1900 BOULEVARD ST. JOSEPH | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Montfort Renaissance Inc.; Bernard Benoit Project Management Inc.; J.L. Richards & Assoc. Ltd.; James B. Lennox & Assoc. Inc.
- The Panel thanks the proponent for their presentation and for responding to the comments from the pre-consultation. The project has evolved quite nicely, and the building has been elegantly designed.
- The Panel is pleased with changes to the architecture, and will focus its comments to landscaping and site plan recommendations.
Landscape and Site Plan
- The angled entrance to the building is good, but the Panel recommends continuing to refine the design of the plaza. Explore ways of animating the space, by incorporating additional seating, or possibly by establishing a relationship with the dining area.
- The Panel recommends eliminating the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the entrance to improve the relationship between the plaza and the public realm.
- Reconsider the strip of sod along the front façade of the building. If street trees are not possible, then a screening or flowering plant may be more appropriate in this location.
- The Panel understands that there are certain restrictions on the proximity that trees can be to the building, however, urges the proponent to re-examine the possibility of locating a small tree on the east side of the parking entrance (where Karl Foerster grass is proposed).
- The west end of the property is evolving into an important entrance to the urban area. Investigate possibilities to enhance this corner of the site:
- Consider how the snow dump area may be programmed during summer months.
- Additional landscaping around the edges of the snow dump area may help to improve the relationship between the site and the intersection.
- Ornamental grasses likely will be insufficient in screening the parking lot at this corner. Consider a using a wooden trellis that picks up on the wood accents in the building.
- The green retaining wall is a strong addition to the proposal, however, the Panel expressed some concern regarding how it will fare in winter months. Consider integrating evergreen plants into it.
- The Panel has some concern with the location of the garbage bins. Currently, it will be terminating the view from the entrance to the parking lot. Consider shifting it slightly away from the entrance. Alternately, given the topography of the site, there may be opportunities to integrate the bins into the slope using a retaining wall.
245 RIDEAU STREET | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Claridge Homes; Neuf Architects; James B. Lennox & Assoc. Inc.; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- Given the scale of this project, the importance of the site, and the proximity to the ByWard Market Heritage District, the Panel believes that this project would benefit from additional design review by a subcommittee of the UDRP.
The slab typology is problematic and a significant departure from the previous scheme. Shadow impacts (especially on Cumberland and George Streets), wind impacts, and the interface between this project and future development on the LCBO site are serious concerns.
- Much effort has gone into differentiating the buildings through materiality, but the Panel urges the proponent to also explore possibilities of breaking up the towers by shifting and sculpting the massing.
- Consider shifting the extended-stay tower to the east, so that it becomes its own building and redesigning the student residence building as a point tower, rather than a slab. The point tower could sit on a section of elevated podium to make up for the loss in GFA.
- If it is not possible to break up the massing into three towers, there may be opportunities for smaller shifts to help sculpt the massing. The notch cut out of the extended-stay hotel building is an interesting architectural feature. Consider developing more of these interlocking gaps as a theme throughout the project to give it more visual variety.
- Outdoor spaces and entrances should also contribute to the erosion of the podium's mass. The recessed corners in the base of the building should be removed in favour of a consolidated publicly accessible open space on Rideau Street that acts as a sun pocket and seating area.
- There was a strong clarity in the previous scheme that is no longer present in the current proposal. The Panel recommends developing a design rationale for the design of the towers.
- The Panel recommends simplifying the pallet of material of the towers and avoiding having the materials jump between towers. The towers should be expressed as standalone elements.
- Consider a simple brick vocabulary for the extended-stay building.
- Explore opportunities to have the building materials better relate to the historic character of the ByWard Market district.
- The transparency of the glazing and noble materials proposed at the base of the building will be critical to making a positive contribution to the public realm. The proponent is urged to maintain these features in the design.
- The Panel is supportive of the scale of the podium, which mimics historic building heights along Rideau Street. The proponent should continue to build on this relationship by introducing a rhythm along the long Rideau façade that ties back to the historic buildings.
- The podium is currently quite massive and few entrances make it a difficult pedestrian condition. The Panel strongly recommends that the proposal make a stronger gesture to the public realm by providing a privately-owned, publicly-accessible open space at grade along Rideau Street. The rooftop amenity is quite nice, but makes no contribution to the public realm.
- The nature of how this open space functions will be important. A hard-surfaced, well landscaped piazza space would be most appropriate. It should also be animated with active uses, such as an outdoor café related to the grocery store within.
- The Panel supports the proposal to remove the traffic lane along Cumberland Street in exchange for a widened public realm.