1047 Canadian Shield Avenue, Building C
- Formal Review
- Site Plan Control Application
- Alcaide Webster Architects; Lepin; Novatech Engineering Consultants Ltd.
- The Panel does not support the current scheme proposal because:
- The corner of Canadian Shield Avenue and Great Lakes Avenue is not yet being addressed properly, architecturally or through the landscape treatment
- The iteration of the base, middle, and top of the building is confusing; and
- The building inadequately addresses Great Lakes Avenue and Building G.
- The Panel thanks the applicant for the itemized response to the Panel’s recommendations at the pre-consultation meeting; however, the Panel is also disappointed by the applicant’s lack of adequate design response to the Panel’s recommendations.
- The Panel requests that the applicant return for a second Formal Review. At a second Formal Review, the applicant is expected to address the Panel’s recommendations by resolving the building design issues and responding to the landscape treatment recommendations.
Site Layout and Corner Treatment
- Move Building C closer to the corner of Canadian Shield Avenue and Great Lakes Avenue, and realign the end of the building so that it is parallel to Great Lakes. This will create a stronger street edge, a stronger corner presence, and a more active streetscape.
- Relocate the proposed landscaped area toward the interior courtyard area and its connection to Great Lakes. The proposed landscaped area is a nice design however its character belongs to the semi private interior area rather than the corner of the two municipal streets.
- Improve the relationship between Building C and Building G by separating the buildings more than the minimal 12m proposed. Currently there is inadequate distance between the two buildings and little public realm contributions. Currently, the windows facing each respective building will look directly onto each other, reducing the tenants’ privacy.
- Expose and design the corners of both Buildings C and G in a more prominent way.
- The Panel appreciates that the applicant has followed the recommendation to make the front of Building G parallel to Great Lakes Avenue; this move is positive and will significantly improve the streetscape. However, the Panel further recommends that the entire building be made parallel to Great Lakes Avenue, rather than just adjusting the west façade.
- The applicant should consider animating the corner by creating a public amenity within the corner of the proposed building that is clearly visible from both streets, such as a shop/cafe, or gym. Greater visibility and more activity at the corner will help draw people into the space and feel comfortable there. Furthermore, it will offer a connection into the interior landscaped open space. The current blank walls with undefined fenestration do not adequately address the intersection of the two main streets and creates an uninviting space.
- The applicant should be clear about the design intensions of the small courtyard at the corner and level the space to be the same grade as the sidewalk. There is currently spatial and ownership ambiguity. The sunken space will read as a private space and will not be universally accessible. If steps are provided, also provide a ramp for those who cannot use the stairs. The change in grade and lack of public use in the building will make it difficult for both the public and for private residents to be comfortable and easily use the space.
- Clarify the design of the base, middle, and top of the building as distinct parts. The Panel recognizes that it is challenging to create meaningful variation between each of the buildings in this development; however, the attempt in the newest iteration of Building C to make it different through the architectural gestures on the façade only serves to confuse what should be distinct elements in the building (base, middle, top).These present gestures appear arbitrary and are not significant enough to make the building distinct from the other buildings. One such gesture is the ski-sloped roof, which the Panel does not find successful.
- Provide a more consistent design approach to all facades of the building. The shift from a neoclassical approach to more contemporary idioms, like the change in balcony treatment, reads poorly.
- The Panel encourages the applicant to provide the architect with enough flexibility to consider how each block could respond to the unique opportunities of this site. Take advantage of the key corners, especially the “flat-iron” angle at Canadian Shield and Great Lakes.
- Create a more porous, accessible and visible ground level to the building. Each revision to the scheme should further fortify the ground level; otherwise this will create social issues. The Panel recommends that the City step in and ensure this is addressed.
- Create grade-accessible, front door access to the units along Canadian Shield to keep eyes-on-the-street.
Interior Courtyard Landscape Treatment
- Provide a comprehensive landscape plan for the entire site and more detail on the central interior courtyard. The Panel has not yet received a landscape plan for this main courtyard area. The interior landscape treatment has not changed in response to Panel’s earlier recommendations.
- Study the desire lines and where people will naturally walk across the interior courtyard. People will take the shortest distance to get from A to B, and the current pathway design does not properly accommodate this.
- Provide assurances to the City and the Panel that the proposed trees along the pathways will in fact be planted and survive. There is a concern that other factors, such as the development of the underground garage structure, will prevent adequate tree growth.
199 Slater Street
- Formal Review
- Site Plan Control Application
- Richard Chmiel Architect & Associates; Broccolini Construction; Fotenn Planning & Urban Design
*Dorota Grudniewicz declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this specific application
- The Panel supports the new design approach and finds the building beautiful.
- The Panel appreciates the applicant’s response to the earlier Panel recommendations.
- The Panel encourages the applicant to submit 1:50 scale elevations of the ground floor to the City, which illustrate the proposed materiality. Also, provide the City with information about how the building’s soffits will be clad.
Above-Grade Parking Garage
- The Panel does not support the above ground parking as a concept. However, given the site constraints and mix of uses and the elegantly gridded building design, the Panel considers this an acceptable exception. The Panel acknowledges that raising the parking garage to the 3rd and 4th floors is also an improvement to the façade.
- The Panel offers the following varied options to improve the façade of the above-grade parking which, in the drawings presented, continues to be visible from the street, especially at night:
- Explore opportunities to add depth to the parking garage’s front plane, to create a more animated façade facing Slater St.
- Consider treating the façade of the above-grade parking garage as an art piece. The exterior of the building could offer an art showcase. A backlit screen could be used to further animate public art, or a specialized exterior lighting could be provided that could be activated on an ongoing or temporary basis.
- At night, consider lighting the garage with a lantern design that produces ‘art walls’.
- Consider using a screen of metal mesh, possibly gridded to be compatible with the building’s design, to help conceal the parking from the street.
- Investigate indirect lighting to illuminate the parking garage’s screen from street level. The effect of the parking on the building at night and any interior lighting is a concern. Avoid the fluorescent glow from interior lighting which makes parked cars visible.
Floor Layout and Surrounding Context
- Investigate the significant overlook and adjacency issues that result from the zero lot line condition to the west. How the units are laid out and their orientation will be integral to the quality of life of the people inside the hotel and the condo units.
- Consider combining Unit B2 with Unit C5 to allow for Unit B2 to face in two directions. Currently, Unit B2 faces only west, and there is concern about the long-term possibility of a negative impact to adjoining tenants’ quality of life if the Telus site is redeveloped into similar higher density development.
- Explore providing more sustainability features and shading devices that would work well with the grid pattern of the façade design.
- Consider ways to deal with the effects of the building’s north/south orientation. The southern sun exposure will create significant heat gain issues and require measures to ameliorate this.
Ground Floor Use and Landscape
- Consider relocating the planters, which are currently proposed in the narrow arcade between the columns, to inside the building. Slater Street suffers from a mean, narrow public realm and the planters further restrict the area unnecessarily.
- Reconsider the decision to no longer offer retail on the ground floor. There will be a loss of animation with the loss of retail.
- Consider designing a series of glass doors for the restaurant that can open up onto the street, to help engage people passing by.