panel strongly recommends lightening the expression of the tower.
  • The large reveal below the tower is appreciated.

Ground Floor and Public Realm

  • The Panel thanks the proponent for the changes that have been made to the frontages at grade. The animation of the ground floor has improved.
  • It was suggested that the garbage room should be further internalized so that it is not adjacent to the public realm.
  • The Panel appreciates the efforts to negotiate an open space at the corner, but strongly encourages the exploration of additional means of giving more back to the public realm.
  • The proponent is encouraged to introduce more trees into the public realm.

Sustainability

The tightness of the site may make many sustainability measures difficult, but the proponent is encouraged to explore the integration of sustainable building technologies such as LEDs, etc.

2 Robinson Avenue | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment | 2 Robinson Property Partnership; rla / architecture; Fotenn Planning + Design

Summary

  • The Panel commended the proponent for working with the City to create two options for the site. Although both options presented warrant consideration, the Panel prefers Option 2. This proposal opens up the park allowing for more sunlight and connectivity, provides regular street conditions with buildings lining the streets, and has publicly accessible courtyards that give the development an urban feel.
  • The tower placement on the site is generally good, but the Panel has some concerns with the location of tower D and its podium, as it appears the building turns its “back” to the landscape.

Context and Site Plan

  • Option 2 would benefit from an analysis of the surrounding streets to understand how to knit the development to the immediate context and beyond, to create a strong relationship with the adjacent neighbourhood and the community.
  • Urban design features such as stairs and ramps would help mitigate the drop in grading between towers C and D.

Podium and Tower Design

  • The Panel is concerned that the podiums are too tall, closing the site in and creating a solid wall along Lees Avenue. As the site plan evolves, the proponent should consider breaking up the podiums and differentiating their height to create a better pedestrian experience.
  • The Panel appreciates the staggering of towers A, B and C, in Option 2, as this takes advantage of the skyscape. Varying the building heights and moving tower A, so it does not align with tower B and C, were suggested and should be further studied to assess the impact of tower locations and the tower height composition.
  • The Panel felt that the podiums were overscaled on both options, especially the podium on tower D of Option 2. The proponent should consider reducing the mass and height of the podium, removing it, or providing townhouses facing the greenspace to create a better relationship with the landscape north of the site and allow the site to breathe.
  • The Panel also believes moving tower D slightly to align with the Lees Avenue axis will create a strong focal point at the end of the street.

Relationship to Adjacent Green Space

  • The Panel appreciates the semi-private courtyard and open spaces proposed, but Option 2 has some remnants of green spaces that have not been defined and require further design consideration. The Panel believes providing a lower scale podium could improve those spaces.
    • Further studies n tower heights are required to determine the shadow impacts on green spaces.
  • The Panel appreciates the activated public realm edge ideas; the proponent should continue to explore grocery type uses and consider having a coffee shop in the building base to create a synergy with the park.

Circulation and Road Network

  • The Panel suggests the proponent continue studying the street organization. Consider providing laybys instead of perpendicular parking on the street parallel to Lees Avenue to increase the sidewalk widths and provide more space for trees.
  • The Panel provided the following options to connect Chapel Street.
    • A second-tier street would reduce the number of loops and add porosity and connectivity to the site, but it would cut through the green space.
    • The connection to Chapel Street could be pedestrian-only.

Sustainability

  • The Panel appreciates the sustainability efforts, but given the grading challenges, the proponent should explore opportunities for stormwater management to be integrated with the landscape. The Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus, was cited as an example of hilly terrain where stormwater features were incorporated into the landscape.

93 Norman Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Tamarack Homes; rla / architecture; Fotenn Planning + Design; Lashley + Associates.

Summary

  • The Panel generally supported the proposal and felt that it would fit well on the street. Recommendations were focused primarily on detailing and refinement. Suggestions were made to refine the clarity of the architectural expression and to improve the interface with the public realm.

Architectural Expression and Materiality

  • The materials proposed were generally supported (particularly the clay masonry and curtain wall), but how they are deployed should be studied further. Currently, the materials chosen contrast too strongly and their disposition gives a “patchwork” aesthetic. The Panel recommends achieving a greater degree of definition and clarity by:
    • More clearly articulating the “base, middle, top” expression. Consider a single material for the base, and a lighter material above the third storey;
    • Consider an entirely masonry podium, perhaps interrupted only by a different material at the main entrance under the tower;
    • Using a finer grain detail t establish texture and rhythm, such as brick patterning or reveals (the rainwater reveals may be a natural break);
    • Limiting changes in materials t plane changes; and/or
    • Limiting the colour palette primarily to one colour with another used as an accent.
  • The Panel recommends reconsidering the projecting balconies on the upper level of the podium (fourth floor), as they take away from the stepback.
  • Consider using picket railings in the proposal.
  • Study cladding the planters with red brick at the base of the building on Norman Street. The planters currently appear to be part of the building foundation treatment.

Landscape Design and public interface

  • The Panel recommends re-evaluating the interface between the building and the Trillium Multi-Use Path to the west. There is a missed opportunity to reorient some of the stoops and front doors towards it.
  • More landscaping is recommended on the south side of the development to soften the public interface and mediate the grade difference.
    • often the tall wall using a combination of plantings and climbing vines.
    • Consider complementing the stairs with trellises.
    • Integrate lights in the wall to help improve pedestrian safety.
  • The Panel recommends integrating more landscaping, such as trees, on the north side of the development for better integration into the neighbourhood. This would benefit both tenants and neighbours.
  • Explore the possibility of incorporating green roof elements into the project.
  • The tree species selection is generally supported.

Circulation

Explore the possibility of integrating a drop off for better turning on the dead-end street.

989 Somerset Street West | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Taggart Reality Management; Hobin Architecture; Fotenn Planning + Design; GJA Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel believes the public realm has a lot of potential; the site's unique grade change creates a natural interruption between Chinatown and Hintonburg. and provides an opportunity to connect the site to its industrial past and the history of the area. The Panel appreciates the stair as a means to link these two neighbourhoods.
  • The Panel considers the large building's footprint one of the biggest challenges as a slab or L shape massing is typically not supported. Recommendations were made to address concerns regarding massing, architectural expression, materiality and public realm.

Massing

  • The Panel believes the building's shape creates a challenging footprint. It is unclear whether the building has two podiums or if the building is a slab or L shape. The proponent should break up the volume and clearly define the massing through materials and architectural expression.
    • One Panel member suggested that the development could be treated as two separate buildings, one tower and one 7-storey building, to improve the scale and pedestrian experience along the street.
  • The project demonstrates a strong masonry base at three storeys and the industrial expression is generally supported, but the Panel feels the window treatment and the detailing on masonry can be developed further. The proponent should explore increasing the masonry base expression up to the 6th storey and pushing back the tower to strengthen the base expression along Somerset Street.
  • The Panel feels that the balconies on Somerset Street are somewhat distracting. The proponent should explore design solutions such as removing or recessing the balconies to integrate them into the building to make the façade less busy.
  • The proponent should review code requirements for the interior corner as the east-facing balconies are too close to the north-facing balconies causing privacy issues. Shifting the north-facing balconies and grouping them in pairs would reduce privacy concerns.
  • The two small overhang soffits on the roof above the balconies interrupt the line created where the building meets the sky. The proponent should re-consider the overhang soffits as they make the building feel bulky instead of giving the impression the building disappearing into the sky.
  • Further clarity is needed, at the site plan level, to understand the movement of garbage, moving trucks and drop-off location.

Architectural Expression

  • The building currently has a 1960s slab aesthetic and should have a stronger base, middle, and top expression, with a more sculpted top. Instead of relying on architectural treatment to visually breakdown the expansive façade, the top should be set back 7.5 metres to create a more contemporary expression.
  • The base of the building reads heavy due to the use of the dark brick cladding and the black panel treatment above. Given the context, the development should capture the vernacular architecture of the neighbourhood to create a stronger industrial aesthetic to fit with the surrounding context.
    • The adjacent building n Spruce Street provides an example of industrial vocabulary and the sensitive use of brick and colour.
  • The underside of the balconies appears dark. The proponent should consider how the balconies read from the tenants' perspective below, to avoid creating an oppressive environment. 
  • The treatment of the blank beige wall could be improved by setting back the balconies or having a wrap-around window treatment to avoid a blank wall condition.
  • The proponent should consider a lighter colour treatment for the top floors of building and potentially add trellises to provide some greenery for the amenity area.

Public Realm

  • There are some concerns with the proposed landscaping on Somerset Street, as the change in grade presents a challenge. The planters appear very high and should be reduced in height to respond to the grading of the street, creating a stepped planter condition that feels less oppressive.
  • The Panel believes the building should have a strong façade on Somerset Street The proponent should consider introducing commercial uses at grade to expand the existing pattern along the street or adding live/work units.
  • The Panel supports and appreciates the treatment of the stair connection between Somerset and City Centre. It is a great public space feature that captures the area's spirit, with the use of colour and public art. Consideration should be given to the architectural treatment to further enhance the experience of the change of levels.
    • Consider opening the piers or using round columns to introduce more natural light.
    • Integrate a canopy or signage above the staircase to break up the flatness of the façade from Somerset Street.
  • Soundproofing the suites closest to the public realm should be considered to mitigate any potential echo chamber noise effect created by people using the stairs 24 /7.
  • A lighting treatment to further emphasize the main street should be considered.

Materiality

  • The Panel feels that the brick in the upper portion of the tower does not translate well as it appears applied, and the corner window treatment does not work well as it creates an incongruous wrap-around condition. The building should be stripped down, and the materials simplified. Any material changes should be coupled with plane changes to improve the building's integration into the street.
    • Use brick for the fourth, fifth and sixth storeys to provide a better transition to the tower.

311 Somerset Street w. & 234 - 236 O’connor Street | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment | Gemstone; Figure Architects; Fotenn Planning + Design; GJA Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel has very strong concerns with the proposed mass, the adjacency issues that it causes, and the disregard for the area plans, Community Design Plan and High-Rise Guidelines. The Panel questioned the tripartite expression with particular concerns expressed on the massing of floors 4 to 9. It was recommended that a high-rise building is not an appropriate built form for this site.
  • The base of the building and the evolution of the proposed public realm were generally supported.

Massing

  • The Panel expressed very strong concerns with the proposed mass, specifically the portion above the base, due to adjacency issues and in terms of not meeting the intent of policy or guidelines.
  • The proposed density is a concern and the tower typology is not supported on this site. This should be a mid-rise transition site.
  • If the tower typology is deemed appropriate by City Staff, significant changes should be made to reduce the mass and design of middle portion and the tower, as the current composition is overwhelming.
    • The density should be reduced.
    • The tripartite division should be reconsidered. Eliminate the middle portion (floors 4-9) and have a low podium and a more slender tower.
    • Greater tower setbacks from property lines are needed on all sides. As proposed, the middle portion is looming too closely over Somerset Street. A 10-metre tower separation distance is strongly recommended from the north property line.
    • The tower should be designed to be made as invisible as possible by using lighter, less imposing materials.
    • The mechanical penthouse is reading as too large and overwhelming, as designed.

Base of Building

  • The Panel generally offered support for the treatment of the base (the bottom three storeys) of the building and the ties to the heritage context. The use of brick and wood are particularly successful.

Heritage

  • The Panel expressed appreciation for the analysis of the delicate heritage fabric and the contemporary response in terms of the design of the building base. One member encouraged the proponent to continue to refine the expression to more closely replicate the rhythm of the street.
  • Using a textured concrete rather than an aluminum panel and toning down the nuances of the dark grey banding in the base of the building would be more sensitive to the neighbourhood context.

Public Realm

  • The Panel felt that the design of the public realm is moving forward in a positive way.

861 Clyde Avenue | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment | Claridge Homes; Urban Strategies Inc.; EVOQ Architecture Inc.; NOVATECH; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for their presentation; this is an exciting project with lots of opportunities and the Panel is supportive of this initiative. However, the project would benefit from further studies and a collaborative focus design review session to understand the thought process and generate several concepts that would address the current challenges and concerns.
  • The Panel has significant concerns including the location of the neighbourhood park, shadowing impacts, the proposed agora and open space on the podium, issues of noise and air pollution due to proximity to Highway 417, and views and relationship to the Highway.
  • The Panel provided comments on the overall site plan and surrounding context, the public realm, and tower disposition.

Context

  • The Panel appreciates the contextual analysis presented. As the proposal continues to move forward, developing a context plan would be helpful to understand how the development fits in the neighbourhood.
    • Study hw the buildings integrate with the Carling Avenue streetscape and how Clyde Avenue and other streets can be upgraded and linked to create a positive urban environment.
    • Think big picture and consider how the development will evolve as a mixed-use area and where residential and employment areas will go.
  • The lack of specific policy guidelines for this area creates some challenges moving forward. The proposal will be a landmark project and potentially set a precedent for more intense development in the area.
    • The proponent should consider whether the development is compatible with the City’s growth management plan in an area where the proposed density is not anticipated.

Site Plan

  • The disposition of the towers creates a site condition that feels very dense in relation to the existing context. The Panel would appreciate seeing alternate plans that illustrate potential road networks, parks and open spaces, and different tower locations and tower separation.
  • Consider how the site connects to the surrounding street network. Introducing some public streets would be beneficial and add continuity.
    • Create three pints of access instead of two.
    • Consider connecting the North and South spurs with a street running East-West instead of making them cul-de-sacs.

Public Realm

  • The Panel recommends undertaking a sun/shadow study with the future planned context of the area, to study the shadow effects of the massing and specifically to determine the number of hours of sun on the park.
  • Towers A and B do not allow enough sunlight into the neighbourhood park. Increase the separation of the two central towers to open the aperture between them and relocate the neighbourhood park to the centre of the site. This will ensure sunlight in the park especially mid-day in the shoulder seasons.
  • The Panel appreciates the linear park as an idea to create a usable and exciting space along the Highway and the possibility of setting a precedent, but there are some concerns that the proximity to the Highway would not create a good environment.
    • Study hw the landscape elements fit in.
    • Consider consolidating all the park’s social elements into one large amenity space.
    • Consider shifting the park to make it more of a landmark and public space.
    • Further studies f noise mitigation measures are needed given that there are reservations regarding the effectiveness of the sound barrier.
  • The Panel has some reservations regarding the accessibility of the suspended garden and agora; the ramps and elevators provided are not enough. Further studies are required to create a more inviting public realm.

Tower Placement

  • The Panel believes the proposed floor plate size is too large for a 30 Storey tower. A 900 square metres floor plate might be more appropriate for a building of 50 storeys or higher. The towers should adhere to the design guidelines for a 750 square metres floor plate.
    • The 15-metre tower separation distance between building C and G appears too tight. Tower separation should exceed the required 25-metre setback.
    • Further study the tower offset and tower orientation to minimize wind tunnel issues.
  • The Panel notes the south elevations show a solid wall of buildings facing the Highway, which lacks porosity. The proponent should carefully study the density of towers to understand their visual impact on the Highway.
    • Liberty Village in Tronto, and developments along Highway 427, in North York, were mentioned as examples of tower configurations that have created a wall of buildings along highways that should not be replicated here. The proponent should consider meeting the guidelines for high-rise buildings to successfully create a built form composition that does not read as a solid wall along the 417, when viewed entering the City from the west.
    • There was a suggestion to break up the curvilinear podium for towers A and B to improve porosity.

April 8 and 9, 2021

294 & 300 Tremblay Road | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | TC United; Project1 Studio; Fotenn Planning + Design

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for their efforts in addressing the Panel’s previous recommendations. The choice of materials and the building’s elegance achieved by the subtle plane changes are appreciated, and the proposed massing is supported.
  • The Panel considers the proposal will be a catalyst for the area but is primarily concerned with the window well’s lack of access, usability and size, as well as the proposed retail space’s size, lack of street presence and feasibility.
  • The Panel had several recommendations to improve the window well and retail condition.

Building Design

  • The Panel considers Tremblay Road as the frontage of the site and notes that the guardrail prevents the building from interacting with its neighbours. Moving the main entrance from L Street to Tremblay Road would improve the building’s presence and increase accessibility.
  • The Panel appreciates the proponent’s attention to the unit layout, which addresses the previous concerns regarding the proposed south yard setback. With these new changes, fewer units will be impacted by the potential redevelopment of the adjacent property.

Window Well Treatment

  • Considering the current window well design, the challenge to provide liveable basement units is still present. The Panel suggests the proponent should explore other means to improve this condition.
    • Create a Piloti expression by recessing the glazing and including pilasters to ground the tower and strengthen the base datum line and bring more light to the basement units.
    • Allow tenants to access the exterior space and consider providing an amenity area by introducing greenery. Instead of poured concrete, consider stepping and raising a portion of the window well by a foot. Include planters that could also be utilized for seating, which would improve and soften the blank wall condition and add value to the units.

    • The Panel believes the City and the proponent should explore the possibility of permitting the window well to be part of the landscaping buffer requirements in order to expand its depth by a couple of feet.

Proposed Retail and Usage

  • The Panel struggles to understand the purpose of proposing a small retail space that lacks direct access to the street in an area where other commercial uses exist.
  • The Panel has several recommendations that could improve the retail condition.
    • The retail's architectural expression and fenestration lacks a commercial "feel" given that the building has a strong residential presence. The use of signage, better street access and lighting will improve its readability as retail.
    • The proponent should consider relocating the retail space next to the amenity area at the corner of Tremblay Road and Belfast Road to make the retail more active, sustainable and strengthen the corner treatment.
    • The Panel suggests the proponent should review the proforma as an opportunity to remove a basement unit so that direct retail access from the street can be provided. The Panels believes re-purposing the space for other uses such as amenity area for residents could be an alternative.

Materiality

  • The Panel considers the building elegant and appreciates the brick and fibre material chosen. However, lighter materials for the mechanical penthouse should be reconsidered.
  • The proponent should consider a metal railing instead of glass to better compliment the streetscape conditions of both Tremblay and Belfast.

Landscaping

  • The Panel suggests using native species instead of perennials for the landscape buffer. The proponent should consider any impact trees would have on the hydro lines.

Sustainability

  • The Panel appreciates that the proponent has incorporated sustainability in the building materials and encourages the proponent to consider a sustainable roof treatment.

176 Nepean Street & 293-307 Lisgar Avenue | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Richcraft Group; Graziani and Corazza Architects; Fotenn Planning + Design

John Stewart has declared a conflict of interest and has recused himself from commenting on this file.

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for incorporating many of the recommendations made by the Panel during the previous review. The Panel also commended the proponent for a high-quality design and noted that the materiality on the podium and tower works well. The increased height of the mid-block connection is a grand urban gesture.

Architectural Expression

  • The Panel appreciates the changes made to the tower façades, which are elegant and straightforward. The current proposal, however, does create the illusion of a broad façade. Maintaining some structured rhythm of the current proposal on one half of each tower and introducing some playfulness of the previous proposal on the other half could mitigate their perceived broadness.
  • An alternative option could take the form of interruptions to the balcony lines by creating breaks at 4-5 storey increments bringing a subtle articulation.
  • The Panel believes that the gradient of the opaque vertical elements on the side elevations works well. The Panel suggests exploring a simplified option of strong clean vertical bands rather than ones that jog. This could be achieved through the use of continuous pre-cast and spandrel panels.
  • The Panel appreciates the simple fold expression but recommends further exploration of the top of each tower to create a distinct expression for each.
  • Using dark brick on the podium creates a strong contextual expression. The Panel suggests exploring a red-coloured brick to relate to the neighbourhood context.

Public Realm

  • The Panel appreciates the woonerf as it blends nicely with the streetscape, and the integration of colourful bollards, floor patterns and planters is considered a positive gesture.
  • The Panel cautions that there is a risk of cars taking over and utilizing the woonerf as parking spaces. The proponent should explore subtle moves to "armour" the area to prevent cars from claiming the space.
  • Explore how to maximize access to natural light into the woonerf for periods of time where there is less access to natural light.
  • The proponent should consult with the City to determine the viability of removing the parking north of the site to expand the public realm.

Sustainability

  • Consider integrating sustainability into the development to improve the liveability of units by introducing green roofs, green walls and treatment of planters.

216 Murray Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Shepherds of Good Hope; CSV Architects; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel offered general support for the initiative including the massing, the architectural expression, the provision of a courtyard space, and the move to consolidate the soup kitchen on the same side of the street as the neighbouring Shepherds of Good Hope building.
  • Suggestions were offered to improve potential future adjacency issues, expand and soften the courtyard space, and finesse the architectural expression.

Massing

  • The Panel generally supports the proposed massing of the building.
  • The windows on the west façade are quite close to the property line, which could potentially cause proximity issues with future adjacent development. It is suggested that the proponent explore means of improving this relationship. Potential solutions may include recessing the windows or incorporating lightwells or alcoves into the west façade.

Architectural Expression and Materiality

  • The Panel generally supports the architectural composition, the layering aesthetic, and the proposed palette of materials. Specific support was offered for the proposed location of the white element and the balcony, which face onto the gathering space, and the use of red brick, which will help integrate the building in to the neighbourhood.
  • There was some concern expressed with the amount of black materials proposed, which have a high heat gain and will darken the overall visual expression of the project. Consider reducing the extent of the black exterior finishes, and instead using lighter colour finishes or incorporating more colourful accents.
  • If yellow materials were incorporated in the proposed exterior colour palette, it would complete the four colours of the indigenous medicine wheel (black, red, white and yellow). This could potentially be a good way of tying the colour scheme to one of the target groups that the project aims to support.

Stairwell

  • The Panel recognizes the proponent’s rationale for the proposed location and design of the stairwell to minimize safety concerns.
  • The highly transparent stairwell will function well at night as a beacon to help residents find their way home, especially in darker months, but consider the interior lighting carefully. A harsh utilitarian colour of fluorescent lighting may spill out into the public realm in an undesirable way.
  • Consider making yellow the dominant colour in the stairwell mural to tie the development to the four colours of the indigenous medicine wheel.
  • The Panel expressed support for the concept of introducing indigenous design elements into the fritting on the glass.

Gathering Space

  • The Panel understands the need for the rear space to function for delivery truck movement and waste collection, but strongly encourages the proponent to explore a modified garbage and delivery strategy so as to expand the gathering space, which will be important for users to be able to use and benefit from.
  • The Panel recommends incorporating additional greening, natural materials, and a general softening of the courtyard space where possible. Consider additional plantings next to the barrier, a trellis or canopy with climbing vines for shade, wood soffits, or stone pavers, or rock seating. The West Neighbourhood House in Toronto (588 Queen St. West) was referenced as good precedent.
  • The Panel supports the proponent on their decision to avoid the use of black rod iron to enclose the gathering space.

397 & 399 Winston Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Jianbin (Jimmy) Wang, DOLYN Construction Ltd., GRC Architects; NOVATECH; GJA Inc.

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for their presentation and appreciated the context renderings showing how the area might develop in the future.
  • The Panel believes the development will set a precedent and should be an example of design excellence for secondary streets zoned Traditional Mainstreet.
  • The Panel expressed concerns with the architectural expression facing Richmond Road, the podium treatment, the building's relationship with the adjacent residential dwellings, and the liveability of units. Recommendations were made to address these concerns.

Context

  • The site's location provides a great opportunity to create a project that is an intimate scale and sensitive to the adjacent residential zone. The proponent should balance the existing and planned function of the area and provide a transition to the surrounding residential area, as it might take time before the surrounding lots develop.

Massing and Building Design

  • Further studies of the podium are necessary as the building's 3:4 ratio is not ideal. A two-storey podium and a setback of 6 metres from the lot line, at the third storey and above, will improve the building's proportions and its compatibility with the existing residential context across the street.
  • The balconies add bulk to the building's mass. The Panel believes that removing the folded box expression and simplifying the balcony treatment will reduce its impact on the public realm and improve the massing.
  • The vertical "zippers" on both the north and south elevations make the building appear heavy. The Panel recommends removing the vertical balcony folds to lighten the overall expression. The yellow façade treatment at the balcony corners could be redesigned as a window treatment to soften the building's corner expression and provide a neighbourhood view from the units.
  • The Panel believes the lightwell and stairwell conditions can be improved by increasing the side yard setback, recessing the corridor and re-orienting the bedroom windows to expand the lightwell's depth.
  • The Panel has concerns with the blank sidewall treatment of the building, given the long views to it from the surrounding neighbourhood and main street. One option to consider would be a public art treatment that speaks to the neighbourhood character and context.

Site Plan

  • The Panel considers the proposed 3-metre setback appropriate, should the adjacent lot also provide a similar setback. However, the Panel cautions this assumption and encourages the proponent to provide a greater setback and increase the glazing to futureproof the units.
  • The Panel suggests stepping back the upper floors by an additional three metres to provide more liveability for the rear units, to improve the quality of the rear yard and to reduce the shadow impacts on adjacent properties.
  • The commercial unit at the rear might not be viable. The proponent should consider removing the rear commercial unit, expanding the residential lobby into the rear commercial unit and providing one commercial unit facing the street with appropriate size. The Panel suggests using landscaping and signage to make the commercial unit more welcoming and attractive.

Materiality

  • The Panel appreciates the efforts to articulate the podium; however, the treatment does not have a consistent rhythm. The proponent should carefully study how the proposed materials can unify the building's design to distinguish between residential and commercial uses.
  • Warmer tones of brick for the lower levels and lighter colour materials for the upper levels will better integrate the building into the neighbourhood context.
  • Carefully consider the brick and cement panel interface treatment.

Public Realm

  • The Panel appreciates the extension of the Winston Square materials and suggests the proponent incorporate some of the existing streetscape elements as well, for example, the vertical steel frames and vines.

March 4 and 5, 2021

Heron gate master plan | Formal Review | Master Plan, Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment Application | Hazelview Investments; DIALOG; The Stirling Group

Summary

  • The Panel recognized the site's complexity and appreciates that the applicant is working with the existing street pattern and its associated below grade servicing infrastructure. The Panel looks forward to seeing the Master Plan advance and acknowledges the aspirations to transition this site from a towers in the park model to a more urban setting.

Block Design

  • The Panel appreciates the built form and public realm vision presented, including the small parks, the larger central park and the podiums and townhouses that frame the streets. However, the site still reads like a hybrid between urban and suburban. A continuous more robust street wall defining the urban spaces throughout the site would create a more urban condition.
  • The block adjacent to the "greenway gardens" could support a tower on the southeast corner. This would reduce the number of towers on the north side of Sandalwood Drive and improve the relationship between the proposed towers by creating more space between them.
  • The Panel notes the blocks facing Walkley appear to be overbuilt. The Panel questions the concentration of high-rise buildings and the continuous parallel bar configuration in that location.
  • The blocks along Walkley Road require further definition in order for the proposed lanes to read as courtyards. Consider modifying the built form of those blocks, including potentially lowering the podium heights and creating courtyards, similar to the Heron Road model. Shadow impacts on the public spaces should also be considered.
  • The proposal has a suburban quality due to the lack of street wall definition in some areas, notably the stretch of Sandalwood between Baycrest and Sandalwood Park. Consider introducing a street wall to contain and frame the streets, creating a more urban edge.
  • The Panel acknowledges the proposal includes a mix of existing and proposed public streets, complemented with private streets. The proponent should study the street layout closely to ensure there are through block connections throughout the site.

Building Location and Mass

  • The corners of the proposed central park should be free of any buildings that obstruct visibility. The Panel suggests moving the proposed building on the park, located at the southeast corner, further north, as it obstructs the visibility to the park from the major streets. If a building is located within the park the Panel suggests that it should be a civic building such as a library, recreational centre or school.
  • Explore a variety of heights to reduce the number of towers proposed by moving the density to other buildings. Consider relocating the tower at Cedarwood and Walkley and separating the towers between the park and the community centre.

Public Realm and Connectivity

  • There are a number of residual open spaces that result from the irregular block configurations and existing building locations. These areas will create ambiguity between the public and private realms and may not function as intended.
  • The green space in the block between Sandalwood and Baycrest south of Heron Road is strongly supported by the Panel.
  • The Panel supports the strong open space connection (greenway gardens) between Sandalwood Park and the proposed central park, however, questions the current street and park configuration. Consider realigning Sandalwood Drive to run parallel with the proposed buildings on Walkley Road and shifting the open space to the north side of the Sandalwood Drive. Alternatively create a formal green link with an allée of trees and walkways on both sides of the street.
  • The Panel supports the parkette south of Heron Road. Consider a similar open space configuration for the central block on Walkley Road. Explore similar treatment for the open space at the corner of Baycrest and Sandalwood east of the existing high-rise building.
  • The Hydro corridor provides an excellent opportunity to create a link between the institutional facilities west of the site and the proposed open space. The Panel recommends strengthening connections to the Hydro corridor and creating a positive relationship to it by introducing townhouses along the edge of the corridor.
  • The Panel appreciates the changes made to Sandalwood Plaza (number 7 on master plan), and the widening of the connection to Walkley Road; however, the Panel recommends increasing the width of green space connection even further to create an open view to the park.
  • The Panel questions the courtyard relationship of the triangular-shaped building, with the proposed central park. Study the possibility of creating a stronger park edge to the built form with active uses at grade, including live-work units and / or other public amenities to improve the building's relationship to the park.

Sustainability

  • The Panel believes the Master Plan provides an excellent opportunity to implement sustainable features such as stormwater ponds, district energy, vegetation, green roofs, which comprise an essential aspect of sustainability.

20 Mountain Crescent | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Surface Developments; RLA Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design; Lashley + Associates Corporation

Summary

  • The Panel recognizes the development challenges posed by an area in transition and appreciates the design's evolution and the future context shown. The Panel is supportive of the massing, architectural expression and the proposed 12-storey height.
  • The Panel's comments relate to the building's architectural expression, materiality, and strengthening the landscape's relationship to the ground-oriented units.
  • The Panel would have liked seeing a unit layout to better understand the disposition as the suites appear long and narrow.

Massing and Building Design

  • The Panel encourages the proponent to provide a step back of 5.5 metres (to the lot line) at the fourth storey and above to preserve the proposed window openings should the adjacent lots develop in a similar manner.
  • The Panel notes the building, including the ground-oriented units, has a commercial feel; raising the ground floor could improve the architectural expression and establish a more residential feel.
  • Increasing the floor-to-ceiling height would also give more breathing room to the ground floor and establish a distinctive presence on the street.

Materiality

  • The Panel appreciates the building’s architectural expression and considers the combination of grounded and floating elements successful.
  • The proposed metal may have some durability issues; the proponent should consider other options that will be more durable.

Landscaping

  • The current surrounding landscape is not welcoming for pedestrians, and it favours cars. The proponent is encouraged to examine landscape treatments in the short and long term to improve the landscape's relationship to the ground-oriented units.

374 McArthur Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Castle Heights Development Inc.; P H Robinson Consulting; Rossmann Architecture; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc. Landscape Architects

Summary

  • The Panel appreciates the evolution of the architectural expression and the proposed materiality, however expressed concern with the base, middle, top legibility of the building.
  • The Panel is very concerned with the building's mass and scale, primarily the lack of distance separation to the adjacent properties and liveability of units.
  • The Panel feels that it cannot support the building's mass as presented.

Massing and Scale

  • The Panel is aware the proposal complies with the Zoning By-law requirements but is still concerned with the orientation of units adjacent to property lines. The proposed massing could create a situation where there is little consideration for the neighbours.
  • The Panel considers that the proposal does not meet the “three infill tests.”
    • It is in keeping with the neighbourhood.
    • It can be appropriately replicated elsewhere, and
    • It is an improvement on the existing conditions.
  • The Panel strongly encourages the proponent to examine the current unit layout to improve tenants’ liveability.
  • The 1.5-metre window setback is of concern for the Panel, given that the setback would prevent the adjacent lots from being developed to their full potential or would compromise the quality of life for the proposed residences should the neighbouring lot redevelop in a similar manner.
  • Should the proposal move forward, as presented, the Panel strongly suggests providing generous balconies on the sidewalls to offer some degree of relief for the tenants.

Amenity Space

  • The Panel encourages the proponent to consider the importance of open space as the proposed rear amenity area is insufficient and lacks accessibility.
  • The proponent should reconsider the indoor amenity area provided as it appears small and would not provide proper usability. The lobby should not be considered part of the required amenity space.

Materiality

  • The Panel appreciates the building's material palette and the spirit of warm colours. However, the materials are used in a collage manner and do not successfully define the building's base, middle and top sections. The proponent should explore how to use the materials to better define the building.
  • Consider coordinating the change in materials with the volumetric shift of the building.

211 Centrum Boulevard | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Le Groupe Maurice; Hobin Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design

Summary

  • The Panel is supportive of the project and appreciates the massing changes, the evolution of landscape design, and the proponent's efforts to address the Panel's previous recommendations.
  • The Panel appreciates seeing a well-done project with great outdoor amenity spaces where liveability is put forward.
  • The Panel provided several suggestions to strengthen the buildings' architectural expression, increase civic presence on-site, and improve parking and landscaping treatment.

Public Realm and Public Interface

  • The Panel expressed concern about the lack of civic presence on Centrum Blvd. The proponent should explore implementing retail uses facing Centrum and widening the sidewalks to create a walking experience.
  • The Shenkman Art Centre's entrance and seating area was designed as an urban plaza. The Panel believes this treatment should be extended onto the 211 site and suggests continuing the same boulevard treatment, including extending the paving, to knit the existing public realm with the proposed, to create a sense of unity between the sites.

Landscaping

  • The Panel has a general appreciation for the courtyard located northwest of the site but suggests there may be opportunities to improve its relationship to the buildings. The proponent should explore the impacts of the sun in the summer and wind in the winter.
  • The proposed birch grove on Centrum is a good selection as a strong identifiable entrance feature, but the Panel cautions that birch borer could wipe out the grove.
  • The Panel believes the southwest corner could benefit from having a civic presence and strongly encourages the proponent to convert the triangular terrace into a green roof, as units are looking out onto it.

On-site Parking

  • The Panel expressed some concerns regarding the size and accessibility of the parking lot. The proponent should consider how senior residents would access the parking spots. The driveway between the entrance and the parking lot could be more pedestrian-friendly.
  • The proponent should consider expanding the landscape and introducing trees to provide some relief from the heat during the summer months.

Massing and Architectural Expression

  • The Panel appreciates the new massing and reduction in the height of one of the towers, as it establishes a better transition to the street.
  • The Panel considers the curvature of the tower an important gesture that mimics the landscape and strengthens its relationship to the Queensway; however, the gesture could be bolder by creating a distinct building top.
  • The Panel notes the framing elements generally function well at a small scale, but the grey frame does not translate as well at a large scale.
  • The tower's façade treatment contains several patterns, which are visually overwhelming. The Panel suggests the proponent explore options to make the façade less busy.

Materiality

  • The Panel believes there could be an introduction of warm materials, such as the longboard, rather than spandrel panels, could add distinct character to the exterior spaces and could be incorporated in terraces and balconies.
  • The mid- and high-rise buildings should have a distinct architectural expression to ensure the tower stands out. Consider different materiality, tonality and colouration.

Sustainability

  • The Panel believes sustainability can be integrated into the architecture and the landscape. The proponent should consider including sustainable materials at the site plan level, green roofs to control runoff water and mitigate the heat island effect, and possibly implement a garden to improve ecolo

February 5, 2021

6301 Campeau Drive | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment, and Site Plan Control Application | Bayview Hospitality Group; API Development Consultants; Fabiani Architect; Momentum Planning & Communications

Summary

  • The Panel appreciates the favourable changes made since the last iteration, especially the proponent’s efforts to retain the landscape outcrop, which improves the integration of natural environment by bringing nature into the site.
  • The Panel made recommendations to improve the proposed second row of townhouses, the overall massing and volume of the high-rise building in Parcel 2, the scale, setback, and articulation of the townhouses facing Campeau, and the landscape treatment at the corner of the townhouses.

Site Plan

  • As its current state, Cordillera Street is not inviting. The Panel suggest improving its condition given that Cordillera Street could become the entrance point to Parcel 2 since vehicular access and movement can be controlled better than Canadian Shield Drive.
  • Greater discussion is needed to address the Panel’s grading questions and concerns.
  • For large sites such as this, it is beneficial to study the relationship between street versus driveway and consider a road hierarchy.
  • Consider options for a plaza, corner store, and places where people can gather.
  • UniverCity, Burnaby in British Columbia and Scandinavian examples were cited as precedents that establish a good relationship between buildings and nature.
  • Eliminate or consolidate parking on one side of the townhomes in Parcel 1 to improve the landscape treatment.
  • Provide more detailed cross-sections of the site and include a diagram showing on-site amenities and access to outside amenities, shopping, recreation and schools to create a complete community.
  • Consider integrating a drop-off area for the high-rise building in Parcel 2.

Massing and Scale

  • Explore different mechanical penthouse treatments for the high-rise buildings to minimize their visual impact, as they will be quite prominent.
  • The Panel recommends exploring the possibility of eliminating the middle row of townhomes to improve the site plan and add green space.
  • There are concerns with the long façade of the high-rise in Parcel 2 and the shadow impacts. Consider breaking up the high-rise building’s mass into two with a variation in height, similar to the buildings in Parcel 1, or have an L-shaped building wrap the southeast corner.
  • The interface between building and street at the southeast of Parcel 2 reads more as a private drive aisle treatment rather than that of a public street. Consider articulating the façade as it wraps around past the three trees to create a more urban condition.
  • The townhouses on Parcel 1 read and feel like a repetitive low wall; adding a setback to break up the mass or varying the roofline would help to build rhythm and improve this condition.
  • Improve the landscaping façade on the corner side of the townhouses to enhance its expression, look at the scale, setback, and articulation.
  • Enhance the articulation of the base of the high-rise building in Parcel 1 by having the concierge area protrude outward or by varying the colour of materials.

Public Realm and Landscape Design

  • The Panel commends the proponent on their careful study of the outcrops, how the forest has been drawn into the site, and how the parking lots next to the forest have been reduced.
  • The project could benefit from removing the townhomes on Parcel 2 and inviting the landscape by creating a gradual slope making the middle outcrop accessible at grade.
  • The middle row of townhouses in Parcel 2 feel like an island surrounded by parking. Enhance the landscaping treatment between the row houses by eliminating the middle row of asphalt.
  • Capitalize on the roof area of the parking garage, which could serve as a good amenity space.
  • The townhomes on Campeau Drive have a good rhythm but need a stronger transitional space. Improve the front yard design by planting trees on Campeau, including walkways and providing townhomes with pocket front yards to establish a stronger landscape treatment between the townhouses and the landscape on Campeau.
  • Explore the concept of a linear park or corridor on Campeau and look at the landscape character and take into consideration the buffer and rocky outcrop.

Sustainability

  • The integration of the outcrop into the middle of the site is supported by the Panel and shows consideration for sustainability. This revision is greatly appreciated.
  • It will be important to achieve a high level of sustainability in this development. Carefully study the possibility of additional stormwater management measures such as swales, low impact development techniques, and district energy.
  • Consider access to employment, 15-minute neighbourhood planning principles, sustainable mobility and access to transit, trails, recreational facilities, schools and open spaces to improve mental health and affordability.

163 Parkdale Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Richcraft; TACT Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design; Site/C Landscape

Summary

  • The Panel appreciates the changes that have been made since the last iteration, especially in terms of the architectural expression and the proponent's efforts to bury the hydro lines. The Panel also acknowledges the level of detail in the townhouses and the introduction a buffer increasing the greenery on the site.

Site Plan

  • Relocate the six bicycle spaces as the current location is tight and obstructs pedestrian movement.
  • Explore moving the vent to the north side, west of the box between gridline A and the garage. Some parking spots may be lost, but they can be relocated where the vent was previously. Alternatively, explore a long and narrow vent between the ramp and the property line.
  • The corner and drop-off treatment are of concern given that it is perceived to be tight, and bulkier cars might not squeeze through. An alternative is to have a round column with right bollards or ideally to have roll curbs to make the corner read like a plaza.

Massing

  • The Panel appreciates relocating the glass corner to the south-west and the balconies, which permits a sleek corner.
  • The mechanical penthouse could be pulled back on the west side to reduce its impact.

Materiality

  • The penthouse reads heavy. Panel suggests further exploring to lighten its expression. Consider a fritted glass treatment similar to the balconies and offset the penthouse from the edges to make it less imposing.
  • The canopy has an industrial feel. Given that there is no industrial heritage in the area, more contemporary and modern materials, such as lighter aluminum may be studied.
  • The corner is more glazed; however, the use of a curtain wall instead of a window wall would be more appropriate and create more transparency. Additionally, the corner glass at the top should not be sandblasted or fritted glass; rather, study the use of clear glass at the top corner to change the building’s finishing.
  • The columns at the corner on the reveal floor above the podium seem prominent, in contrast to the demising walls between the balconies. Consider improving the consistency in the exposed structures and free columns to minimize their protrusion.

Landscape Design

  • The Panel generally supports the landscaping improvements at the base of the Parkdale façade, but expressed concern that the grass may not survive through winter months due to salt spray. A hardscape strip of minimum 200 mm may improve the condition.

403 Richmond Road & 389 Roosevelt Avenue | Formal Review | Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment | Starwood Mastercraft; RLA Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design

Summary

  • The Panel appreciated the building's overall look and feel, the emerging tonality and palette of materials, and the inclusion of family-sized units.
  • The Panel recommends improving the landscape treatment on the north part of the property, reducing the visual prominence of the mechanical penthouse by stepping it back, and consider the relationship between the proposal and the adjacent site.

Massing

  • Cut back the amenity area from the edge of the building facing Roosevelt and setback about 3 metres, so the view from Richmond on the west is not as imposing.
  • The Panel notes the mezzanine's height reads too tall. However, at its current height, the mezzanine permits the creation of two-storey units facing the street. It provides an opportunity to promote family units, which the Panel considers an asset given that they work quite well along the mainstreet.
  • Changes to the mechanical penthouse, including a further setback on Richmond, would reduce its mass and visual prominence.
  • The current corner transition and massing are not clear; the taller volume could be squared off and stepped back, giving the podium a solid volume that might reduce the height and improve transition on Richmond Road.
  • Removing a floor off above the porte cochère at Roosevelt Avenue would soften the transition to the north.

Building Design

  • The canopies are a good architectural element; however, the proposal would benefit from larger canopies to distinguish the ground floor and increase level of transparency at grade.
  • Massing models are needed to demonstrate what can be developed on the adjacent site. Reconsider windows on this façade and re-think strategies to avoid a “blank wall”.
  • Screening the open area around parking would reduce traffic perception to the neighbours.

Landscape Design

  • The retention of trees is supported by the Panel. Consider extending the streetscape to the curb to create a POPS that reads like a public space and not a private patio.
  • The greenspace north of the porte cochère could be designed as a pedestrian-friendly parkette by incorporating street furniture and natural features such as rocks.
  • There is an opportunity to incorporate some green elements and design a green edge on the 4th floor north side.

Materiality

  • The panel finds the materials refreshing; the brick and stone materials and the monochromatic palette are good combinations creating an elegant design well suited for Westboro.
  • The glass corners on the upper level are appreciated and need to be secured during Site Plan Control process.
  • The proposed building has a 1960’s aesthetic, which was supported, however the Panel noted that the streamlined cornices may contradict this.
  • It will be important to handle the details of the proposal carefully to achieve the level of elegance proposed.

Sustainability

  • Summarize sustainable features at the Site Plan stage. Consider proximity to transit, green roofs, and energy efficiency.

78 – 88 Beechwood Avenue & 69 – 93 Barrette Street | Formal Review | Zoning By-law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Minto Communities Canada; RAW Design, Fotenn Planning & Design

Summary

  • The Panel thanked the proponent for a fulsome and detailed presentation and for the changes that have been made since the previous iteration. The improvements to the portion of the building facing Barrette Street were particularly appreciated.
  • The Panel expressed concerns with the proposed mass of the development, which it felt was very dense for a mid-block site, particularly on the Beechwood and east facades. Recommendations were made to reduce the building’s volume to improve relationships, to adjust the architectural expression of the Beechwood façade to make it less imposing, and to tie the materiality more strongly to the context.

Massing and Building Design

  • Given that this is a mid-block site, it was suggested that a reduced massing would better help the project fit into the context. One Panel member suggested an eight-storey mass with a step back above the sixth floor would be a more appropriate massing for the Beechwood side of the development. Other Panel members expressed concern about the linking building.
  • The Panel appreciates the proponent’s efforts to break down the Beechwood façade and reflect the rhythm of the streetscape but felt that the red brick base appears too superficial and the variation complicates the base. Establishing a consistent three-storey datum would be a more robust treatment.
  • The Panel suggested that the floors above the base on the Beechwood façade read too strongly and are imposing on the streetscape. The vertical striation also has too commercial an expression. The proponent is encouraged to continue to explore means of recessing the mass above the base and minimize its imposing nature.
  • It was recommended that the proponent continue to explore opportunities to reduce the massing of the east façade. There have not been significant improvements since the last iteration. The mass currently reads as an L-shaped building, which makes it appear too dense. Though this would result in a loss in GFA, the mass should read as two bar buildings, one facing Barrette and one facing Beechwood, with a connecting link between them. Reduce the height of the connecting portion to six storeys and recess it further from the property line to help achieve this.
  • It was suggested that the passageway on the east side of the site should remain clear and the protrusion of the massing into the space on the Barrette side should be eliminated.
  • The Panel commended the proponent on making significant revisions to the massing facing Barrette; it relates better to the context than it did previously. It was suggested that recessing the balconies may further improve this and help to break down the facade.
  • Recess the corner of the L-shape linking the Beechwood and Barrette façades, above the third storey and have a different treatment to a slightly grey to emphasize volume and reduce the mass.

Materiality & Contextual Considerations

  • The contextual precedents provided by the proponent were appreciated, however, the Panel noted that the examples shown were all corner buildings, some of which have frontage on three streets. As the proposed site is not located at a corner, it was suggested that the capacity of the site may not be comparable.
  • The use of red brick is good, however, as proposed, it reads as being superficial, and the upper elements read too strongly. The vertical striation gives the proposal a commercial feeling, and the metal panel window system feels foreign to the neighbourhood and imposing. Consider alternative materials that pick up more closely on the texture of the materials in the context. The terracotta used in the St. Charles Church redevelopment, which enriches the neighbourhood and does not read as bright or prominently, was referenced as a good precedent to reference.

Sustainability

  • Continue to explore additional sustainability measures not only as they relate to the building and site but also in terms of promoting of social mix, affordable housing, and sustainable transportation. Sustainable roof, patio and terrace treatments, additional street trees, and terraces, planters, climbing vines, screens for shades were suggested.

January 8, 2021

70 Richmond Road | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment | Trinity Group; Hobin Arch

Summary

  • The Panel appreciates the complexity of the site and commended the proponent for their efforts to preserve the heritage building and provide a generous public realm treatment.
  • Strong concerns were expressed towards the proposed massing, particularly the poor transition that it produces towards the neighbourhood to the south and how it overwhelms the heritage building. Recommendations were primarily aimed at improving these two relationships.

Massing and Transition

  • The Panel had strong concerns with the proposed nine-storey massing, which it did not feel was appropriate for the site and context. It was suggested that a six-storey mass that dropped to four storeys on the south edge would be more of an appropriate height.
  • Improving the transition to the established neighbourhood to the south is strongly recommended. The nine-storey sheer wall in close proximity to the property line creates a poor relationship and not adhering to the 45-degree angular plane is problematic. Island Park Drive is an important historical street.
  • It was suggested that the nine-storey height was out of context for Wellington Street and the without stepbacks, it reads as a wall.

Relationship to Heritage

  • The Panel commended the proponent for their efforts to preserve the heritage building on the site, but felt that the proposed massing and building design are overwhelming the structure. The Panel suggested that the new building should read as a backdrop to the heritage component and strive to fade into the background as much as possible.
  • Continue to study how the new building sits on the site and transitions to the heritage building, given the scale of the two are so different.
    • Reducing the base f the building to one storey would help improve the relationship.
    • The Panel strongly recommends eliminating the projecting central glassy vertical element and avoiding pronouncing the middle.
    • Setting the new building back from Wellington Street (to the “B” gridline on pg. 35) would help improve the heritage building’s prominence and improve views towards it along Wellington.

Materiality

  • The Panel felt that, in general, the material palette of the proposal was appropriate for the context.
  • Study what effect a lighter brick would have on the building’s relationship to the context. It may strengthen the relationship with the building to the west.

Pedestrian Realm

  • The Panel commends the proponent on the treatment of the public realm. The proposed corner plaza, the setback on Wellington, and the expanded pedestrian clearway are supported.

979 Wellington Street West & 50 Armstrong Street | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment | ML Devco; RLA Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design

Summary

  • The Panel supported some of the advancements to the project including the mid-block connection and podium development, but continues to have strong concerns with the overall proposed massing and especially the tower. A mid-rise building was recommended.
  • Recommendations were made in terms of materiality, realigning the mid-block connection, and exploring alternative mid-rise massing options.
  • The Panel suggested revisiting the previous UDRP recommendations, as there are a number of comments that have not been addressed.

Massing

  • The proponent’s analysis of the future context is appreciated, but the Panel believes that this site belongs to the mid-rise character of Wellington Street rather than the Bayview Station node. In terms of the overall scale of the project, the Panel does not support a tower as an appropriate built form for this context. A mid-rise building is strongly recommended.
  • The Panel recommends exploring the possibility of splitting the mass of the building into two separate, disconnected volumes to break up the long podium volume along Wellington Street. The north elevation of the proposal is the most successful because the podium is broken into two. If this approach is taken,
    • Consider lowering the scale of the western block to have a better transition to the mainstreet character to the west. Eight or nine storeys were suggested for the east building and no more than six for the west building.
    • Explore a different architectural expression and materiality for the two buildings.
    • The below-grade infrastructure could still span the entire site.
    • Reconsider the width of the east building and potentially narrow its footprint to widen the courtyard space.
    • If the two buildings are to be connected in any way, a raised glass corridor with no units would be the best option.

Building Design

  • The Panel recommends insetting the mechanical penthouse, to help diminish the perception of the height of the tower.
  • Reconsider the location of the elevator shaft at the ground floor or the tower, as there is a missed opportunity to have clear direct connection from Hilda Street to the courtyard.
  • The Panel commends the proponent on the degree of porosity that is achieved on the ground floor of the building. The retail components are well planned and the through-lobby for the residential component is a strong gesture. Consider relocating the elevator shaft to provide a clearer path through the lobby.
  • The “nested volumes” approach to the design of the podiums is successful.

Materiality

  • The notion of designing the building with an industrial texture is supported, as the neighbourhood does have this quality to it historically, but the four-storey portion of the base does read as being quite large. Consider a different colour palette for this portion that picks up on the strong textural quality of the neighbourhood. Changing the colour may also contribute to strengthening continuity along the mainstreet.
  • Should the tower element remain in the scheme, consider reversing the expression proposed and have the glassy expression face Wellington Street and the more solid expression face the established neighbourhood.

Mid-block Connection

  • The addition of the mid-block connection to the proposal and the degree of porosity it creates on the site is strongly supported.
  • The Panel suggests that it is important to realign the mid-block connection with the front entrance to the heritage building on Armstrong Street. This would create a stronger view terminus, be a better gesture urbanistically, and strengthen the justification for the connection.

Public Realm

  • The Panel expressed support for the improvements to the public realm on Wellington Street.

Sustainability

  • In the next phases of the development process, the proponent is encouraged to consider sustainability measures.

19 Centrepointe Drive | Formal Review | Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment | Richcraft; RLA Architecture; Fotenn Planning & Design

Summary

  • The Panel was pleased with the changes the proponent has made in terms of response to previous recommendations, especially in the reduction in the number of towers. Overall, the proposal has improved greatly.
  • The Panel’s recommendations primarily aimed at slimming the towers and enhancing their vertical articulation, and improving on-site circulation by eliminating the need for the traffic circle.

Tower Design

  • The Panel greatly appreciates the reduction from three to two towers, as was previously proposed.
  • The Panel encouraged the proponent to continue to explore opportunities to reduce the floor plates and slim the towers, as they are quite large. One member suggested that they would not be bothered by additional height, if it meant that the towers would be slimmed.
  • Given the scale of the project the Panel suggests that the small penetrations into the angular plane are not problematic.
  • The Panel recommends continuing to explore a different orientation for Tower B. Study how the tower may be reoriented to better relate to Centrepointe Drive, minimize its impact visually, and reduce the late afternoon shadows on the schoolyard.
  • The Panel recommends strengthening the vertical expression in the articulation and ornamentation of the towers. The architectural features and changes in materiality halfway up the tower makes the floor plate appear larger and the tower more squat.
  • Differentiating the two towers in terms of height is supported by the Panel.
  • Carefully study how the towers meet the podium, as this will be an important detail to be handled well.

Podium Design

  • The Panel commends the proponent on the improvements to the articulation of the townhouses from the previous iteration, which will relate well to the character of the built form across the street. The setbacks, pairing of front yards to the opposite side of the street, and outdoor porch-like elements are strong design moves.
  • Explore the possibility of having the built form of the podium follow the geometry of Centrepointe Drive more closely and curve similar to the street edge.
  • The Panel suggested exploring the possibility of screening the long glass wall at the top of the podium with plantings.
  • Given the scale of the development, explore the possibility of having a connecting public space extend through the base of the building to break it up and provide more porosity to the site.

Site Plan

  • The Panel recommends that the proponent continue to study the parking circle, as it is an inefficient solution to manage on-site circulation. The extent of paved surface is a concern.
    • Creating a right-in, right-out access point on Centrepointe Drive and a driveway that traverses the site would greatly improve on-site circulation and would be the preferred option.
    • Another potential solution would be to consider a drop-off on Centrepointe in lieu of the circle.
  • As the details of the traffic circle are refined, ensure that universal accessibility considerations are carefully studied.
  • The Panel reiterated its recommendation to adjust the location of the entry drive off Gemini Way to preserve as much of the vegetation along that edge as possible.