January 6, 2011
395 Terminal Avenue Formal Review
The Panel is surprised and disappointed that every comment made during the pre-consultation review was disregarded by the applicant. In the future, the Panel hopes that recommendations are not disregarded in such a confrontational manner.
Relation to the Public Realm
- The Panel notes that this building does not have the ingredients to contribute to a pedestrian friendly environment and will likely encourage car movement as a result.
- The Panel questioned whether Terminal Avenue could become an “urban” and pedestrian-friendly street if buildings like this were replicated as the area develops.
- The Panel recommends that the building be pushed back from Terminal Avenue so that, rather than only the three isolated trees proposed, a continuous row of trees along the street can be planted and, given adequate growing space, encourage a tree lined avenue consistent with the approved Master Plan drawings.
- The Panel stressed the need for a more friendly and variable ground plane. The Panel noted that there does not necessarily have to be retail at grade but there is a need to create opportunities for something different and more interesting
- The Panel noted that prior comments regarding industrial heritage were intended to inspire the applicant to create a sense of place and to use this heritage as a catalyst to respond to existing opportunities on the site.
- As this building is highly visible and sets a precedent for future development; the applicant has a responsibility and opportunity to set the tone for future development. However, the Panel noted that the proposal will set an unfortunate precedent in this significant location, and added that the proposal does not respond to the Master Plan for the area. Given this, the Panel recommends that the back of the building, which will be very visible from the Ottawa Train Station and its entry approach road, be filtered from views through the planting of a screen of coniferous trees at the back of the site.
- The Panel also recommends that the colonnade across only part of the front of the building be continued as a consistent base to the building to act as an interface between the building and the street. This might also help the building to better terminate the axis of the future, very formal pedestrian plaza proposed by the Master Plan immediately south of the site.
- The Panel would like to see what sustainable features have been incorporated into the project; the applicant is requested to indicate what points of LEED certification are being incorporated.
- The Panel notes the opportunity for more progressive thinking and more environmentally responsive site treatments. The amount of on-site asphalt needs to be reduced and on-site rain water capture and treatment should be pursued. Bio-swales and bio-filters should be examined.
- The Panel also notes the need to green the parking lot by planting trees with adequate growing space.
- The Panel noted that arguments about carbon footprint with regard to underground and surface parking need to be substantiated with numbers.
- The Panel commends the applicant for aiming for LEED gold; however, notes that LEED extends beyond the building envelope and encourages the applicant to think of the green opportunities related to the entire site.
- The Panel noted that there are simple changes that would improve the landscape without affecting the square footage of the building; such changes should be pursued as they can make a significant qualitative contribution to the site.
- The Panel noted that the transformers stick out beyond the face of the building and recommends that these be properly screened from view.
- The Panel recommends that the applicant re-examine the site plan in order to improve the site landscaping.
- The comments made during the pre-consultation review, in particular with regards to parking and landscaping, should be addressed. The zoning for the site is flexible enough to address the prior recommendations.
Lansdowne Park Information Session and Public Pre-consultation
- Robert Webster declared a conflict of interest and withdrew from the Panel session.
- Robert Martin explained his relationship to this project. Through discussion with the Panel, it was agreed that he has no direct conflict of interest unless zoning discussions are brought before the Panel. In a situation where zoning is discussed, Robert Martin will not contribute.
A number of PowerPoint presentations were made in order to explain the project context, stadium design, urban park design and mixed-use centre design to the Panel.
- The Panel appreciates the presentations and has found them to be very helpful in understanding the large volume of material that was provided.
- The Panel stated that to provide recommendations, several more pieces of information are required. This information needs to be much more precise than the notional information presented at this first review. In addition, the Panel will require sufficient time to review and understand the material, given the amount of work previously undertaken for the different aspects of the site and the number of key recommendations made for how the designs, and particularly the public realm, should progress.
For the next meeting with the Panel, the Lansdowne team is requested to provide:
- A diagram of the zoning envelope of the site as per the Council approved zoning
- A diagram that clearly shows the vehicular circulation routes on site, the location of above grade parking, and the footprint of below grade parking. As well the panel wanted to better understand the access points to and from the site in relation to site traffic circulation, as well as their function (primary, service etc.) Considering number of seats at the stadium traffic circulation is an important issue that should be resolved at the beginning of the planning process.
- Information on on-site traffic calming; the Panel notes that there appears to be a contradiction between statements in the design documents and circulation routes shown on drawings
- Plans and cross sections through all of the public and semi-public spaces of the mixed use area – streets, courtyards, mews, plazas etc. Cross sections should also show the spaces in relation to the surrounding buildings on site - in particular the inner retail pavilions - and on Holmwood Avenue. The Panel notes that the different spaces should have different characters; the plans and cross sections, or other drawings, should clearly explain what is being proposed.
- Sun / shadow studies that explain how the spaces will feel, at the pedestrian level, at different times of year
- Axonometric drawings
- Grading information; in particular, information that explains the relationship of the Aberdeen Pavilion to Bank Street
- The PFS document on public realm standards; this will direct the development of the public streets and spaces and should form part of the Panel’s review.
- A plan that integrates the work of the two landscape architecture consultants for the mixed use and park areas of the site
- More design development of the public realm; the Panel is concerned that the information provided to date is not tangible, and that the planting presently indicated along the streets and public spaces sometimes appears discontinuous and fragmented. This should include information that clearly explains the different detailed aspects of the public realm such as lighting, planters, surface treatments and level differences, street furniture etc.
- Drawings and diagrams which detail the relationship to the surrounding community. These should include drawings that show distant views and relationship to the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Panel would specifically like to see the site’s relationship to Bank Street and Holmwood Avenue.
February 3, 2011
No formal reviews came before the Urban Design Review Panel on February 3, 2011.
March 3, 2011
340 McLeod Street | Formal Review
Robert Martin declared a conflict of interest, as he was hired to work on a heritage report for this development; however, Robert Martin, the Panel and the applicant agreed that this conflict would not cloud his judgment and that he could still continue to participate in the recommendation period.
- The Panel thanks the applicant for responding comprehensively to the comments given at the pre-consultation meeting. Furthermore, the Panel appreciates that the applicant is dealing head on with the issue of providing residential units at grade in Ottawa. They feel this sets a good precedent.
- The Panel appreciates the resolution at the top of the building (the “lantern” portion) and the detailing of the lower units.
- The Panel notes that this is a good example of how density can be brought into the City at a scale that is compatible with and sympathetic to the neighbourhood.
- The Panel supports the common amenity terrace area at the back that will be shared by other property owners.
- The Panel reminds the applicant that Ottawa’s climate is harsher than Toronto’s and therefore, detailing of the rear terraces needs to consider climatic conditions.
- The Panel expressed concern that the wire within the living wall, which faces south, may burn the plants because it will get hot from the sun. Traditionally, supports for plants are wooden and do not get that hot. If the applicant would prefer the metal aesthetic, perhaps they could consider covering the wire with plastic to keep the plants alive for longer or consider using a hardy species of plant.
- The Panel gives congratulations to the innovative way that the applicant has developed the front terraces, in such a way that there is both privacy and public benefit.
- The Panel is concerned about the aesthetics of the timber fences along McLeod Street and suggests that the applicant look into using woods other than Cedar for this feature. Alternate woods will make long term maintenance much easier.
- The Panel asks whether the privacy screens between the terraces could be shortened from 3m to 2m or 2 ½ m so that they are less obtrusive.
- The Panel appreciates that the applicant is trying to breakdown the rhythm of the streetscape with a covered portal on the corner.
- The Panel notes the opportunities for uses such as a daycare, gallery or shops to occupy the ground floor of the MacLeod Street frontage over time.
224 Lyon Street | Formal Review
- The Panel thanks the applicant for responding comprehensively to the comments given at the pre-consultation meeting and for a clear presentation.
- The Panel congratulates the applicant on addressing sustainability issues.
Built Form and Streetscape
- The Panel thinks the applicant did a good job rationalizing and describing the 4 storey volume along Lyon Street, which also appears consistent in scale with existing development immediately across the street.
- The new fenestration pattern on the Lyon Street elevations works well and adds horizontality to the narrow facades. Increasing the clear-storey windows from two feet to three feet helps break up the façade.
- The Panel appreciates the applicant’s thoughtful response to improving the Gloucester Street townhouses, which were originally a concern.
- The Panel suggests the proponent consider a 4 storey datum line that wraps around onto Gloucester Street from Lyon Street.
- The Panel appreciates the quiet foil to the heritage buildings, illustrated through the respectful treatment of the existing datum line.
- The Panel supports the applicant’s conversion of the units on the Lyon Street podium to single units per floor.
- The Panel emphasizes the vital importance of the street trees proposed. It is critical that the applicant follow through with the planting of these trees. The Panel notes that the responsibility of the City’s technical services to ensure that the planting can occur and that there is adequate soil volume for the trees.
- In response to the issue of the sewer line being close to the surface (where the trees are intended to be planted), the Panel suggests possibly creating raised beds in order to increase the soil volume for the trees. This would also avoid the issue of the roots wrapping around the sewer pipes below. Another suggestion is to provide a water source closer to the surface, so that roots concentrate in the upper eighteen inches of the soil. Furthermore, the applicant can choose a species of tree that requires less soil space for its roots.
- The Panel is generally pleased with how the applicant has employed the materials within the site; the Panel particularly appreciates the use of brick.
- The Panel feels the use of vertical wood frames on the Gloucester Street side successfully provides an identity to the units.
- Some Panellists have slight reservations about how dark the materials are, due to the climate in Ottawa, but note that the contrast with the extensive glazing and other materials should alleviate this concern.
April 7, 2011
260 MacLaren | Formal Review
*Note: These recommendations will be forwarded onto Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee (OBHAC) for their review.
- The Panel recognizes that this is a challenging site in a sensitive area.
- Given the significance of the necessary changes, the Panel welcomes the applicant to return to the Panel for a second Formal Review. If the applicant does this, the Panel would like to see ground floor and typical floor plans, as well as a sound investigation of the design in relation to the entire street. Currently the proposal appears too self referential, rather than responsive to the scale and qualities of neighbouring buildings.
Context and Built Form
- This part of Ottawa’s Centretown is highly significant in the Panel’s view. Despite the simplicity of the Mayfair Apartments, the building is a significant heritage asset and new adjacent development should respect it and retain its prominence.
- The Panel notes that, by calling attention to itself, the proposed building does not address the first point of the Cultural Heritage Impact Statement. Rather than call attention to itself, the proposal should act as a background building. The applicant should aim to create an aesthetic that is reminiscent of the adjacent heritage buildings and focus on the recommendations outlined in the Cultural Heritage Impact Statement.
- The Panel is of the opinion that the design does not acknowledge other buildings along the street. While the Panel does not advocate an imitation of the Mayfair building or Booth House, it suggests that taking cues from these buildings will help the proposal fit into the neighbourhood in a more respectful way.
- The Panel recommends that the proposed form and materials be simplified. The adjacent buildings are detailed with few materials; while the proposal uses too many (stone, stucco, brick, glass, concrete, metal etc.) and is in direct conflict with the urban qualities of both adjacent properties. Therefore, the stone base should be lowered to reference the heritage buildings in the area, the brick should match the surroundings, the balconies’ design should be more delicate (taking cues from other heritage apartments in the area), the banding should reference the height and horizontal elements of the Mayfair, and the garage entrance should be moved away from the much smaller scale Booth House.
- The Panel is of the opinion that the building is too tall and notes that the applicant has not successfully made a case for the proposed height. The Panel believes that the building should not be taller in height than the Mayfair apartments. The penthouse will have to be integrated so that it is not apparent from the street. The Panel encourages the applicant to restructure the building so that it goes up to a height that allows it to step back for the top 2 storeys before reaching the height of the Mayfair.
- The Panel appreciates the effort to cut out part of the mass at the rear of the project to allow light into Mayfair Court, which is positive and respectful. The applicant could also explore the use of reflective surfaces on the west façade as a second way to provide light to the interior courtyard of Mayfair Court.
- The proposed building, as seen from the front, appears to be focused on creating a symmetrical composition. If symmetry is the focus/overarching design principle, all elements should fall in line. An asymmetrical approach to the design of this building may be more appropriate given the very different scales on either side.
Landscape / Setbacks
- The Panel is concerned at the way the proposal projects forward in front of the adjacent buildings, while giving almost nothing back to the public realm. The Panel notes that three trees are a minimal contribution and that the frontage landscape needs to be improved.
412 Sparks | Formal Review
*Note: These recommendations will be forwarded onto Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee (OBHAC) for their review.
- The Panel has appreciated working with the design and applicant team on this project and has found the evolution of this design very rewarding.
- This is one of the most important sites in Ottawa and the most significant site that the Panel has had the opportunity to review up to this point. The extra care and attention the applicant has taken to consider and incorporate the Panel’s recommendations is appreciated.
- The Panel commends the applicant on their presentation and their thoughtful urban design analysis. While the Panel is generally pleased with the direction of the project, there are a number of contextual issues, including elevations and landscaping issues, which require further development.
Landscape and Public Realm
- The Panel would have liked to see more detail about the design and intent for the open spaces and the public realm. The Panel notes that landscaping needs to be examined more closely, including the selection and use of proposed materials and planting.
- The Panel notes the importance of looking at the relationship between the landscape and the larger context. There is some concern that the landscaping strategy is somewhat fragmented, particularly as it relates to a strategy concerning street trees. The Panel stated that if the crabapple trees in front of the Cathedral are retained there should be a clear rationale for this decision. The Sparks Street sidewalk should be lined with large trees (not three small trees) that open up in front of the Cathedral plaza and continue across the front of the commercial plaza, connecting to the grid of trees to the north of the site. Large street trees, such as a number of native maple species, should be planted in front of the townhomes and continue along the block.
- The Panel notes that there should be a hierarchy of outdoor spaces with the forecourt in front of the Cathedral being the most important urban space on site that is supported by all the other urban spaces. The forecourt is an integral component to the success of the project and should be landscaped appropriately. Through landscaping, it can also be linked to the Garden of the Provinces and Territories. The office and commercial tower landscape should be supplementary to this primary space.
- The south side of Queen Street should be examined as the applicant develops the landscape strategy for the site’s facing edge. The street tree treatment of the landscape along the north Queen Street edge should complete and complement the existing landscape on the south side of Queen Street.
- Sensitivity to landscaping details will be important to the success of connecting spaces. For example, the Panel suggested that the design of the narrow sliver of the Philosopher’s Walk could be in some way married to the treatment of the parking ramp (e.g. through lighting or hardscape strategies).
- The Panel suggested the possibility of providing a series of steps up from the Escarpment Park, west of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories to the projecting escarpment wall opposite the Cathedral. The Panel suggested that this be seen as compensation for the greatly increased density on the site and would create valuable linkages both for the site’s residents and future pedestrian movement linking between LeBreton open spaces and Sparks Street itself (as proposed by the City of Ottawa’s Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy).
- The Panel is not satisfied with the landscape treatment to the west side of Roper House. Although a lawn in the past, there could be a more imaginative way of using landscaping to enhance this part of the site. The Panel notes that the Roper House lawn should be considered as part of the park to the north and that a rich landscape solution should be developed that could serve to connect the site to the Garden of the Provinces and Territories. The Panel recommends that the applicant examine possibilities for this landscape as they develop detailed plans of the ground plane.
- A series of visual cues could be developed to help tie this site together with its surroundings. The Panel recognizes that the small spaces are evolving in terms of their responses to their respective adjacent uses; however, it is important to ensure these spaces are linked cohesively and give primacy to the Cathedral forecourt.
Built Form and Materiality
- The Panel is fairly comfortable with the proposed material palette. The Panel encourages the applicant to translate the simplicity of their sketches into the refinement of design and material selection for each building. The Panel also suggests the creation of 1:50 elevations, in particular for the first few floors, to help in the final selection of materials and design refinements.
- The proposed stone base of the office building and residential town houses is moving in the right direction. The sense of the Panel is that above the stone base, the tower buildings should visually disappear into the sky and be relatively simple; the Panel is wary of tall, heavy elements competing with the Cathedral’s prominence.
- As the design of the towers evolves and materials are considered in more detail, the Panel suggests that the use and impact of darker colour choices should be carefully considered, especially when seen above or immediately beside key heritage buildings.
- The Panel is somewhat concerned about the idea of the “set of three” dominant vertical elements and feels that the Cathedral and its spire should be the uniquely dominant element on the site. The Panel would like some assurance that the prominence of the Cathedral and its spire is in fact what the applicant is proposing.
- The Panel would like a better sense of how the selected materials and forms of the buildings will marry themselves together and to the site. The Panel encourages the applicant to explore further simplifying the vocabulary and palette of the two taller buildings.
- The design resolution of the curved element at the top of the residential tower appears to be too dominant and heavy and should undergo some refinement.
- While the project is moving in the right direction and has come a long way from the earlier presentations, the Panel is interested in reviewing further evolutions of the design.
- The Panel invites the applicant back for further review but understands that a development application has been submitted and is conscious of the related time constraints. Given this, a small sub-group of the Panel could be available to the applicant, outside of the normal monthly meeting times, to further review the project.
- In such a situation, the Panel would find the following additional drawings helpful in understanding the proposed development:
- Larger scale elevation details (1:50 scale, coloured elevations of first few floors)
- A series of pedestrian level drawings of the courtyard spaces and streetscape at human scale, including from the south side of Sparks Street. This could perhaps be accomplished using the applicant’s Sketch Up model.
70 Gloucester | Formal Review
- The Panel likes the project overall and is pleased that the applicant has worked with the Panel to resolve some design issues.
- The building design has sophistication, clarity, cleanliness and even a touch of humour that is appreciated.
- The project has improved since the applicant has linked the planning of this development with the one concurrently proposed at 89-91 Nepean. There is now an interesting differentiation between the design of the two facades onto Gloucester and Nepean.
- The Panel notes that the roof garden is shielded from the southern light and asks if the space could be reversed so that the garden is not in the shade.
- The Panel suggests that the applicant detail the live/work units at a larger scale so that the design details are well executed. This will also help the success of other elements such as planting and signage.
- The Panel notes that it will be important to consider how the glass and brick will work together; the project should read as an urban building, not as a sculpture.
- The landscape proposals are not consistent. Additional street trees are shown in the Nepean Street elevation drawings but not on the plan. This should be corrected. The Panel recommends that the trees across the Nepean frontage be increased from three to at least five.
- The Panel suggests that 1:50 façade drawings be provided to staff during review of the site plan. These should show how the building hits the ground and will provide more clarity on material and design details than currently provided by the conceptual drawings.
May 5, 2011
No formal reviews came before the Urban Design Review Panel on May 5, 2011.
June 1 and 2, 2011
LRT – Hurdman Station | Formal Review
- The Panel has strong support for the direction this station is heading. There are a lot of great intentions laid out in these plans.
- The station should develop stronger physical connections to the surrounding areas. One suggestion is to incorporate retail use under the elevated station structure (rather than simply projecting it in front of the station).
- There is a major concern that the future neighbourhood to the north could be an isolated entity with this design. The narrowness of space under the station and the narrowness of the two road bridges tends to emphasize this division. The Panel would like the LRT team to do everything they can to create a stronger link, especially for pedestrians, between the future neighbourhood to the north and the area to the south. The following design suggestions may help to strengthen this link:
- Creating more direct pathway connections to and through the station. In doing so, address how pedestrians move around and beneath the station (for example, focus on appropriate lighting below the station);
- Using pathways to first direct pedestrians to public spaces below the station and then, from there, to the buildings and neighbourhood beyond.
- Opening up spaces for pedestrians below the station structure and around the bridge;
- Creating urban plazas around the station that accommodate retail and mixed uses (including on the north side);
- Introducing retail on the southern edge of the site adjacent to the future neighbourhood;
- The Panel is concerned about the current site plan. They would appreciate a further explanation of the changes to the site plan and would like a better sense of how the bus circulation relates to the future condition of the area. The Panel would appreciate seeing the final plans to address how the station will be integrated with the surrounding areas.
- The quality of the overall project will be intimately related to how the station designs integrate logistical/infrastructure requirements on site, such as sprinkler heads and lighting. Unfortunately at this point, the station design is currently lacking information on: potential locations for public art, wayfinding design, landscaping design and lighting design. These elements should be carefully integrated into the final design of this and all other stations. The Panel understands that the P3 process doesn’t require the project to reach full development before being issued for tender; this raises concerns regarding the quality of the final product. The Panel strongly recommends that there is follow through and that the chosen contractor is obligated to deliver what is being designed and approved.
- The design of the southern intersection on the site plan seems awkward for pedestrians and cyclists. The intersection is large and will be a difficult and busy place for pedestrians and cyclists to manoeuvre; this should be addressed.
- The Panel supports the roof design, particularly the wood expression. The Panel also appreciates the potential of the design. However, it cautions the LRT team about the handling of the roof edges for water and moisture management. The type of gutters to be used and their materiality should be considered further. Ice guard/retention devices may be needed to avoid the wood being warped by moisture. In general, moisture management should be linked with the storm water management on site.
- The Panel is concerned about the survival rate of the proposed row of trees planted along the busy transitway. The salt spray and large amount of traffic may negatively affect the trees. Thus, planting trees in a row is not the best solution. The Panel recommends other solutions be explored such as planting the trees in large soil volume pockets, located as far away from the roadway as possible.
LRT – Campus Station | Formal Review
- The Panel feels this is an extraordinary building and hopes the design is resolved in the same positive way as has been initiated. The Panel would like to see further detail on how this design moves to final resolution.
- The height and massing of the station creates a lovely sense of enclosure.
- The station design and adjacent landscaping could create a greater sense of definition. There should be an effort to create links outside the station and to define its edges. There is an opportunity to use the passenger entrance as a social space and use the plaza to extend this social area.
- The LRT team has done a good job of dealing with the central space; however, there are a number of fragmented green/planted areas left-over between the pathways and against the station edge. The Panel encourages simplification and urbanization of this area. The centralized plaza area could be more than just a pass-through for cyclists and pedestrians; this could be a social place with hardscaping where people congregate. The area does not necessarily have to be green.
- The articulation of how the roof precisely comes down to the edge of the station and the expression of the glass wall coming up to meet it needs work. Further work on the roof design adjacent to the roadway is necessary, and storm water and salt-spray management is also required.
- This building will be a significant symbol in the area and have a large visual impact not only on the Ottawa University campus, but also from the Rideau Canal and from the various Capital driveways that are along the corridor. As such, the Panel would appreciate seeing more views from different approaches to the site. For example, it would be worth while showing views from a pedestrian perspective and from a cyclist’s perspective (on both sides of the Canal).
- The LRT team could introduce an undulating design to the wall located adjacent to Nicholas Street traffic. A vertical undulation could create a more poignant entry sequence to Ottawa, as experienced by the traffic going by, and reflect the design of the station’s curved roof.
- Landscaping should not interfere with key views from the sidewalk toward the Parliament buildings.
- The proposed columnar trees are unlikely to survive. There is good intention here but the design must do more to accommodate the trees in this harsh environment. The proposed trees need to be moved to the spaces offering better growing conditions.
- The designs of the lighting and improvements to the pedestrian tunnel will be critical.
LRT – Cyrville Station | Formal Review
- This station has an opportunity to become a unique element in the existing environment. Some stations should be treated as part of the urban fabric (such as Rideau station) while others (such as Cyrville) can become objects/symbols and a destination in their respective landscapes. This idea can be embraced more fully as the station design develops further.
- The Panel is happy to see that the proposed landscaping connects the adjacent capital parkway planting into the station.
LRT – St. Laurent Station | Formal Review
- The City staffs’ questions need to be followed up by the LRT team. There is a knowledge base at the City and within the LRT team about the detailed context and linkages of the station that cannot be matched by the individual Panel members. It is unfortunate that there is little imagery to show that the LRT will actually pass through this significant location. In general, the Panel supports City staff in identifying the need to improve pedestrian connections to the station from the surrounding areas.
- There is an issue with the bus lanes off the entry ramp for the station; automobile drivers get indecisive at this point. The LRT team is encouraged to apply wayfinding principles that target vehicles at this location to minimize confusion.
- Colour, material and branding elements are pivotal to the success of this station, because it will not have other visual cues such as a signature roofline, etc. as in other locations.
- St. Laurent mall is an inward looking mall, and currently presents a blank façade to the Queensway. The mall could potentially be renovated and, in the process of creating the LRT station, make a more positive change to the area.
LRT – Lees Station | Formal Review
- The Panel commends the LRT team on successfully integrating the existing trench into the site design, and in bringing light into an otherwise inhospitable place.
- The building edge along Lees Ave is still awkward. There is almost no congregation area, and more effort needs to be put towards creating a public space despite the restrictions of the contaminated soils in the immediate station area.
- The Panel recognizes it is difficult to deal with the soils in this area but feels the LRT team has dealt with similar issues in other stations more successfully.
- The stepped edge condition of the façade creates a series of unusable bays along the street edge that are not desirable.
- The overall roof forms appear disjointed and the design could be improved such that it more successfully contains the smaller, neighbouring buildings. By comparison, the design of the Cyrville Station roofline better contains the on-site structures, and should be used to inform the roof line of the Lees Station. The design might angle the end of the roof parallel to the angle of Lees Avenue, possibly continuing a further structural bay on one side.
LRT – Rideau Station | Formal Review
- The Panel commends the LRT team on the design exploration. This station has been well developed and is accompanied by helpful renderings and views.
- The Panel believes that it would be an incredible missed opportunity if the City of Ottawa and the Federal government did not deal with the triangular landmark node located at Sussex, Rideau and Colonel By at the same time as the design and construction of the Rideau Station. The way that the Rideau station relates to the triangular space should be a significant consideration.
- The Panel encourages the LRT team and the City to maintain the purity of design at the Station while still accommodating the capital, civic and everyday activities that will take place. The next layer of design should consider all features that will eventually be incorporated into these central spaces, such as accommodating newspaper boxes etc.
- The important masonry buildings and structures that surround this station could inform the materiality of both the station entrances. The LRT team could look at introducing a permeable masonry edge to the west station entrance, as well as the one presently proposed for the east entrance.
- The Panel understands from the proponents that the landscape concept for the triangular node does not form part of the LRT construction contract, but was used to help determine an improved location and design for a separate east entrance in addition to the one incorporated into the Rideau Centre. The Panel supports the major moves of the layout, particularly the entrance locations and the removal of the Colonel By turning lane, thereby creating and permitting pedestrianization of the space. It was agreed therefore that the panel would comment on the east entrance design without commenting on the overall landscape concept at this time.
- The LRT team should highlight and celebrate the structure of the station and make it a jewel in the landscape. A subtle treatment of glass and light could be emitted from the station, but should not overwhelm the surrounding buildings. The use of glass for this entrance would create a visual cue between the station and the new Ottawa Convention Centre.
- The LRT team is encouraged by some panellists to consider an interpretation of the Beaux Arts style as a subtle design that is more respectful to the adjacent Government Conference Centre. Other panellists believe that the proposal is a very appropriate design for this location. It is particularly well-suited for its role within the triangular space, and contrasts the dynamic, faceted, transparent roof with the masonry wall that, while being compatible, supports and separates it from the adjacent Government Centre.
- The Panel generally supports the proposal to locate the station closer to the ceremonial route and away from the Rideau Canal. The proposed west station entrance however, introduces a number of issues that require careful consideration. The Panel looks forward to seeing further evolutions of the design.
- The relationship between the roof and the flat glazed façade has not reached its full potential yet. The LRT team should work to make this entrance beautiful, while recognizing the significance of the surrounding national symbols.
- The LRT team should determine if there is any opportunity to integrate the western station entrance with future frontage improvements and a performing arts space for the NAC, given the latter’s earlier interest in this site. Consider moving the station entrance towards the lane and the NAC so as not to impact the significant views in the area (both from the adjacent Confederation Boulevard down to the Canal and from Viewpoint 18 toward the site).
- The location of the station entrance appears to be planned around the retention of several trees in the area. However, the existing elm tree will likely not survive the construction of the LRT and the existing ash trees are susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer. Therefore, the location of the important station entrance should not be impacted by landscaping that may not have a long term future in the area.
- The Panel encourages using the station entrance to highlight the nationally important spaces and buildings around it, by having the entrance recede into the background and also potentially incorporating a type of gallery/pavilion space that looks out onto the Rideau Canal. The station could become part of the embankment.
- In general it is the Panel’s opinion that, within this context, the station should be a background rather than an “object” building and should not call too much attention to itself.
- The Panel is not convinced that the amount of glass and full glazing for the station entrance is appropriate in this location. The LRT team is encouraged to explore a series of skylights to integrate with the landscape, or alternatively have glass highlight structural elements on the inside.
- As an alternative to an entirely glazed station, there is an opportunity to introduce a permeable masonry element reflecting its use for both the walls around the adjacent national symbols and along Confederation Boulevard, on which it fronts. Previous studies for the Boulevard looked at a colonnaded edge in this location; a contemporary interpretation of this study might be considered at the station edge for an enhanced pedestrian experience.
- The current use of wood above the platforms in this station should be reconsidered. In other stations where wood is used in the roof design, the wood serves both an aesthetic and structural function. In this underground station, the wood is used more as a wallpaper, which is not a noble design. Furthermore, water may seep through the concrete and warp the wood. If wood is used in this station the placement and purpose should be carefully thought out.
- If stone is used on the platform walls, it should be highlighted through the use of lighting.
- The Panel is in full support of retaining trees in the area but is also concerned about their longevity, considering the impact of the station construction.
- The LRT team should integrate a landscape plan that is sensitive to the urban context. It is unlikely the proposed elm tree will survive; there are other tree species that are tougher and that are more suited to this environment.
LRT – Lebreton Station | Formal Review
- The Panel commends the LRT on this scheme, the station is elegant and the rounded roofline is wonderful.
- The Panel is impressed by how a number of different elements, such as the history and culture of the site, were threaded together.
- There is a wonderful compression directing views out onto the historic aqueduct.
- The challenge for the landscape architect is to create a landscape design that will have permanence in the future. The station’s early landscaping proposal does not yet recognize how the area will be urbanized in the future. Further iterations are needed to adequately reflect the long-term NCC plans for the area.
- The theming of the station could further develop the history of the Lebreton Flats area to incorporate the fascinating history of the lumber industry as well as the numerous 19th century archaeological finds in the area.
General concluding notes
- The Panel commends the LRT design team for how sensitively and creatively the development of the station designs is being handled. Common design themes are carried through in a modern way while the existing cultural ‘diamonds’ are sensitively treated.
- While very pleased with the overall quality of the design directions, the Panel notes that current level of development (at about 15 percent) does not really allow for final design review of key locations such as the Rideau and Campus stations. They therefore request that further presentations be made on these stations.
- The Panel also notes their concern with the P3 process (designed to only 30 percent) being applied to some of these stations in key locations. This process may well compromise the quality of the building designs and the Panel disagrees with this process in these locations.
265 Catherine Street | 2nd Formal Review
- The Panel appreciates that the applicant has come back for another review.
- The design presented to the Panel is going in the direction proposed by the draft Centretown Community Design Plan and there are a number of positive elements.
- The seven-storey elevation along Arlington is a transition from the five- to nine-storey building form that is envisioned by the Centretown CDP. It is a step in the right direction and will serve as a catalyst for future development, assuming the inventory of buildings to the north changes over time.
- The Panel prefers to see grade-related units facing Arlington.
- The two 25-storey towers planned for the site could overpower the proposed public space, which in its current configuration is questionable for effective public use.
- It is difficult to anticipate the type of retailer who would wish to locate in this development, which is problematic in that such major changes could have a significant impact on the design currently presented before the Panel.
- As a direction to City staff, the Panel suggests that the proposed zoning ensure that the building height of the townhouses be restricted to a maximum of 17 – 20 metres, to prevent any shadowing on the sidewalk on the north side of Arlington.
- The shadows of the towers as shown in the studies extend right off the page; hence, it is felt that the overshadowing impact on the nearby residential community could be substantial, especially on the low profile neighbourhood to the west.
- A varied tower height is worth considering as recommended in such situations by the draft CDP guidelines and in response to the adjacent context and zoning. The Panel would like to see the proposed development made fully compatible with the new Centretown Plan.
- In keeping with the draft Centretown Plan, the planned podium and towers are good, however, the Panel recommends stepping back the east tower further from Kent Street.
- A pedestrian, mid-block connection is good and could be enlarged to create a small park consistent with the draft Centretown Plan. The Panel would like to see more on how this develops into a future connection to the blocks to the south and potentially the north. The public realm connections within and around the site need to tie in with other connections.
- The proposal appears to follow the Centretown Plan, in anticipating five- to nine-storey buildings for the north side of Arlington. Based on the presentation made to the Panel and city staff regarding mid-rise infill in Toronto, the Panel feels that more work should be undertaken with respect to “access to light” and how the proposed building heights correlate with the width of the street right-of-ways to specifically address building design, setbacks and the pedestrian environment. This could create a set of rules that the developers and designers could follow, representing best practices and dealing with the issue of stability for the existing community. Other projects could then follow the lead of this project.
- The ground floor setback along Arlington still poses a concern for the Panel and adjustments still need to be made to ensure the successful planting of trees. If the intent is to make this proposal fully compatible with the draft Centretown Plan, the setback of the seven-storey development should be increased to accommodate large, healthy trees in order to replace the line of existing mature trees proposed for removal. In addition, along Catherine Street, the zoning must also ensure adequate street tree planting and sidewalk width.
- The Panel looks forward to seeing the client at a later stage in the process when their site plan application is in motion.
727 King Edward Avenue | Formal Review
- The Panel feels that there is potentially a strong architectural concept for the development but it has not been well portrayed in the presentation material, which is focused on a three storey building.
- The Panel notes that this building, and especially the mechanical penthouse, will be very visible from the Nicolas Street gateway to the city’s centre.
- The Panel suggests creating a stronger identity for the design by using features already present on the Ottawa University campus.
- The lobby space could offer a store, such as a coffee shop, to add to the activity of the streetscape/public realm.
- There is a tension between the building and the neighbouring lower-scale residential context that needs to be resolved. Service elements could be carefully used to break-up the scale.
Five Storey Option vs. Three Storey Option
- The Panel generally supports the five storey option, despite only schematic drawings in a presentation otherwise focused on the three storey design. The extra height and robustness of the larger building scale is more appropriate for the landscape and the university campus expression.
- A three-storey development was presented at the pre-consultation meeting, when the Panel suggested the applicant consider going higher. However, while the Panel appreciates the alternative five-storey proposal, the Panel finds it difficult to provide final comments because more detailed information is necessary. For example, the design response to the building context at the north end is not convincing, and it may be necessary to adjust the program to resolve this. As a result, the Panel strongly encourages the applicant to return for another formal consultation meeting if the five storey alternative is preferred by the client.
- The proposed penthouse is currently taking away from the building design. If the applicant moves forward with the three-storey option, they should consider expanding the perimeter but lowering the penthouse to make the mass less apparent.
- In the five-storey option, the mechanical penthouse will be higher and even more visible than in the three-storey option. This is an issue to consider as the applicant moves forward with the design.
- One way to engage the building more with the public realm would be to add transparency to the back of the building to make a more visible connection from the lobby. This transparency would also help provide the public with a sense of what is happening in and around the building. In addition, it would address the programmatic element desired by the university and provide interest to the back of the building, which faces a site likely to be redeveloped with residential uses.
- To make the five-storey option more sympathetic to the abutting two-storey houses to the north, the Panel suggests that the applicant pull back the upper two storeys, use glazing, and better reflect the changing grade elevation along King Edward.
- In the five-storey design, the urban gesture on the important King Edward/Templeton corner should also be fleshed out more.
- At the pre-consultation meeting, the Panel encouraged the proponent to seek the inspiration of the Earth Sciences building architecture from the earth theme; however, the Panel understands that the client prefers a more modern and sleek approach.
- The three-storey building sits very low on the site and the design still needs to be more integrated into the landscape. The material could be changed on the base and a retaining wall of planters could be installed to defuse the isolated nature of the building. This would make for a more direct and interesting relationship between the building and the Ottawa University campus.
- There should be a restricted palate of materials that helps to unify the building. If the aim is to create a “sleek” appearance, more metal and glass need to be incorporated into the building. The rustic wood trellis on the northern edge seems somewhat incongruous to the rest of the sleek, modern character of the building.
- Use materiality along the lower two floors to emphasize an earthiness, which is consistent with the planned function of the building. A more transparent corner would help with this theme.
- The Panel appreciates that the applicant is incorporating the solar wall into the project; however, the Panel notes that standard solar walls are very industrial looking, rather than sleek-looking. The applicant should work hard to create an architectural solution for this, such as creating a veil affect or breaking it up with, for example, slit windows.
- The building sits very low due to the site’s topography and it begs for more landscaping. The streetscape along King Edward should take precedence over the landscape design of the building. Therefore the line of street trees should continue to the intersection and not stop at the atrium. Street trees could improve the current proposal, which is bleak looking from a pedestrian perspective.
- The Panel suggests that the proposed greening along King Edward extend to the corner of Templeton, to reinforce the street and to emphasize this corner entry with hard surface only.
- The Panel appreciates the green roof.
- The applicant is encouraged to create continuity with the university campus with landscaping.
- The proposed 100 metre length of the building is somewhat troublesome from an urban design and contextual perspective, so there is a need to break up the length with some verticality. The existing stepping of the planter could be strengthened and better integrated with the architecture, and changes to the flat horizontal band of windows to help achieve this.
- If the building elevation along Henderson is treated differently than the building elevation along King Edward, there could then be an immediate difference in the 100 metre long horizontality, by at least a third.
- The five-storey option would likely have the effect of helping to reduce the apparent building length.
July 7, 2011
895 St. Laurent Boulevard | Formal Review
- The Panel thanks the applicant for the changes and the responsiveness to previous comments.
- Moving the building forward, widening the pedestrian forecourt and shifting the car entrances further to the edges of the site are all seen as positive moves for the site plan. The changes to the building itself are also appreciated.
Consider extending the primary curtain wall and spandrel cladding, used on the front and part of the side façade, around the side of the building up to the point where the building steps back, as this side will be very visible from the street and site entrance.
- The Panel recommends that the landscape be designed as part of a total composition for the site, and suggests refinements that would help enhance the building, car display and streetscape:
- Create a strong axial connection between the front entrance and the pedestrian access from St. Laurent
- Relocate the benches and integrate them in the overall design in such a way that they could be used by the public
- Use different low-cost/effective lighting options to highlight the landscape, building and car display (e.g. locate the light standards so that the pattern of light fall emphasizes the display cars, and use up-lighting to highlight both landscape and vehicles)
- Consider planting in front of the retaining wall, facing the street, rather than on top of it. The Panel is concerned that the proposed planting will obstruct the view of the cars rather than enhance it.
- Consider the use of a platform-like stage or other temporary devices that would permit the cars to be displayed in a variety of different ways
- The Panel recommends the continuance of street tree planting along the site frontage, in order to improve the public edge along St Laurent, and notes that open, lacy, high branching species, planted 8 – 10m on center, will not distract from car display.
110 Place D’Orleans Boulevard | Formal Review
- The Panel thanks the applicant for their responsiveness to previous comments and for the positive changes to this application. The Panel notes that this is a positive precedent for similar development in other suburban locations.
- The Panel recommends exploring the use of louvers to limit solar gain instead of the proposed tinted glass.
- The pedestrian walkway from the site corner to the main entrance passes along a portion of blank wall; the Panel recommends planting vegetation, such vines, to soften this wall
- The quality of material in the patio area is important and quality pavers should be used rather than asphalt or concrete.
- The Panel would like assurance for the stronger projection of the main entrance canopy, as promised, since this is not evident on most current drawings.
- It is important to consider how the internal lighting will be perceived from outside, and the use of high quality halide lighting is recommended.
- The Panel is uncomfortable with the advertising panels on the corner element and recommends that these be changed to sand blasted glass panels.
- The Panel expressed concern over plantings in the parking lot area and identified specific areas where trees were unlikely to survive. The Panel recommends that the planting strip adjacent to the entry drive be widened, to increase soil volume and improve tree health, and that medium sized trees which can withstand very harsh conditions be planted. If the strip cannot be widened, the scheme should be revised to create a larger planting area for trees at the corner/drive entry. In addition to the trees in the strip, six other trees were identified as in need of relocation on the site to more favourable planting areas.
- The Panel notes the opportunity for seasonal outdoor merchandising, which would animate the area, and suggests that the applicant explore opportunities around this.
August 4, 2011
There are no August meetings.
September 1, 2011
288 Booth Street | Formal Review
- The Panel is in full support of this building. It is a phenomenal response to the context.
- The Panel commends the applicant on being responsive to their previous comments.
- The scheme thoughtfully takes into account the entire streetscape.
- There is excellent access to bike parking. The Panel praises the applicant on giving equal weight to on-grade car and bike parking.
- In refining the scheme, it is clear that the lantern, balconies, setbacks and entrance to the residential units became more polished designs. The Panel appreciates this effort.
- The Panel commends the applicant on choosing a brick that will serve to complement the red materiality. The red colour will stand out in this context and the Panel looks forward to seeing the development built.
- On the previous scheme, the brick wrapped around the corner of the building to provide a sense of a basic brick mass supporting the more transparent projections. It has now been divided into separate, disconnected brick surfaces, and the applicant is encouraged to bring this element back into their current scheme.
- Rather than projecting the retail at the corner, the Panel encourages the applicant to set it back and allow for an urban piazza. This can be achieved by creating an alcove to allow for this space.
October 6, 2011
350 Montgomery Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Application
- The Panel thanks the applicant for the clear and thoughtful presentation. The comparison chart outlining the Panel’s recommendations and how the applicant addressed them was useful.
- The Panel appreciates the changes the applicant has made and thinks that the design has improved. The emphasis on the horizontal band on the second floor really helps, especially on the prow side facing east.
- The Panel would still (as stated during the pre-consultation) have preferred the datum line to be either raised or dropped, rather than remaining in the middle of the building.
- There should be continuous and increased street tree planting along the McArthur edge. The Panel recognizes that there are constraints here; however, it is necessary to ensure the trees have enough good quality soil to survive. In addition to street trees, the Panel would support more vegetation along McArthur.
- A greater urban presence is encouraged along McArthur. This could be achieved through the use of planters and lighting at the McArthur entry. Lighting to demarcate areas of the building along McArthur could help improve the building’s presence on the street.
- The central entrance should be accentuated with lighting and framed by trees.
- The treatment of private amenity areas/terraces along Montgomery should be re-examined. To provide some additional screening and create a stronger street edge, the Panel suggests integrating a projecting stone base with the fence detail. The fences proposed do not delineate or define the private spaces as well as they could.
- The Panel’s main issue remains the concave entry-way’s glass façade and the arched portico on Montgomery. To resolve this, the Panel strongly encourages the applicant to wrap the parapet around the building towards the door and extend the cornices so there is more substance to this part of the building. The design would be a lot stronger if the projecting glass panels, below the cornice at the inner edges of the 4 storey base, were replaced by brick on the entry façade so that the cornice and setback walls above sat on a solid brick base.
- The Panel recognizes the applicant’s position that the central arched portico is an important architectural element; however, this architectural feature currently appears to be floating and there is a need to anchor it back into the building design. The applicant can tie it, through height, colour and material, in with the datum line. A compositional element can make the central arched portico look more functional and resolved.
- The Panel would like the applicant to clarify what type of landscape treatment is proposed at the front entrance onto Montgomery. The landscape treatment should be strengthened by integrating a low stone wall to serve as a base for the fence, thereby tying it in with the planters at the front entrance.
1025 Canadian Shield Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Application
- The Panel commends the applicant on the positive changes to the building design that are in keeping with the Panel’s previous comments. For example, some acute and necessary improvements have been made to the building’s architecture, especially on the end facades. The reconfiguring of the building orientation and the change to natural stone will also improve the project significantly.
- The applicant is encouraged to address City staff’s comments.
- The treatment of the courtyard is on the right track in terms of creating a good mix of grass and trees and gardens; however, a more playful approach and a contemporary expression to this landscape treatment could add significant value to the space. Currently, the landscape design is abstract and there should be a more detailed analysis of the situation.
- The Panel recommends a more expressionist and romantic, relaxed approach to the courtyard landscape. This approach would serve to contrast with the highly conservative aesthetic nature of the architecture of this project and the formal tree planting along the street edges. For example, trees along the pathway in the interior could alternatively jump over the pathway and be gathered into groves.
- The landscape design of the Williams Court should be based on the functional traffic circulation scheme, structural bearing capacity of the garage roof, and sunshine availability rather than representing an abstract expression. For example, sufficient volumes of soil for the trees can be achieved as a mound located on structural supporting columns.
- Consideration must be given to where people will naturally walk through this large landscaped area. If the paths are not in the appropriate places, the paved pathways will not serve a functional purpose and the grass will become muddy where people cut-across. The hard corners at the east end of the area should be softened so that they are easy to walk around.
- Lighting at different times of day should also be considered in the process of choosing locations for tree placement. For example, some of the trees planted on the northern side of building A will be in shade the majority of the time.
- Cross sections are evolving in a more interesting way with trees on mounds.
- The double row of trees shown at the front of the building is heading in the right direction.
Canadian Shield Avenue streetscape
- The applicant should make a more concerted effort to animate the street on Canadian Shield and provide grade-oriented units. This more encouraging typology (with front doors that are accessible on the street) will create animation, and result in more eyes on the street and a significantly safer environment. Furthermore, this treatment will set an important precedent for future buildings on the street, leading to the nearby town centre.
- The building and layout should provide people with direct access to this Canadian Shield street edge to enable and encourage more pedestrian movement.
- A stronger design for the entrance canopy is encouraged.
- There is consensus that the main entrance should be further emphasized. Although it has improved since the last iteration, more still can be done.
- The applicant is strongly encouraged to provide natural light in the stairwell towers.
- The ends and main facades of the building are not reading as one. The east and west ends of the buildings look more interesting than the north and south facades, which look too symmetrical. The applicant is encouraged to break down this strong sense of symmetry and to make further effort to ensure the building reads as a single entity.
- The Panel welcomes the addition of balconies on the end elevations as a means to improve and lighten up the design of the development, as these elevations will be very visible from the surrounding streets.
- For the next building in the development and to provide some design differences between the blocks, the applicant is encouraged to use a more rectilinear approach to the windows. By using so many 45 degree angles in plan, including for the bay windows, few shadows are produced to help animate the facades. The applicant is encouraged to explore and go farther with a more rectilinear and subtly different approach.
- The garage entrance should be addressed better.
November 3, 2011
203 Catherine Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Application
*Robert Martin declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period.
- The proposed development is adjacent to the Centretown Heritage District. The City is waiting for a heritage report on this adjacent district to assess the impact the development will have on the district.
- The Panel supports the architecture of the project: it is a handsome building with many positive attributes. The building is well articulated; it is clear that the architect has given the expression a lot of thought.
- Concerns were expressed about building setbacks, especially in relation to future development of adjacent sites.
- The applicant is encouraged to take steps to ensure that the quality of the amenity space above the podium level is respected and considered over the long term, including after adjacent sites are developed.
Site Plan Setbacks
- The zoning line for the rear yard setback should be respected.
- The Panel feels very strongly that the setbacks along the east and north sides of the site should be bigger. The setbacks that the City has outlined in the zoning bylaw should be respected.
- The Panel has concerns about the impact of this development on the development potential of the surrounding sites. Unless in the same ownership, it is not good to limit the future development abilities of adjacent sites through setback restrictions. The adjacent site owners might undertake developments similar to the option illustrated by the applicant; but more likely they will not, due to the development taking place at different time with different objectives.
Ground Floor Treatment
- The Panel appreciates the helpful provision of the elevation details at the ground and lower floors of the podium.
- The applicant should strive to accommodate four street trees, not just the proposed three trees, along the Catherine streetscape.
- The majority of the Panel supports the clarity of expression of the seven floor podium; however, some Panel members feel that the podium could do more to animate the street. For example, more articulation and human-scaled design for the ground floor retail would create more interest at street level for pedestrians. Respecting the front yard setback of 3 metres would also create more pedestrian comfort at the street level. This will be a precedent-setting building on Catherine Street and the applicant is encouraged to take additional steps to enhance the design at this scale.
- To help enhance the human-scale of the streetscape, more emphasis should also be placed on the main entrance. In addition, more dynamic forms should be incorporated to distract from the large parking access and truck docking station.
Simple solutions for the thermal breaks for the balconies are now available. The applicant should explore these solutions. There is an opportunity to use this kind of sustainability feature as part of the sales pitch, which would be of benefit to the developer.