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December 2, 2010

89 – 91 Nepean Formal Review

  • The Panel appreciates the architectural expression.
  • The Panel stressed the absolute necessity for the building to stay within the height restrictions placed by the view protection planes in the downtown core. The Panel noted that the proposed height is within inches of the limits and the Panel is concerned that the finished building may break into the plane.
  • The Panel would like the applicant to consider retail at grade. This should be explored and the rational for the decision to include or not include retail should be explained.
  • The Panel discussed the various pros and cons of moving the building forward on the site. It was noted that pushing the building forward would create more breathing room around the building and would create better separation from a possible future building on the empty lot to the rear. Keeping the building to the rear offered better opportunities for landscaping the entry court. The general feeling of the Panel was that if the project includes retail at grade, the building could be shifted forward on the site. If the at grade use remains residential, the 3m setback should be maintained and the landscaping strengthened .
  • Should the ground floor remain residential, the Panel recommends that the residential units, presently facing the rear yard, be brought to the front of the building and that these units have separate doors to the street. The Panel recommends that semi dormant spaces should go to rear of the building or to the roof.
  • The Panel noted the importance of the mechanical surround; the cladding of this portion of the building should be the same as the overall building and this should be required through the approval process.
  • The Panel discussed the importance of the rooftop garden for future residents and noted that this feature should not be cut from the project. The Panel also noted the importance of resident access and highlighted the fact that the project would be richer if there were an interior common/resident use area adjacent to the garden.
  • The Panel stressed its expectations for very a high quality landscape treatment. This will be particularly important to help improve the quality of a narrow downtown street that, given this and other adjacent residential developments, will be increasingly used by resident pedestrians. The Panel noted that if the setback remains 3m, the landscape treatment should be intensified and groupings of trees should be considered. It was also noted that a greater landscape treatment, with the inclusion of public art, would create a greater sense of interest and could address the “gap tooth” created by the setback.
  • The Panel stressed its expectations for high quality design, detailing and materiality, especially given the very high density of the building. The Panel noted the particular importance of materials on the lower levels of the building, where they are directly experienced by pedestrians. The Panel recommended that the Applicant address the abrupt nature of how the brick portion of the building meets the ground.
  • The Panel felt that the materials and expression on the north façade required further study.
  • The Panel discussed the opportunities to jog the building to emphasize its two parts. It was noted that this could create relief and variety.
  • The Panel asked the applicant to look at the environmental opportunities and energy saving measures for the building. In particular, the Panel noted that in return for density, the building should make a significant contribution to the city in terms of sustainability, green infrastructure and energy characteristics.
  • The Panel noted a concern over wind impacts on the public realm.

108 – 122 Lisgar Formal Review

  • The Panel recognises that this project has received previous permissions through the Committee of Adjustment.
  • The Panel supports the initiative to move density up.
  • The Panel commends the applicant on the wrapping of the building to avoid blank walls and the fact that the building is not developed to a zero lot line.
  • The Panel noted that the front yard area was under landscaped and that the trees would likely not survive without special attention. The Panel noted the requirement for extensive below grade growing area and the use of soil cells to ensure that the proposed trees grow into strong, majestic, canopy trees
  • In order to respond to the neighbourhood landscape and streetscape, the Panel recommends that proposed front yard trees be aligned with the existing trees on Lisgar.
  • The Panel noted that the service areas of the building (the garbage room and access to the garage) form the terminal view from the pedestrian pathway between the two City Hall buildings. The Panel felt that this represented a lost opportunity to create an interesting axial relationship with City Hall. The Panel recommends that the garbage room and garage entry be moved so that they do not form the terminal view from the pedestrian court; the Panel wondered whether the first floor uses could be mirrored as a solution.
  • The Panel noted the lack of dialogue between the retained Victorian house and the new building; the relationship of the house to the material change in the new building was noted as awkward. The Panel recommends that the material and dimensions of the base of the proposed building be re-examined in the context of the adjacent Victorian home.
  • The Panel expressed concern for future development on the lot to the east. It was noted that the narrow side yard setback would afford little breathing room for the units and uses on the east façade. Appropriate tower separation must be considered.
  • The Panel questioned whether the rear garden would be used and appreciated. A preference for a larger amenity area at the front of the building instead of the garden at the back was noted.
  • The Panel noted that the horizontal emphasis of the upper balconies took away from the vertical aspects/emphasis of the building.