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2012

January 5, 2012

Rideau Street reconstruction | Formal Review | Capital Project

General Comments

  • The Panel is generally happy with how the project has evolved since the pre-consultation. The project is starting to look very promising.
  • The team has provided a level of urban design analysis which is very helpful to the Panel.

Nodes and Social Spaces

  • The Panel appreciates the year-round connections and landscape improvements that the team proposes; however, the illustrations are somewhat sparse on information. Details should be provided regarding how pedestrian lighting, benches, and other street furniture will be incorporated into these important spaces.
  • The views and vistas from the nodes should be considered. The Panel would like to see photos of the views incorporated into an illustration board with the streetscape plan and street elevations. 
  • The Panel notes that additional analysis needs to be undertaken to help to determine the programming of each node and social space connecting with adjacent areas. There are many opportunities to use the unique attributes of each node and space to inform design and serve adjacent communities.
  • The team could use subtle design clues to create a sympathetic design solution to the issue of allowing people to congregate, while avoiding the encouragement of social problems that may otherwise take place in such locations.
  • The Panel encourages the development of a strategic plan that encourages greater ownership of the street by the public, and a positive youth-focused social environment. The Panel notes that the street should be designed for the future, including future positive investment.

Lighting

  • The Panel applauds the team for the sustainability potential illustrated by the proposed pedestrian light fixtures.
  • The Panel is unsure, however, of the full night time impact of the repetitive use of the proposed reflective lighting (glare etc.). The Panel also wonders if the daytime appearance will be rather characterless. No illustration of street fixtures has been provided so it is not possible to determine the important relationship between pedestrian, street and combination fixtures.
  • The Panel strongly encourages the team to produce street sections of the corridor. Sections are integral in indicating how the proposed pedestrian fixtures will relate to street lighting and other elements such as signage. Sections will help to clarify the vertical and horizontal relationships between elements.
  • The team is encouraged to explore winter and other seasonal opportunities, such as tree decoration and winter lighting.

Signage, Street Furniture and Public Art

  • The Panel encourages the team to create seating opportunities, for groups of two or three people, which are both protected from the roadway and are oriented toward the sidewalk.
  • The Panel expresses concern with regard to the limited budget for public art, and feels that the amount spread over 6 proposed locations will be too diluted.
  • There are gaps in the pedestrian streetscape experience, in particular where there are servicing conflicts. The Panel suggests that these gaps be the focus for public art locations. Art could be used to help inform wayfinding through small gestures.
  • The greatest clutter along this street will come from City road signage. The City should work to consolidate signage; it would be useful for the team to develop a prototypical image of how the signage will work both vertically and horizontally. The Panel suggests that the design team investigate the signage of Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles.

Paving

  • The Panel supports selective changing of the colours of pavers, but the City should be careful; differential settlement of pavers with different thicknesses and / or materials needs to be considered.
  • The Panel notes that long rectangular pavers tend to crack and, therefore, that their use should be carefully considered.
  • The Panel notes that pavers with a wedged edge can be difficult to walk on with certain footwear.

Functionality and Landscape Treatment

  • The team should ensure snow removal is considered in the design of the street. Snow should not be piled up against public art or trees.
  • Since two blocks of the street are designated truck routes, the Panel encourages the team to discuss this reconstruction with the Ministry of Transportation and other agencies responsible for transportation aspects of the street. Through partnerships, it may be possible to bury the wires and contribute to the beautification of the street.
  • The Panel acknowledges the team’s effort in pursuing tree survival and improvement techniques. The team should specify the tree species that will be planted. The Panel notes that large street trees, not smaller flowering ones, should be used. The species selection should be based on survival rate in urban environments, available space and appropriateness for the context.
  • The Panel notes that the street should not look fortified and suggests that the tree guards be designed with this in mind.

Further Analysis

  • The Panel recommends that the team produce a drawing that includes both street elevations and plan views. This would show the existing fabric of the street and help provide insight into the most appropriate colours and textures for a given intersection. Generally, the Panel encourages the team to use vivid colours to enliven the street. Although facades change along the street, the material selection should maintain a level of consistency with the overall context.
  • The Panel, as noted above, encourages the team to produce street sections of the corridor. These should be both prototypical, as an essential concept, and selectively specific to special situations along the lengthy corridor. 
  • The Panel encourages the team to look into using 3-D modeling design software to inform the views of the street from different angles.
  • Wayfinding should be considered as the project progresses.
  • Ensuring universal accessibility along the entire street is essential.
  • As the design evolves, further program analysis is also encouraged, in response to local and adjacent issues and opportunities

February 2, 2012

1683 Merivale Road

Formal Review, Site Plan and Zoning Application


General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the changes the applicant has made since the pre-consultation stage, in particular with regard to landscape improvements and the addition of brick to the retirement home. However, the Panel is concerned that the modifications made to the development in response to the pre-consultation recommendations are relatively minimal.
  • The Panel feels that this introduction of residential use into the Merivale Road context is a good thing.
  • The current scheme provides some good additions to the area but, given the scale of the site and the development, the Panel would like to see the proposal be more responsive to the context and go further with the design. The applicant still has opportunities to make significant changes to the development.
  • Given the size of this proposed development, it is extremely important that the applicant consider the pedestrian environment throughout the design. Cars that enter the area should feel that they are visitors within an overall pedestrian environment, and pedestrians should feel comfortable and safe.

Condo Towers

  • There appears to be contradictions between the private interest and the public interest with regard to this development. While the Panel understands that the City is comfortable with the location of uses, some Panel members still feel that it would be in the public interest to locate one of the condo towers directly on Merivale Road, with retail beneath, and place the retirement home along Grant Carman Drive. This would provide a better transition to the established, low scale residential neighbourhood across Grant Carman. There is concern that with the condo tower on Grant Carman, a precedent of building towers will be set, creating a poor relationship to the adjacent single family neighbourhood.
  • The applicant should modify the heights of the condo buildings to deal more effectively with both transitioning and sun and shadow impacts. The “L” shape and the projecting leg of the modified eastern tower make the shadow impacts worse. The height of the projection should be lowered to 5 or 6 storeys to improve the transition to Grant Carman and to reduce shadow impacts.
  • To improve the transition to the Grant Carmen edge, the Panel encourages the applicant to lower the overall height of the eastern tower (for example, to 10 storeys with a 5 storey projection) and to increase the height of the central tower (for example, to 15 storeys because it is set back almost 200 metres from adjacent streets).
  • The tower designs lack architectural articulation at this point. There should be better differentiation between the bottom, middle and top of the buildings. The Panel encourages the applicant to take the datum height that is set by the retirement home and continue it through to create a stronger podium base for the towers. The tower designs could also be developed to create an apparent transparency for the top.
  • The applicant should consider creating roof gardens on the towers.

Seniors’ Residence and Pavilion Buildings

  • The uses in the seniors’ residence that face onto Merivale Road must be publically accessible.
  • The dining room could be located to also face the courtyard.
  • The use of brick on the seniors’ residence has improved the appearance of the building.
  • The seniors’ residence (and any other building that faces onto Merivale Road) should be aligned to be parallel with the road. At a minimum, the main projecting element of the seniors’ residence should be parallel to the road.
  • The proposed canopies fronting onto Merivale Road are a positive attribute and could provide weather protection in addition to being a positive visual element.

Internal Area: Surface Parking and Landscaping

  • The central tower has uninspiring surroundings, with parking on both sides. The applicant should explore how to enliven and improve these spaces.
  • The way the internal spaces are set up, all of the rooms that face the internal square will just be looking at surface parking. A landscaped deck above the main surface parking area would significantly improve the aesthetic value of this property.
  • The Panel recommends putting more of the parking underground.
  • The applicant must examine carefully how to maintain a successful landscape treatment on the parkade deck. Landscaping here will require a minimum of a metre in topsoil depth.

Private Street

  • The Panel appreciates the attention given to the private street. The direction the applicant is starting to pursue on this street is a positive one.
  • The private street will be an important pedestrian connection for the community and must be animated either through retail or a private-use function.
  • The applicant is urged to further develop the private road such that it provides an encouraging environment for pedestrians as well as cars. The finer degree of articulation, currently provided on the pavilions’ design, should also be applied to the design of the private street. The surface of the private drive should not be asphalt, but a material should be used to create the feeling that people are entering a pedestrian environment and courtyards, rather than a road tailored solely for cars.
  • It is imperative that the northern edge of the private street be discussed. The developer must engage in discussion with the adjacent property owner about providing proper landscape treatment on both sides along the private road.
  • The grade related units that are a part of the condo towers that face the private road should be increased in height to be at least 2 storeys so that they appear to be more like townhouses. On these units the stone / brick should be continued to wrap around the façades. There should also be a step-back above this datum line. This would help make the towers read more like a residential streetscape.
  • The pavilion-like features between the towers are a good addition to the design. The Panel appreciates that these are being used to screen the main parking lot. The applicant should consider using space within the pavilions for publically accessible retail or other services rather than apartment units.

March 1, 2012

99 Parkdale Avenue

Formal Review, Site Plan and Zoning Application

  • The Panel commends the applicant on a masterfully handled development. The Panel appreciates the detailed thought the applicant has given to the building design and the urban design context. The applicant has responded to the Panel’s recommendations from the pre-consultation and improved the scheme. Key improvements include:
    • increasing the setbacks provided
    • improving the streetscape, urban edge and the townhouse condition
    • increasing the floor to floor height and total height of the podium
  • The Panel commends the landscape architect on the project. There is a considered approach to the pedestrian experience which should be applauded.
  • The Panel appreciates the provision of urban design views of the site from a distance, which helps provide perspective on the impact on the cityscape.
  • This project will be important for City staff to determine how this development will fit into the emerging context in this area. This site is fortunate in that the location and nature of the developments immediately to the east and north, as a combination of other high rise and parkade structures, reduce the shadow and other impacts of this high-rise proposal compared to other sites in the area. The applicant has provided a solution very specific to its location by utilizing this opportunity. This development should not be viewed as a precedent for other locations along Parkdale, which have different contexts and lower, established surroundings.
  • The balcony resolution is well-handled. The balconies are generous in proportion and are useable. The Panel strongly encourages the applicant to follow through with actually developing the balconies on the building the way they are expressed through these illustrations.
  • The total amount of glass area used should be re-examined. As Ottawa resides in a northern climate, with cold winters, the applicant should do more to mitigate the heat loss effect of this materiality. The applicant should do so without changing the proportions.
  • This is a very handsome building. The Panel understands that the colour scheme is not finished; however, if there is opportunity to introduce colour into the building, the Panel encourages this.
  • There is some flexibility in this development to provide different forms of lighting or subtle signage. The Panel encourages the applicant to find creative ways to provide illumination at night.
  • The lines and depth of the projecting canopies over the penthouse at the top of the building appear somewhat heavy. Reducing the projecting canopies scale would make them less prominent would help to emphasize the verticality of the façade composition.
  • For future projects that the applicants bring to the Panel, the Panel would appreciate 1:50 scaled elevations of important elements of the building.
     

April 5, 2012

250 Montreal Road

Pre-consultation | Site Plan Application | Martineau Architecture Inc. + Smith Carter; Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens

General Comments
  • There is overall support for the project and the Panel commends the applicant on the urban design analysis and development of design principles. However, the Panel is concerned that the present design has lost some of the dynamic qualities that were present in the previous concept.
  • The majority of Panel members felt that the applicant / owner should not continue to consider a future “plus 15 pedestrian bridge” over Dupuis Street, as indicated on the site plan. The bridge (if needed) could be designed to form an archway into Dupuis Street. It would, however, contradict a key objective to open up visibility and connections between Montreal Road and the public plaza behind the building.
  • The detailing of the design will be critical at the next stage of the project.
Design and Materiality
 
  • Members expressed concerns that the change to cementitious cladding from the brick / terracotta originally proposed will detract from the quality of the building. The dynamic projections and recessions, reflecting the original “stack of books” concept, have also been significantly reduced.
  • The datum line needs to be stronger, with terracotta reinstated across the entire Montreal Road frontage of the building’s base. The terracotta should also wrap around the corners of the building to create a more solid public face. The public realm and design would benefit from a brick / terracotta veneer on the building, at least at the podium levels.
  • The canted glass panels will be a problem to maintain over time. They are not effective and will be affected by salt spray. The applicant should explore other options.
  • The details of the materiality should be explored further. For example, the mullions and the cladding of the building should be particularly carefully studied.
Landscape Treatment
 
  • The overall landscape and planting needs more study to better support the social setting.
  • There is a need for a landscape feature along the setback from Montreal Road.
  • Trees and paving improvements are needed on both sides of Dupuis Street.
  • The grade planters along the streets are too vulnerable and will not be viable as currently proposed.
  • The “urban lawn” has become too small for effective use and survival. The space can be better used by increasing the size of the public plaza, combined with landscaping to the screen wall.
Public Realm
 
  • To provide better engagement with the public realm of the street, the public face needs more careful treatment and the building base needs more articulation.
  • The pedestrian space along Dupuis Street needs more attention. The Panel encourages the applicant to use street furnishings to enhance this area.
  • The entrance and end of Dupuis Street should be explored further. The paving needs a unique treatment at these key points to demarcate these locations in the public realm. In addition, the plaza off of Dupuis needs to be more formal and have hard-surface treatment. It should also be more open to the condominium to the south and expanded to the rear as much as possible.

May 3, 2012



1098 OGILVIE ROAD | Formal Review | Site Plan Application | Barry Hobin Architects; Rosaline Hill

General Comments

  • The Panel is pleased with the applicant’s response to their pre-consultation recommendations and feels that the scheme is moving in a positive direction.
  • The renderings are beautiful and the proposition is thorough. This submission package is a good example for other proposals.
  • The Panel commends the architect on creating townhouses with a strong character, and for orienting the units along Cummings and Ogilvie to front onto the street.
  • The Panel recognizes the balancing act needed to deal with the site’s constraints, the design limitations and the competing demands on this tight site.


Proposal Configuration

  • Explore moving the access driveway along Cummings, so that it is no longer located right next to the park but rather helps to break up the long row of townhouses along Cummings. This would improve the Cummings street edge condition and provide a safer pedestrian environment for people (particularly children) going to and from the park. Whether or not the access driveway moves, a stronger relationship between the units that are adjacent to the park should be created. These units’ facades, including the entries, should better address the park. The Panel notes that the applicant has considered this access location before and encourages the applicant to return to this scheme.
  • The current location of the play structure is hidden away in an area that is not obviously available to everybody. The Panel encourages the applicant to locate the play structure in a more visible location (e.g. between units 14, 15 and 16), or provide wayfinding landmarks to guide people to the play-structure. In addition, the applicant could differentiate the facades of the units facing the play structure, to make them unique and a signature of the play-area.
  • Explore creative ways to visually mark the spaces around the corner units 1, 4, and 12. Adding lanterns, colour or other unique features to these units will help orient people on the site. Providing wayfinding measures internally will also add aesthetic value to the development and its architecture.


Corner Treatment and Public Realm Connections

  • The design treatment of the corner units, especially on Ogilvie and Cummings, should be stronger. Explore having the end units that face onto Cummings and Ogilvie “turn the corner”, so that there is no gap in built form immediately at this corner of the development.
  • The Panel appreciates the breaking down of the masses and the rows of townhouses within the layout.
  • Explore the grading down to Cumming Avenue for the units that face onto Cummings. It may be possible to step down the grade of the sidewalk closer to Cummings, with a small level difference, in order to create a small, private patio or terrace at the front of these units.
  • The pathway through the development needs to be designed such that it is welcoming to and comfortable for pedestrians from outside the development. It should not be seen as for the exclusive use of the immediate residents alone.
  • The Panel encourages the City to ensure that there is a 3m, treed buffer between this development and the potential car dealership behind it.
  • The Panel requests that the City explore taking ownership and maintenance of a sidewalk through the Hydro Corridor, from where it is currently proposed to end on Cummings to the corner at Ogilvie. There should also be a landscape buffer along the sidewalk connection to the Ogilvie corner.


Landscape and Hardscape Treatment

  • Explore ways to minimize the amount of asphalt within the development.
  • Consider reorienting the parking and removing the through-lane in the centre of the development, in order to create a larger central greenspace. With a larger greenspace in the middle, the applicant would also have an opportunity to move the play structure to this location. To achieve this, the parking spaces across from townhouse 17 will have to be relocated. Alternatively, the through-lane could become pedestrianized and just for emergency vehicles.
  • Explore putting street trees along Ogilvie Road to help break the north-west winds, and to enhance the space between the street and the hydro corridor for the units that face onto it.
  • Ensure that there is enough below-grade space to allow for healthy tree growth. Ensure that the trees have enough soil depth and volume to survive amongst the large amount of asphalt on the site. There may be a conflict between the roots of these trees and underground services. A way to avoid such conflict and retain the number of trees proposed, is to combine some of the spaces allotted for trees to create a larger contiguous planting area in order to allow for more trees to live and grow in one area. The proponent is encouraged to explore this alternative and provide optimum locations for trees to ensure their survival.
  • While the Panel recognizes the cost implications of developing / improving the hydro lands, they also note that it would be beneficial to the Ogilvie edge and to the development.


Materiality & Design Treatments

  • The variation of materials is good. The Panel encourages the applicant to reconsider the use of cultured stone at the key corners of the site. Cultured stone is acceptable as a material used to break-up the massing, however, at significant corners and end townhouses the use of brick would be more appropriate.
  • Explore using measures such as photo laminate on the transformers to turn them into more of an artistic statement, rather than a functional, assertive, unattractive piece of equipment.

June 7, 2012

1545 Bank street | Formal Review | Site Plan Application | Novatech Engineering; S.J. Lawrence Architect Inc.

General Comments

• The Panel appreciates the changes that the applicant has made in response to the first UDRP session, and finds that the changes have improved the building. The Panel is generally supportive of the direction and encourages the applicant to follow the suggested refinements described in the recommendations.
• The Panel congratulates the applicant on coming forward with an appropriately-scaled, midrise development in this evolving area of the City. This building will begin to set a positive scale and standard for other developments along the street.

Building Design 

• Explore ways to further simplify the design. The many elements to the design create visual confusion and raise some practicality issues. Atypical building design features, angles, placements, etc. will likely increase maintenance costs for people invested in the building. For example, custom repairs may be more complex, non-uniform parts used in the construction may be more costly, and regular maintenance may require more time or be more difficult.
• Reduce the number of acute angles on the project. These angles may hinder views looking-out of the building. Furthermore, if the angles are not designed, monitored and tended to with more care (than is normally necessary for more conventional designs), they may cause issues with thermal bridging and more speedy material degradation.
• For such a visually complex building, attention to the detail is of the utmost importance as the plans get finalized. Ensure that design treatments involved in the development of sills, brick and stone detailing, coursing, head heights and windows are given proper attention.
• Explore the option of bringing the “logo” street number, which is currently proposed at the top of the building, down to the third level cornice. Having the number relocated to this podium level will make the number more visible. In addition, if the number is carefully designed as a three dimensional element and well integrated with the cornice it can also add character to the entrance. The Panel supports the use of this street number being incorporated into the design because very few buildings in this area have clear identifiers and it will help commuters orient themselves in the area.
• For future reference, 1:50 scale drawings (elevations), particularly for the first three-storeys, are useful to provide because they give the Panel a more comprehensive understanding of the detail in the proposal.

Balconies and Cornices

• Reduce the variation of design and the “clip-on” character of the balconies to create a more straight-forward design. The indentations and balconies may create uncomfortable or dysfunctional spaces.
• The Panel supports the way that the lower balconies are framed by masonry and recessed and believes that this helps create a stronger base for the building. The Panel suggests using non-projecting balconies, handled in a similar way, throughout the building.
• The cornices appear quite heavy at the 6th and 8th floors, thereby subduing the strength of the stepped massing. Reducing or even eliminating some of these upper level cornices would be more sympathetic to the desired effect of the stepped massing and the central, vertical forms.
• Removal of the intermediate, discontinuous cornices above the first floor would also help simplify the building and emphasize the 3rd floor podium.

Landscape Treatment

• Ensure that the street trees proposed have the necessary infrastructure and space to allow them to survive and flourish. The trees should be planted in real soil (not structured) and be given enough space. The current Bank Street edge does not have a condition that would facilitate this kind of healthy tree growth; therefore, some adjustments may need to be made to the street. Removal of the bus lay-by, as mentioned, would help to improve conditions for street tree growth.
• Explore creative ways to provide an urban canopy by using a species of tree which provides adequate shade along the street. The proposed columnar maple will contribute little to the quality of the streetscape and should be substituted for an equally urban tolerant street tree.

July 4 and 5, 2012

96 Nepean Street

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Application
  • Claridge Homes: Dan Haganu
  • Architects: Fotenn Consultants

General Comments

  • The Panel appreciates the changes that the applicant has made in response to the first UDRP session, and finds that the changes have improved the building. The Panel is in full support of the direction and encourages the applicant to follow the suggested refinements described in the recommendations. In particular, attention should be given to providing more definition to the alley space and providing animation to the streetscape.
  • As the design evolves, it would be helpful to provide staff with 1:50 elevations of the lower parts of the façade.

Uses At-Grade

  • The Panel strongly suggests commercial uses throughout the entire base of the building. The grade-related units are nice but require more breathing room than the site currently offers. It is a harsh urban edge and people living at-grade will likely have their blinds down at all times due to the proximity to the street edge. There is a remarkable opportunity to either provide a small grocery store, tuck shop or carve out some space for an outdoor cafe.

Alley Space

  • Create grade-related commercial uses that make use of the alley space. There is a great opportunity to create an interesting pocket space within the downtown. Currently, such spaces are lacking in Ottawa. There is concern that if residential units remain at grade, there is potential for privatization of the alley space, which will then fail to capitalize on this rare opportunity.
  • Consider using sculptures, water, or LED lighting (on the pavement) to emphasize the entrance from this area. 
  • Lighting should be carefully handled in the alley space such that there is no direct harsh light; rather, the Panel recommends lighting the columns to provide indirect light for the area.
  • Consider working with the City to create a full mid-block connection, by extending the alley through the site to the south and to the other side of the block.

Building Design

  • The Panel appreciates the compelling evolution of the scheme. The design brings a sophisticated wit to a City which deserves this kind of architectural treatment. The Panel commends the applicant on the following: 
    • Successfully creating a well-established base through clever architectural design rather than using a podium. The verticality of the building is a positive element.
    • The design of the top is unique from neighbouring high-rises but also retains some similar qualities.
    • The echoing of the datum lines of the adjacent heritage building.
    • The playful nature of the volumes and the tiled nature of the cube suspended in space.
  • Consider using and extending, with more continuity, the white “band” of the adjacent heritage building to the lower floors of the proposed façade 
  • Reconsider using red and grey bricks in the same plane on the lower floors. Consider projecting the lower red brick base or consider providing a rabbet to offer similar differentiation.

Landscape Treatment

  • Ensure the appropriate tree species are planted and given the right volumes of soil to ensure that the north-facing condition has street trees that will flourish.

Lansdowne Park

  • Formal Review
  • Air Rights and Residential
  • Minto Developments: Barry Hobin Architects
  • City of Ottawa

*Robert Webster and Robert Martin declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this specific application.

Building A

  • The Panel is supportive of this proposal and believes it is moving in a favourable direction. 
  • Resolve design issues with the Bank Street building entrance and plaza. The applicant should work toward creating a design which makes a statement on the street without taking away from the seating area in the pocket park in front of the building. Landscape and design treatment in this area needs further work.
  • Be cautious of how the retail base is architecturally treated. The retail should be formatted to take a traditional floor-plate condition rather than a suburban shopping mall condition.
  • Create a well designed, unobtrusive mechanical penthouse. This is significant due to the height of the building and visibility of the tower from other parts of the City. 
  • Re-examine the vertical element on the building. 
  • The programmatic elements and the sensitivity of scale is one of the best attributes of this proposal.
  • The Panel appreciates the projecting treatment of the townhouses at the east end of the project. This helps to minimize the commercial presence in the residential area. It also helps the pedestrian connections and the treatment of the entrance from Holmwood Avenue. 
  • The Panel encourages the applicant to keep the lighting and signage for the commercial elements hidden behind the projection of the townhouses. 
  • The Panel appreciates the widening of the sidewalks to support better growing conditions for street trees.

Building K

  • The Panel has a great deal of support for how the design of Building K has evolved. It is a beautiful building and a striking improvement since the last iteration that was before the Panel. 
  • Re-examine the vertical element at the top of the building. Since this building has very strong horizontal elements at the soffit, the Panel suggests removing the vertical element that protrudes above it. The horizontality of the curved building shape is a significant design gesture which should be used at the top. 
  • Re-examine the view from the stadium. Consider emphasizing the curve of the building from this angle to create a more dynamic façade when viewed from the stadium. One approach would be to take one line of bays off of the punched aluminum framing element.
  • Consider using an environmentally-friendly, architectural feature to offset the heat gain on the southwest facing units 
  • The curve of the building has made a significant positive difference to the building. It serves as an exclamation point and pulls together all the elements of the building.
  • The building base is beautifully done. The base is well integrated with the pedestrian access to the Lansdowne site. It is a very human-scaled, intriguing entry point to the site. 
  • The Panel appreciates the extra floor added to the podium. The curve of the building also helps the proportion of the base in relation to the tower. The design of the base component is very important to how the Bank Street frontage should evolve.
  • The applicant has now successfully integrated the roadway (that goes behind the stadium) with the park. There is an inviting pedestrian environment that is marked as separate from the rest of the site. 
  • The scale of the building has been nicely integrated. The applicant has done a good job of addressing the Bank Street edge and showing a gentle rise up to the top of the building.

September 6, 2012

485 Richmond road

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Application
  • Minto Developments; Canderel;
  • CSW Landscape Architecture; Wallman Architects

General Comments

  • The Panel is very supportive of the proposal and commends the applicant on providing an interesting solution to a constrained site.
  • The Panel appreciates the changes that the applicant has made in response to the first UDRP session, and finds that the changes have improved the building. In particular, the efforts made to relocate the lobby, to animate the north elevation and to separate the pedestrian entrance from the loading/servicing area are all successful.

Podium

  • Create a lighting strategy that would aid in creating a warm glow from the lights inside the parking garage, making the building look like the rendering proposed. There is a danger that the florescent light proposed inside the parking garage will appear harsh from the outside of the building.
  • Consider doubling the height of the lobby to accentuate its street presence. This double height does not have to have much depth to make a great impact on how the building is viewed from the outside. Currently the glazing on the lobby appears a bit pinched and if a double height was provided it would appear much better.
  • Consider increasing the animation on the north elevation to include the 5th floor as well.
  • The fin cladding on the podium is clever and contemporary; however, it appears to be in conflict with the aesthetics of the tower and the adjacent contemporary Georgian architecture (the Amica building). Consider how to resolve this clash of visions and create a more symbiotic relationship.
  • Ensure that the podium has a soft relationship to its surroundings year-round. From the parkway, the podium will only be seen in glimpses and can create a subtle atmospheric lantern affect on this side. On the more exposed sides that face pedestrians, it is important to create an even softer appearance. One approach is to incorporate a vertical green wall or facilitate vine-growth. Vine structures look good off-season and can soften the ‘corten’ finish effect next to the park.

Tower

  • Consider returning to the first, more sculptural iteration of the orientation of the tower (presented at the pre-consultation); this iteration had a prow that was more concave and an orientation that faced the river. The benefits of that shape include a better orientation and a more elegant, subtle profile.
  • Consider how the tower will look at night. Since this will be a conspicuous tower, as seen from the parkway, use aesthetic gestures to create a landmark condition to heighten its architectural presence.

Townhouses

  • Ensure that the townhouses front onto the public space and are not just backyards that face the park.
  • The townhouses should have a dignified address, placed under the podium.
  • Consider how to buffer any issues with noise pollution between the parking level and the townhouses below.
  • Explore adding gates at the entrances into the townhouses patios to emphasize their front door relationship to the park.
  • Ensure that the townhouses are given adequate privacy while maintaining a safe condition. Since they are isolated, ensure there are measures in place to make them feel safe and secure.

Lansdowne park building I

  • Formal Review
  • Air Rights for a Commercial Office Building
  • Minto Developments; City of Ottawa

*Robert Webster and Robert Martin declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this specific application

  • The Panel appreciates the complexity of the site and is generally supportive of the design direction, although further refinements (outlined below) are encouraged.
  • Further refine the mechanical penthouse to make it have a more understated presence. Consider how the roof will be viewed from the bridge and the stadium.
  • Using limestone and brick at the base along Bank Street is effective.
  • Refine the randomly placed fins to capture a more dynamic or festival-feel for the precinct. Manipulate the fins to emphasise the entrance to the office building. Consider using LED lights within the fins. These lights should be designed so as to not interfere with the office space inside but animate the street at night with lights. In the day, the fins should work to create a more emphatic and coherent expression of the building.
  • Explore the articulation and length of the glass box, inserted behind the base, further.
  • The Panel supports the asymmetrical nature of the building and encourage an even more asymmetrical design. Push the main entrance to the office further south such that the building appears to be broken up into one-third and two-thirds. This will further emphasize the entrance to the office component,
  • Explore introducing a vertical line at the entrance to the office component that extends to the top of the building. The line could be highlighted with an interesting colour treatment and serve to emphasize the entrance.
  • The portal on the Aberdeen Way is successful. Examine the south portal. Consider projecting the second floor brick projection out more. The mullions can help break up the glass.
  • Consider ways to make the building look equally dynamic in the day as it is at night. Potentially spandrel glass could be used to provide a contrast to the vision glass so as to prevent a monochromatic appearance.
  • Introduce colour on the vertical mullions.
  • Explore ways to make the laneway condition behind the building more interesting at a pedestrian level. This back laneway will be used a lot due to its proximity to the stadium, and therefore, should be more dynamic.
  • Offer more variety in appearance to the masonry façade on the south of the building. This facade needs more shadow variations to enliven it. This variation could carry through on the east facade.
  • Consider varying the depth of glass on the podium in relation to the tower element to create more visual interest.

1230-1232 Merivale road (Central Park)

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Control Application
  • Ashcroft Developments; BBB Architects; Fotenn Consultants

General Comments

  • The Panel has serious concerns with the resolution of the overall concept, the level of landscape detail, and the building resolution submitted. In addition, the Panel has concern with how the phasing of the application will maintain the overall concept.

Design Direction

  • The Panel requests clarification on how this project will be phased going forward with Site Plan Approval. The comments provided below specifically address the central portion of the proposal because this has the most detail; the entire site is too conceptual at this point to provide clear design direction. The Panel requests that the subsequent blocks come back to the Panel.
  • For Formal Reviews the applicant is expected to provide a full landscape plan and detailed elevations at a 1:50 scale. These are lacking in this package. Without the appropriate amount of substance, the Panel does not have assurances that the entire site will be designed appropriately. Therefore, the Panel is uncomfortable giving support for this Site Plan approval at this stage.
  • Focus attention on how to contribute to the community. Currently, the scheme is self-referential and internally focused.
  • City staff should require that tenant selection be provided at this stage in the process.
  • The Panel appreciates the clear and concise presentation. The development has improved since pre-consultation. The Panel commends the applicant on the following:
    • Successfully addressing the internal road with more pedestrian-focused architecture.
    • Improving the alignment of the development to the city grid.
    • Providing the triangular spaces that show a variety of outdoor uses.
    • Reducing parking and changing the paving to reduce the amount of asphalt.

Merivale Road Street Animation

  • This scheme provides an improvement to the current state of this area of Ottawa. Providing an internal drive is a good solution given its location next to Merivale Road, which is busy and unfriendly to pedestrians. However, Merivale Road cannot be ignored; while the applicant may have the best intentions to create active patios and the like, market realities and the tenants will ultimately make those decisions. Rather than sell imaginative narratives, the applicant must secure a design that will animate Merivale road through the Site Plan process.
  • Explore how to reduce parking visibility from Merivale Road. The Panel has serious concerns with the parking areas facing the arterial mainstreet. The applicant should refer to the City of Ottawa’s Urban Design Guidelines for Development along Arterial Mainstreets to aid in creating a strong street edge that is animated along Merivale Road. Despite the efforts the applicant made to address Merivale Road, with the forecourt, there is still a significant amount of car visibility. It is important that the Merivale street edge is not seen as the back of this development. The most radical way to address the Merivale street edge is to move the mid-section of the plan such that the building is on the street edge and the parking is behind. Alternatively, the applicant must use attractive and appropriate screening for the parking.
  • Provide a solution to the issue of ground-level animation along Merivale Road. Providing upper floor animation with residential units is positive; however, the ground floor must also be addressed.
  • Explore ways to make the site more porous as seen from Merivale Road.
  • Ensure that a traffic study is done and proper safety measures are put in place to organize traffic moving between Merivale Road and Central Park Drive.

October 4, 2012

222 Beechwood Avenue

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Control Application
  • Domicile; Fotenn Consulting; Roderick Lahey Architect Inc.

*Robert Webster declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this specific application

General Comments

  • The Panel supports the direction that the project has taken and commends the applicant on improvements to the scheme. The Panel encourages the applicant to: provide a better transition between the proposed development and the neighbouring two storey buildings, align the building facade to run parallel to Beechwood Avenue, and provide an improved landscape plan.

Context

  • Provide a better transition to the adjacent residential buildings. It is beneficial to the project that the applicant has acquired the two properties to the east of the site to allow for transition to the neighbouring property. However, the applicant has not yet satisfactorily addressed the abrupt interface between the proposed 11 storey building scale along Joliette and Marquette and the existing houses. Consider creating a 45 degree angled transition line to the adjacent lower scale development or redeveloping the purchased sites to provide a better transition.

Courtyard and Landscape Treatment

  • Create a more sophisticated landscape plan for the courtyard and consider expanding the courtyard area. There is more building mass surrounding the courtyard which makes the public space appear less significant.
  • Design the courtyard to identify the area as publically accessible rather than private space. The location of the planters that restrict access from Beechwood to the courtyard should therefore be reconsidered.  The present planters tend to privatize the space and restrict access for the active frontages. Remove design elements that create a separation between the public realm and the courtyard. The location of the planters that are in the front of the courtyard should be reconsidered.
  • Consider using art or a water element to add some interest to the space. This area should serve as a public space.
  • Consider more closely planted trees to create a strongly treed environment along Beechwood to be more in keeping with its present character.

Streetscapes

  • The Panel commends the applicant on successful improvements to the design of the Joliette streetscape / facades.
  • Review the building façade that faces the parkette/courtyard. This side of the building and the curtain wall behind it has an office/commercial aesthetic. It should be revisited and redesigned to more successfully address the character and scale of the surrounding residential neighbourhood, similar to the Joliette side of the building.
  • Explore the alignment of the building vis a vis Beechwood. Consider how to frame the street with the built form and how to adjust the design to the curve of the street. The Panel encourages the applicant to align the facade with the street and to wrap the 4 storey scale around the taller building.
  • Revisit the design at the corner of the building on Marquette.  Consider what makes the Joliette treatment more successful and use a similar treatment on Marquette. For example, consider a 4 to 5 storey podium along Marquette and around the project to help reduce the building scale and provide a stronger base.
  • Try to achieve a finer grained building fabric along the Beechwood streetscape.  Introduce more verticality through more attention being paid to storefront and entrance design.  

November 1, 2012

No formal reviews came before the Urban Design Review Panel on November 1, 2012.

December 6, 2012

1000 WELLINGTON STREET

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Control Application
  • Architect: Christopher Simmonds

General Comments

  • The Panel strongly supports this edgy and handsome project situated on a challenging site. Generally, the Panel supports the material choices on the overall building, has little concern with the handling of the corner and acknowledges and agrees with the applicant’s rationale for the tight setback on the south side of the site; however, the Panel encourages the applicant to further explore the durability of the material on the base of the building, how signage will be coordinated and designed, and the overall use of the landscape elements on the site.
  • The Panel appreciates the thoroughness of the document, the rationalization for the design moves taken, and the applicant’s responsiveness to the comments made at the UDRP pre-consultation stage.
  • The Panel commends the applicant for aiming to achieve a LEED Platinum designation for a 6-storey building.
  • The Panel appreciates the modest scale of the project.
  • It is disappointing that the technical hydro requirements did not allow for a more prominent public frontage. If it is possible, the Panel recommends that the applicant consider reversing the height of the podiums on the two frontages, such that the two-storey podium is along the residential street, stepping up to a three-storey element on Wellington Street.

Materiality

  • The Panel generally supports the palette of materials chosen on this proposal.
  • Consider the winter conditions when making the final decision on the material used at the base of the building. The base material must be durable enough to withstand the climate and ice-melting salt in the winter.
  • Consider providing a transitional design element or an intermediary material at the base of the building so that inexpensive repairs or replacement can occur without damaging the overall building façade should damage occur. Sidewalk maintenance by the City (i.e. snow removal and the application of road salt) will be harsh on the monolithic nature of the proposed concrete detailing at the base of the building.
  • Consider selecting an exterior material that is inspired by the use of red brick commonly found in the neighbourhood. The use of red brick is currently not being addressed in the project, with the exception of the warm-coloured panels used as an accent to the building’s façade.
  • Explore additional horizontal joints above the windows; the façade is currently dominated by vertical elements.

Living Walls & Landscape Treatment

  • Explore the best location for greening at the base. There must be appropriate soil volumes provided in order for trees to survive.
  • Reconsider the planting on the north-side of the building. It is unlikely for vegetation to survive in such conditions with little light.
  • Provide adequate space for sufficient soil volume for living walls. If such space is not available, reconsider the use of living walls because they may not survive and will be difficult to maintain.
  • Consider growing a vine on the blank wall on the west elevation.
  • Provide a taller species of trees along the southern boundary at the rear of the site to reduce overlook and enhance the privacy of the adjacent neighbours.

Signage

  • Ensure that future tenants along the ground floor plain along Wellington Street are provided a lighting and signage guideline package that prescribes a consistent and strong identity for the building along the street. There is concern that there are not a lot of places available for elegant signage. The Panel encourages the applicant to put in place controls about how and where signs can get mounted.

South-side Setback

  • Ensure that adequate space to the access points is provided along the south side. The 2.5 m separation distance will only be problematic if it precludes future development by blocking these access points. The transition and proximity to the existing house at the back is not ideal but acceptable given the complexity of the project.

250 MONTREAL ROAD

  • Formal Review
  • Site Plan Control Application (Amendment: Parking Structure)
  • Broccolini Construction; Richard Chmiel Architect and Associates; Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens

*Dorota Grudniewicz declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this specific application

General Comments

  • The Panel strongly recommends that the applicant focus on creating a stronger public realm. The initial schemes held great promise, ambition, and clarity of intent. However, since the pre-consultation, the public realm has been eroded through changes to building massing, elevation, and the challenges associated with the addition of a parking garage.
  • In future submissions, please present a consistent drawing package that clearly indicates the updated design proposal, and the changes that have occurred. The submission package did not clearly articulate which of the many options/revisions the applicant was currently proposing.
  • Ensure the proposed retail spaces are large and deep enough to be viable.
  • The Panel appreciates some of the changes that the architect has made since the last meeting and commends the applicant on endeavouring to achieve a LEED Silver designation.

Public Realm/Plaza

  • Provide the City with a full landscape plan and a definitive study that indicates access and intended use of the public space.
  • Avoid infrastructure or landscape features that narrow the plaza and make it less accessible and flexible for public use, community events, etc.
    • Remove or relocate the proposed fence adjacent to the west edge of the office building to allow for tenants to have easy access to a larger urban space, which spills out onto Dupuis Street. Retail or restaurant uses could use this additional space along Dupuis Street to attract patrons and offer a transitional space.
    • Remove, minimize, or relocate the planters that now separate a potential patio for a café from the larger plaza. People will be more inclined to frequent the retail/café space when there are no barriers.
  • Clearly define the area and encourage people to come down Dupuis Street and into the site.
  • Try to maximize the plaza space to the greatest extent possible and encourage the space to be used for many different purposes such as a market place or entertainment area. At the eastern edge of the plaza, allow the possibility for a stage or an area for a backdrop to hold live presentations or to project outdoor films. Take note of the fact that some of the best spaces in cities across the world have an aspect of accidental urban theatre, which has a variety of applications. If the design of this space is explored further, it has such innovative multi-purpose potential.
  • Consider removing the ledge along the barrier-free ramp and instead integrate the barrier-free ramp with the walking area, possibly through informal seating. Make the ramp less of a hard edge.
  • Consider replacing the steps off of Dupuis Street with a subtle barrier-free grade change to maximize plaza’s connectivity with Dupuis Street.
  • Relocate east or west the proposed centrally located entry door to the office building and parking garage to avoid the plaza appearing as simply a wide pedestrian corridor from Dupuis Street.

Retail/Uses Component

  • Ensure that the retail component of the parking garage is viable. If the retail is not successful it will be extremely detrimental to the animation of the street and area. The proposed dimensions make the viability of retail at this location questionable. The Panel encourages the applicant to increase the depth of these spaces (through a minor variance for the 3 m by-law); and if not, then be creative by designing attractive small spaces for tenants that will bring life to the street.
  • Create greater porosity at street level so that the street is friendly to someone walking late at night or is an attractive retail destination during the day.
  • Clearly think through and articulate the strategy to be used at the corner of Begin Street and Levis Street. Consider providing a successful programmatic and visual interface between the site and the schools adjacent to the site. Consider attracting a daycare facility or child-related use at the corner and consider connecting with the small green space for their use. The Panel is very supportive and pleased that the applicant has had discussions with a daycare tenant at the corner location.

Overall Parking Garage Layout/Entrances

  • The Panel commends the applicant on moving the parking garage entrance from its original location. The parking garage entrance is stronger on Begin Street than it was on Levis Avenue and will be less likely to interfere with school-related transportation.
  • If possible, combine the parking garage entrance with the loading bay entrance. Currently, the loading space creates an unnecessary gap in the street wall and the garage entry requires a second curb cut. If this is not possible, move the parking garage entrance farther away from Levis Avenue and closer to the loading bay entrance. This could allow for a longer retail section along Levis Avenue that would also help animate the corner of the site.