January 9, 2014
2012 Ogilvie Road (Shoppers City East) | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Trinity Development Group; Looney Ricks Kiss; Petroff Partnership Architects; Levstek Consultants; Holzman Consultants Inc.
- The Panel thanks the proponent for the presentation, but was disappointed to see this proposal return to the UDRP with only minor changes from the pre-consultation and that the majority of recommendations have not been addressed. Given the strength of the design team that has collaborated on this project, the Panel expressed disappointment that a higher quality and improved product has not be provided.
- Given that so little has changed and that many fundamental questions still remain unanswered, the Panel recommends that the proposal not proceed in its current form and that it return to the UDRP for a second formal review.
- The Panel has serious concerns with how the scheme intends to fit into the City's plans for the future of the area and intensification objectives.
- Not enough thought has been put into the future evolution of the site. In a future presentation, it will be necessary to show a potential plan for Phase 2 and the south part of the site, and how it intends on tying in to Phase 1.
- The Panel expressed concern regarding the introverted design of the scheme and the implications that this will have for the proposal's relationships with neighbouring sites and public streets. The proposal generally ignores its context, which is unacceptable given that it falls within the Blair TOD area.
- The proposal needs to integrate better with its context. The redevelopment of this site needs to encourage future development to the west and to connect with the existing urban fabric, public uses and park spaces to the east.
- The Panel has major issues with the blank slate approach to Phase 2 of the development. Failing to resolve relationship and access issues between the two phases at this point will create serious problems down the line, not only for the City, but for the proponent as well.
- The project massing needs to better reflect what was proposed in the TOD study. Buildings should be oriented outward towards the streets, rather than inward and loading docks facing a public street.
- The Panel recommends reconfiguring Block C, so that a public east-west street connection can be realigned above Trillium Park and that the park will not be impacted by the large blank rear wall.
- The Panel appreciates that the proponent is trying to make a gesture to pedestrians at the main intersection in the middle of the Phase 1 site by incorporating the mini-block D3, but feels that the additional design efforts would be more effective if they were made along Ogilvie Road.
- The Panel recommends providing a more regular street pattern that could potentially evolve into a public street network and achieve the connectivity proposed in the Blair TOD plan.
- The Panel recommends straightening the central north-south road to avoid odd view angles and to help give it the feel of a public street.
- Despite what is proposed in the TOD plan, the Panel strongly recommends that the east-west connection between Phases 1 and 2 be realigned with the north side of Trillium Park on the eastern edge of the site. This would improve its potential of evolving into a public right-of-way to connect to the existing public uses to the east of the site and to provide a public address for future Phase 2 residential.
- The proponent is encouraged to re-examine how comfortably non-vehicular traffic would pass through the overall site, and especially how safely pedestrians and cyclists of all ages will be able to access Trillium Park.
- Internalizing the private road network reduces the potential of Phase 2 to the south and raises the question that Blair Place should be used as a much stronger public street access for the future of the area.
- The Panel feels that the proponent should re-examine the relationships and specific roles of buildings and develop a stronger hierarchy. The buildings at the north end of the site should have an improved relationship with the entrances to the site. Additional glazing and high-quality materials also need to be predominant over the use of stucco and EIFS.
- It is critical that the north elevations on Ogilvie have significant transparency and that the facades are aligned parallel to the street.
- With regards to Building A2, the Panel cited precedents where major pharmacy franchises have been receptive to relaxing their corporate architectural standards when pressured to do so by municipalities. The Panel appreciates the additional glazing, but recommends pressuring the tenant to improve the building design to better address the public street.
- The Panel feels that the large blank wall on the eastern edge of the site backing onto Trillium Park is unacceptable and needs to be reconsidered. Future housing in Phase 2 facing the park would more appropriate and benefit both.
- Additional attention needs to be given to the architecture of each building as it relates to important corners and intersections. Entrances should not always be located in the middle of facades.
- Different architectural treatments and materials should be used to distinguish buildings and to respond to various site conditions.
- The quality of the development will be largely dependent on the trees around and within the site and also on the quality of the street furniture and integration of the signage.
- Street tree strategies are being imposed strictly across the City and the same standards should be applied to the site's internal road network. The Panel recommends that City planning staff work with City foresters to develop strong and clear language on soil volume requirements to ensure the survival of trees on the site. It is recommended that staff request a letter of credit from the applicant.
- Snow storage on the site is also a concern and a strategy needs to be developed to ensure that the planted islands are not used for storage.
February 6, 2014
No meeting held.
March 6, 2014
514-532 ROCHESTER STREET | Site Plan Control Application | Barry Hobin Architects; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design; Domicile Developments
The Panel is very pleased with where the direction that the project has taken and the elegance of the building's design.
- The south side has been designed very skilfully and will be iconic, seen both from very far away and up close. The use of colours and materials has been done very well.
- The Panel recommends more of a commercial expression to the south façade of the podium rather than that of townhouses. Explore a different cladding for the retail units so that they look more like commercial space.
- The Panel expressed concerns regarding overlook issues to the adjacent property to the west separated by only a 2 to 3.5 metre yard, should it ever be redeveloped from the present through-block commercial use. Relocating the residential units on the second floor, so that they face east onto Rochester Street with the lockers to the west may partially help resolve this.
- The north and west elevations look undecided and lack the same visual interest as the others. As both these elevations will be visible from a distance, the proponent should explore ways of breaking up the massing and improving the elevations by reworking the use of colours and/or window configuration.
- The Panel believes that the proposed plaza is quite small and both the project and the neighbourhood would benefit from it being increased in size. Reducing the amount of retail space or relocating the bicycle storage may help achieve this.
- If the small plaza cannot be increased in size, permitting the doors of adjacent businesses to open onto it may be an effective way of enlivening the space.
- The proponent should also investigate possibilities to green the streetscape and the rooftop terrace more aggressively.
1251 MARITIME WAY | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Kanata Maritime Title Inc.; Chamberlain Architect Services Ltd.
- The Panel appreciates the visuals included in the submission package and the level of detail in the renderings and visualisations.
- The Panel also appreciates the proponent's response to previous panel comments and the honest explanation of what is and isn't possible. The building's design has improved since the pre-consultation with the UDRP.
- As this project represents the first building on the commercial area, west of Great Lakes Way, it will set the standard for future development and the precedent for the City. The Kanata Town Centre design guidelines for the area are still relevant and should be carefully considered.
- The Panel is generally pleased with the vibrancy and handsome design that the proponent is proposing for what would have otherwise been a mundane building.
- The rear façade may be more visually interesting than the front, helped by the vertical bay projection that articulates the long eastern wing. Consider therefore flipping the studio and queen units to create a bay on the Maritime Way façade.
- The proportions of the façade at the ground floor could be improved. The windows seem small, especially at the corner. They should also be aligned with the windows in the upper levels above, as the ground floor currently looks disconnected from the rest of the building.
- The punched window expressions should be expressed consistency, being framed on all four sides.
- The Panel appreciates the colourful accents used to enliven the building façades. However it encourages the proponent to slightly lighten the palette. Darker colours may noticeably fade over time. Consider choosing a less stark white, a warmer gray and a softer red.
- The Panel felt that there may be one too many materials in the scheme. Consider removing the metal siding and bringing the brick all the way up the central entry bay.
- The Panel notes that if poor quality brick is used on the ground floor it will not age well.
- The Panel appreciates the attention that has been given to the front entrance of the building, but encourages further efforts such as broadening the paving, including seating and improving building lighting.
- The grading of the pathway to the front entrance is quite steep and may pose accessibility issues. The proponent should aim to reduce the incline to 5%. A crescent-shaped walkway may be a good solution.
Parking Lot / Landscaping
- The scheme needs to reduce the prominence of the parking from Maritime Way at the west end of the building. Relocate parking spaces back behind the main face of building and screen them with landscaping.
- The proponent should explore opportunities for linking the central landscaping element in the parking lot to the back entrance of the building and find ways of animating it.
- The second building proposed for the site and the form it will eventually take, remains a concern to the Panel. Locating its front entrance onto the street (as required by the guidelines) will be very difficult, given that the building has been sited perpendicular to the street edge.
15 COLONNADE ROAD | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Dow Honda; Brian K. Clark Architect; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good presentation and for the quality of the visuals that have been provided.
- The Panel appreciates and supports the sustainability measures being integrated into the scheme and notably the use of permeable paving materials in the parking lot.
Massing / Site Design
- The Panel recommends pulling the building closer to Merivale Road, to achieve an asymmetrical relationship with the two streets and to grant the building more prominence on the main frontage of Merivale, to which the first stage mainly turns its back.
- The Panel expressed major concerns with the line of cars on display along the edge of the project. The number of these cars reads more as a parking lot and becomes more assertive than the rest of the building. The number of showcase car spaces should be reduced.
- The Panel expressed concern regarding the vehicular circulation of the site. The width of the driveway in front of the car wash area in particular may be too tight for the turning radius of exiting cars.
- The lighting of the site in terms of CPTED needs to be re-considered.
- The design, both interior and exterior, needs to consider much more carefully how the site will function once the building has been fully extended. As proposed, the main pedestrian access, adjacent to the existing transit stop, will be largely obscured by the future extension.
- The Panel recommends relocating the "HONDA" entrance feature at the corner of the building. Given the grades at the corner of Merivale and Colonnade, this will never be an active pedestrian space nor provide access to a major entrance feature at this location.
- Consider, therefore, moving the feature towards the north-west end of the glazed corner of the building, and closer to both the actual, main pedestrian access and to where the used car showroom will be located. In this location, it would also serve as a link between the old and new parts of the building, once it has been expanded. Alternatively, it could be disconnected from the façade completely to allow it to stand as an independent unit.
- The Panel recommends a consistent parapet level and material across the whole building. Remove the height variations and consider finishing the parapet in white.
- There appear to be some discrepancies between the plans and the north elevation. The elevation drawing shows the lettering 'HONDA' at the second level above the entry, whereas the plan shows windows. If the windows are correct, think about where the lettering will be relocated. One option would be to locate it above the 'porch,' if the parapet is extended and made consistent across the building.
- The Colonnade façade appears too industrial in nature. Consider extending the white panelling along this edge. The white panelling should also ground itself by extending vertical elements down to grade.
- The Panel is concerned with the use of EIFS as a primary façade treatment and recommends a higher standard of materials, as seen in similar projects. The use of composite aluminum panels instead of EIFS is strongly recommended.
- Consider cladding the post/column of the covered parking area on the Merivale façade with metal panels, all the way down to grade.
- A robust, continuous street tree treatment, with a high canopy species, needs to be included along the Merivale Road edge. The proposed planters are not a sufficient contribution to this edge.
- Explore possible opportunities to use the grade change at the corner of Merivale Road and Colonnade Road to highlight the cars on display, rather than around the whole site or than filling the space with landscaping. This may help to give more of a pronounced definition to the site.
141 MAIN STREET & 15 OBLATE AVENUE | Site Plan Control Application | Domicile; NEUF Architect(e)s; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good submission, which has advanced since the project's pre-consultation.
- The Panel recommends simplifying the building's Main Street façade with clearly articulated solids and voids. There may also be one too many materials proposed for this façade. A clear datum line should be included at the fourth floor and the balconies at the sixth floor should be recessed.
- The Panel believes that the clock tower would be more appropriate for a civic rather than residential / commercial building, and that a fabric building expression would be more suitable for the south-west corner. The subtlety and simple pattern of the north-west corner should also be applied to this corner and the clock and canopy removed.
- The Panel appreciates the proponent increasing the height of the ground floor commercial along Main Street. The windows and balcony patterns on the upper levels should be clearly aligned with the storefront windows as well as the expressed structure at grade, which currently bisects some of the windows directly above. Vertical pickets on the balconies would be preferable to glass panels.
Phase 2 / Courtyard
- The Panel recommends giving Phase 2 a distinct identity from Phase 1. The massing, proportionality and materiality should be more sympathetic to the existing convent building to the east. The Oblate Avenue façade should be set back to be flush with convent and its top floors stepped back above the same height as the convent. If the entire building cannot be pushed back, step part of it back and introduce a vertical step down at the east end of the building.
- On Main Street, the ground floor elevation level matches that of the street, but on the eastern end of the building it is raised 2 ½ feet above the adjacent grade. The entire garage should be 2 ½ feet lower so that the relationship to grade is consistent across the building. This will create an improved relationship between the courtyard and Springhurst Avenue and will lower the overall height of the building. It should also serve to remove the need for a retaining wall against the convent property.
- The width of the internal courtyard has been reduced by some 6 metres due to the addition of visitor parking. The surface parking should be reduced to the benefit of a wider courtyard; this is most critical at the entrance points.
- The courtyard should be designed holistically. If any visitor parking remains, the entire space should be designed to read as a unified pedestrian area, on only part of which cars are permitted to pass through and park.
- If the eastern edge of the building next to the convent is fenced off completely, the proponent should consider incorporating small terraces associated with the adjacent units to make better use of the space.
- Accepting that the proponents are working with the City to appropriately provide street trees as part of the Main Street improvements, the scheme also needs to make much more of a gesture in terms of landscaping to Oblate Avenue and Springhurst Avenue, where it currently proposes very little greening. Over the 90 metres of streetscape, there should be a line of approximately a dozen trees along each edge.
- The project needs to read cohesively. The streetscape should be designed all the way to the corners on all frontages.
- The design along Oblate Street should consider the ratio and proportions of the street once a building is built to the south. Parking, patios, and bike racks all need to be considered.
- The Panel strongly recommends removing the large air exhaust vent structures, which impact the edge of the courtyard and the Springhurst Avenue streetscape, and instead integrating them into the building itself.
April 6, 2014
FERNBANK FRENCH CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL (5315 ABBOTT ST & 5618 HAZELDEAN RD) | Formal Review | Zoning By-Law Amendment & Site Plan Control Application | Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc.; Paquette Planning Associates Ltd.; James Lennox and Associates Inc.
- The Panel appreciates the applicant's responsiveness to the earlier comments and complimented the architect on the sophisticated building design, the playful elevations, the use of colour, and the isometric rendering of the central atrium space.
- South Elevation
- The Panel recommends reconsidering some of the elements of the south facade around the main entrance and the south-east corner. The atrium space should read as the main feature of the front facade, rather than the art room at the corner.
- Possible solutions to strengthening the prominence of the atrium include:
- Projecting the atrium feature beyond the adjoining south facade, rather than behind the plane of the adjacent exit stair as at present.
- Removing the similar, competing wood accent frame from around the art room, and focusing on the coloured glass alone to accent the corner space.
- Modifying the wood accent frame above the main entrance, either by fully enclosing the "C-shaped" frame around the atrium or, particularly, by extending the frame down to grade as an inverted "U" shape.
- The colourful accents are very good in the building. However, the western half of the south elevation appears slightly subdued in comparison. Explore opportunities to enliven the facade with spandrel panels or other accents.
- The north entrance façade reads strongly but the hard landscape approach is too weak, considering the number of students that will be moving between it and the bus loop / drop off (especially in the future when the bus access is relocated). The Panel recommends strengthening the connecting pathway by widening and possibly lining it with a double row of trees.
- Consider reconfiguring the two classrooms west of the north entrance, to widen the corridor inside the building. It will probably be used as the building's main entrance, given its proximity to the bus drop-off point and as exit to the playing fields.
- The Panel also recommends increasing the paved collection space outside the north entrance.
- The Panel recommends re-examining the smaller patches of green space / grass, which come across as too fragmented and are unlikely to survive. Investigate opportunities to consolidate them.
- The landscaping strategy proposing to create outside rooms is an intriguing part of the scheme. Consider carrying the prairie-type landscaping towards the other two entrances so as to help establish a consistent vocabulary across the site.
- The landscape response to the lowered garbage area will be critical. This needs to be screened as much as possible.
- The site plan treatment around the main entrance to the building has been greatly improved since the last presentation, with the relocation of the vehicle drop-off zone and the accessible parking spaces.
- The Panel still had considerable site plan concerns, however, with the likely desire lines for students moving between the bus drop-off and the north and west entrances. Improving the connections between them is therefore recommended.
- The Panel reiterated its concern for probable conflicts in the parking lot between cars and buses. A segregated bus driveway along the west edge of the site was recommended, to connect Abbott Street and the bus drop-off loop. This could possibly be achieved by shifting the parking lot to the east.
1560 SCOTT STREET | Formal Review | Zoning By-Law Amendment & Site Plan Control Application | Holland Cross; Colonnade Development; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design; N45 Architecture Inc.
- The Panel still had significant issues regarding the proposal's massing, handling of the pedestrian walkway, and relationship with neighbouring properties, as were raised in the project's pre-consultation presentation.
- The scheme still requires major changes before it should be permitted to move forward and Panel comments are, therefore, largely limited to the broader issues. Only once these issues have been resolved can the finer details of the proposal be examined.
- The Panel recommends that staff encourage the proponent to return for another formal review with the UDRP. It also indicated it would be willing to host a working session with the applicant to explore various possibilities for reconfiguring the proposal.
- The Panel expressed concern with the impact of the proposed building and colonnade design on the existing pedestrian walkway, and the uncomfortable proximity of the massing to the townhouses to the south, to which it is now even closer than in the earlier presentation.
- It was strongly recommended that the proponent shift the massing north to avoid cantilevering the building over the walkway. The existing column spacing should not be used as an argument for the proposed massing, as a new structural grid will likely have to be built regardless.
- The proposed colonnade on the south façade is undersized both in height and width. A two storey podium with a two storey, masonry colonnade was recommended, including along Hamilton Avenue, as required in the Scott Street Community Design Plan.
- Explore ways of improving the relationship between the building and the townhouses and strengthening the pedestrian connection. Options to achieve this may include:
- Shifting the building north and cantilevering over the loading area.
- Creating a smaller core-to-glass dimension on the south façade, and elongating the building to the west by building the grid over the existing parking garage. This will increase the length by 25 to 30 feet and provide flexibility in terms of how the desired square footage is achieved.
- Creating a narrower building by offsetting the core to the north to allow for a thinner building and stretching it out in order to not lose GFA.
- Breaking the mass / stepping back into a taller north 'box' and a shorter south 'box' and integrating the penthouse into the lower block.
- Cantilevering the washrooms over the garage loading dock.
- The Panel noted that there is an opportunity to create a better interior office environment as well as a better relationship to the neighbourhood.
- Elevations need to show the proposed scale in relation to the surrounding context, including the townhouses to the south.
The treatment of the east-west pedestrian connection is a critical component in the project, and the Panel noted that its current treatment is unacceptable, especially with regards to the tightness of the colonnade.
- Consider requesting a variance to move the parking garage ramp to the property line, so that pedestrian pathways may be widened.
- There will be more pedestrian movement along adjacent streets with increasing development in the area. In the proposal, however, Bullman Street would continue to be terminated by very wide, exposed loading docks. Consider, therefore, extending the colonnade wall as a screen across the loading dock entrance.
- Explore the possibility of including doors to the stores along the south façade, underneath the colonnade and possibly even on Hamilton Avenue, accessed by ramp.
- The alcoves that the building and parking ramps create will read more as dead ends. The visual connection between Hamilton Avenue and Holland Avenue needs to be strengthened.
- The Panel is pleased with the curtain wall direction taken in the building design, but encourages the proponent to explore the use of metal panels as opposed to spandrel glass. The panels could also use a warmer colour such as "champagne."
- The Panel recommends that the City consider introducing a double row of trees along Hamilton Avenue.
May 1, 2014
45 MANN AVENUE | Special Panel Review | Site Plan Control Application | 45 Mann LP; Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good presentation and recognizes that this is a challenging project for the architect. However, the project would have benefitted from receiving design review much earlier in the process, when it would have had an easier opportunity to explore other options for the building envelope and the site.
- The Panel is concerned about the overarching philosophy of segregating student housing on sites at this scale that will separate, rather than integrate students in the surrounding community, and the ghettoizing effect this has on them.
- The Panel's primary concern with the proposal is the massive building form. Specifically, the nine-storey datum is problematic over the full site, in relation to the existing neighbourhood as well as the greater context. The Panel strongly recommends exploring ways of breaking up the massing along the length of the building, which presently appears as a large "wedge" extending into the deeper "superblock" site.
- The demand may be high for student units, but the massing is too large for the site and too imposing on the neighbouring houses and school sites. When the adjacent lower scale properties eventually redevelop, it will be difficult to maintain reasonable separation distances unless they compensate for the narrow overlooking setbacks in this proposal.
- The building will also be very visible from multiple vantage points, given that it will extend far above the adjacent small-scale houses and school buildings within the Sandy Hill block.
- The proposal will have not only a dominant local presence, but will also be prominent from the Nicholas Street exit off the Queensway, which is a gateway to the university and city centre. The SITE building (by Ron Keenberg, architect) on the University of Ottawa campus is a gateway landmark and this project will compete for attention, given that it is comparable in size.
- The nine-storey scale of the front elevation appears appropriate for the Mann Avenue edge and the architecture here has been handled well.
- The Panel recommends breaking up the long elevation, perhaps into three separate parts and stepping down the building towards the small scale houses near the rear of the site. The front of the building could possibly be raised a floor if the back section was lowered to a scale closer to the zoning.
- Three pavilion buildings, with a central spine extending through a series of larger courtyards, would also be a better option for the site.
- The Panel is supportive of the level of sophistication of the architecture, despite the difficult building envelope. The front facade, the courtyard, and the integration of the penthouse have all been skilfully handled.
- Glass has been used very well to modulate the long facades, but additional efforts need to be made, using materiality and other means to break up the mass.
- The Panel recommends paying additional attention to the blank sides of the Mann Avenue façade, as the building will protrude by approximately seven metres in front of the adjacent existing buildings. These sides will therefore be very visible from the street, and corner windows or other measures should be considered.
- The use of colour in the building is good and considering it is student housing even more colour could work well.
- The large size of the building proposed on the entire site has compromised the amount of open space that should have been included in the project. As it stands, the proposal feels under-landscaped, with the great majority of existing mature trees removed, and what open spaces are proposed feel residual.
- Should the massing of the project be reworked, additional efforts could be made to accommodate a consolidated open space on the back or sides of the building, and to retain more of the existing trees.
- Consider the possibility of introducing a green roof into the scheme as an alternate means of increasing the amount of amenity space. For more amenity space at grade, bridges between separate pavilions might also be an option.
405 TERMINAL AVENUE | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Ottawa Train Yards Inc.; David S. McRobie Architects Inc.; Holzman Consulting Inc.
- The Panel thanks the proponent for so thoroughly responding to the previous comments. It applauds the good presentation of what promises to be a very elegant, appropriately background building located close to the modern heritage, Ottawa Train Station and a major City gateway.
- Since the last presentation, the simplification and refinement of the building has been very successfully achieved. It has differentiated itself from its more visually assertive sister building at 395 Terminal Avenue, while providing a good, more subtle continuation of the vocabulary.
- The general character of the building works quite well and the evolution of the materials is quite strong. The base / middle / top expression of the building has been strengthened, and the cap at the top refined in tone and much improved.
- The building's south facing orientation would be ideal for integrating sustainability measures to improve operating costs. Offset cores, raised floors, and integration of the glass can be easily implemented, and are effective at improving the performance of the building without increasing building costs.
- The Panel recommends continuing the landscaping treatment of the north end of 395 Terminal Avenue, including the addition of more coniferous trees, along the north edge of this property.
- The full continuation of the double row of trees, along the east side of the parking to the north edge of the property is also recommended.
- The street trees along the Terminal Avenue frontage, omitted from the perspectives of the building, need to be implemented as indicated on the landscape plan.
Open Space Context
- From a site context point of view, the Panel is pleased that the proponent has provided a good pedestrian link to the future open space and train station connections east of the property.
- The Panel strongly recommends that the City ensures that the power plant site to the east is retained for future open space, as a major element of the original Master Plan for the area, in order to preserve the unobstructed setting and setbacks for the heritage Train Station, together with the axial link.
- A large plaza and open space is noted as planned in front of 395 Terminal Avenue but, if necessary, this could be omitted in favour of the far more important, future open space immediately south of the Train Station.
June 5, 2014
1. 101 CHAMPAGNE AVENUE | Formal Review| Site Plan Control Application | Ashcroft Homes; M. David Blakely Architect Inc.; Chmiel Architects Inc.
- This is a critical site for the Preston-Carling District and the "anti-urban" nature of the proposed design for only Phase 1 does not address the importance of the site. The Panel has serious concerns with the proposal's relationship to its context and to the public realm.
- The Panel recommends that the City not approve the proposal without seeing and reviewing the complete scheme. It is difficult to comment on the appropriateness of the application without a plan that illustrates how the entire site will function once both proposed towers are included.
- Given the importance of this site within the Preston-Carling District and the complexity of the issues involved, the Panel recommends that the project either return to the UDRP for a second formal review, or be subject to review by the Tall Building Design Review Panel.
- When the project returns for further review, the proponent needs to provide:
- The master plan for the site, showing what is planned for Phase 2 as well as for Phase 1;
- A plan demonstrating how the scheme fits within the vision for the Preston-Carling District;
- An interim plan (Phase 1) that carefully considers the relationship with the public realm on all three sides of this site, and another plan that illustrates how both phases will interact with the street, with Ev Tremblay Park, and with the treed O-Train corridor;
- Detailed sun/shadow assessments of the impacts on the adjacent Tremblay Park;
- Wind impact studies for Phase 1 as well for the full build-out of the site showing Phases 1 and 2 together;
- Drawings of how the proposed north - south pathway will be incorporated, without private incursions onto public land;
- Sections through the site, both east-west and north-south.
Building Design / Massing
- The Panel is quite pleased with the architectural expression of the first tower and is generally supportive of the clean contemporary aesthetic and strong vertical panels.
- The massing needs to improve its relationship with the O-Train corridor pedestrian pathway, which is one of the greatest community assets in the area. The Panel recommends reducing the separation distances between the two towers by shifting the east tower westward, and avoid the building infringing on public property.
- A podium should also be established on the east side of the building and the tower should be set back at least 3 metres. A podium is not necessary on the west side of the building; however, the continuity of the podium should be visually demarcated.
- The roof expression is strong and the architect should strive to find solutions that avoid having mechanical projections interfere with its design.
- The two towers do not need to be the same size or height. The second tower on the west side should be quite a bit lower.
- The Panel is supportive of the proposed animation/uses of the building at grade and the punched windows on the student housing.
- The Panel understands that the two-tower option supported by the City was based on an earlier scheme which included an open ground floor that facilitated multiple public connections across the site. It also proposed partnership with the City for on-site open space uses closely integrated with those of the adjacent park. These appear to be largely omitted from this proposal.
- The relationship between both buildings and the access to the adjacent public areas therefore needs to be examined much more closely. Additional consideration should be put into the internal programming of the site and how it will address and connect to Ev Tremblay Park to the north.
- The Panel wholly supports a public east-west connection along the south side of the site; however, it currently appears to be a very tight space and needs to be carefully designed so as to not read as entirely private.
- Both building and access driveway are proposed hard against the north edge of the site, with no room for landscape or transition to this important public edge. Consider flipping the driveway to the south side of the site and reinforcing the landscaped edge along Ev Tremblay Park.
- The landscaping scheme needs to be improved. The minimal solution being shown is unsatisfactory, and a more fulsome plan is needed. The neighbourhood assets of the park, the O-Train corridor and pathway, and the street all need to be respected.
- As proposed, the street tree planting along Champagne Avenue is not acceptable. Extend the street trees and landscape treatment along the entire frontage, and provide landscape buffers to the other public edges.
- Consider exploring ways in which the landscaping from Ev Tremblay Park can be carried down into the site.
- The Panel recommends strengthening the public east-west connection along the south end of the site. What is planned for this space needs to be shown in full.
- The Panel expressed significant concerns regarding the wind and shadow impacts that the buildings will have on the site and the adjacent public open spaces. The orientation of the towers and their effect on wind will need to be carefully studied. Currently, it appears as though northern winds will be funnelled between the two towers.
- Detailed wind assessments need to demonstrate that the proposal supports the creation of an environment comfortable for sitting at the southern edge of the park, as well as along Champagne Avenue, between the two towers, and along the east-west connection. The other edges must be comfortable for walking.
- The impacts of the shadows that the proposal will cast upon the park to the north needs to be examined. Currently there appears to be significant shadow impacts by what is proposed.
- In order to properly address the public realm, the Panel recommends that Phase 1 be built along Champagne Avenue and Phase 2 adjacent to the O-Train corridor. Allowing parking at grade between Phase 1 and the street is a suburban solution that is not appropriate in this location, not even as an interim solution.
- If Phase 1 is to remain at the back of the site, the parking needs to go underground and the surface to become greenspace until Phase 2 is built.
2. 111-121 PARKDALE AVENUE AND 71 BURNSIDE AVENUE | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Le Groupe Construction Brigil; Roderick Lahey Architect Inc.; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel appreciates the thought process of the design outlined in the presentation and generally supports the architecture of the proposal.
- The Panel applauds the proponent for including the wind impact analysis in their submission package; however, it has significant concerns regarding the poor pedestrian comfort levels on the site indicated by the study in key locations.
- The Panel encourages the proponent to consider the wind impacts on the third storey amenity space on the building. In addition to issues at the ground level, there will likely be issues there.
- The Panel recommends that the architect take a second look at the possibility of relocating the curvilinear element to the south-east of the building, and the super-grid facade to the north-west side. The rectilinear expression and punched windows would relate better to the approved neighbouring building to the north on Parkdale Avenue and the curvilinear facade would relate well to the approach to the river. This configuration may also benefit the café area.
- The success of the Rhombus was that it had a strong roof top. Consider simplifying and strengthening the skyline vision of the building by allowing one of the two top elements to dominate.
- The Panel recommends removing the top few balconies and lowering the curved form of the north-west facade, so that it not exceed the height of the building to the north. This will help strengthen the datum line along Parkdale Avenue.
- Consider using masonry across the balconies on all facades. This would make the expression more solid and would tie the various façade expressions together.
Ground Floor / Relationship to the Public Realm
- The Panel fully supports the provision of townhouses and the continuity that they create at the base of the building along Parkdale Avenue. However, it should be further strengthened by continuing the colonnade expression to the south, and wrapping it around the south-west corner of the building, where it could end half way across the south facade. This will achieve a strong expression at the ground level and help to mitigate down-drafts affecting the café seating area.
- The wind study concludes that the most challenging issue is at the south-west corner of the site, but the public sitting space is also at this location. Explore the possibility of relocating the podium around this side, rather than the north, in order to reduce wind impacts.
- The Panel recommends continuing and infilling the row of trees along Parkdale Avenue down to the corner intersection.
3. 800 MONTREAL ROAD | Formal Review | Zoning Amendment and Site Plan Control | All Senior Care Living Centres; Page + Steele IBI Group Architects; FOTENN Planning & Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the applicant for the changes that have been made to the scheme in response to the previous comments.
- The Panel is quite pleased with the proposal and feels that it will be a good contribution to the Montreal Road streetscape.
- The Panel is generally pleased with the handsome and effectively designed building.
- A universally accessible entrance, preferably closer to Montreal Road, is needed to avoid steps in the sidewalk from the nearby bus stop. The Panel recommends that the proponent modify the grading on the west side of the building to achieve an accessible edge next to the entrance and relocate the steps to the patio area.
- The strengthening of the main entrance is good. However, the modern expression of the entry canopies and the porte cochère seem at odds with the rest of the building. Consider an expression that fits more closely with the theme of the building.
- The Panel recommends removing the castellated articulation at the top of the building and potentially adding a cornice.
- Consider replacing the glass balustrades with vertical metal picket balustrades, both along the broad faces of the building and at the corner elements. Metal would fit better with the theme and help to reinforce the desired aesthetic.
- For the middle bay along the Le Boutillier façade, the Panel recommends wrapping the entire bay with the same Arriscraft expression that is proposed for the corner elements. The same material should also be taken straight across the cornice line between bays and corners. Consider changing the materials of the corner mansards from the painted metal to copper.
- The Panel recommends modifying the colour of the brick and the Arriscraft to reduce the starkness of the contrast between the two.
- The main rear entrance would be improved if the drop-off area under the porte cochère was designed with more of a courtyard expression. A change in the paving treatment, lusher landscaping, and additional seating possibilities would greatly improve the space. Easing the turning radius may help free up space for landscaping, as well as increasing the space for planting and sitting close to the building around this internal courtyard.
- The street trees along the Montreal Road frontage are good. Consider a less formal, more naturalistic landscaping treatment than currently proposed for the slopes behind the sidewalk, to improve the steep transition between Montreal Road and the building's ground floor.
- The Panel recommends that additional attention be given to buffering the electrical transformer from the outdoor amenity terrace with additional landscaping.
- The south-west vehicle entrance to the site and the user's experience in the outdoor amenity space would be improved by removing the first few parking spaces.
- The improved landscaping to buffer the adjacent townhouses along the south edge of the site is supported. The Panel commented on the apparently large parking numbers for the facility (compared to zoning), which seem to contribute to grading and tree retention issues. These could be significantly improved by removal of only a few parking spaces.
4. 370 HUNTMAR DRIVE | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application and Zoning By-Law Amendment | Minto Group Inc.; Pellow + Associates Architects Inc.; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good presentation and an interesting proposal.
Pedestrian Spaces / Connections
- The corner piazzas have a strong potential for being a good urban moment; however, they seem under-animated and inactive. The Panel recommends wrapping glazing around the edges of the abutting buildings, with doors and active uses/terraces linking the inside of the buildings to the outdoor spaces.
- The pedestrian entrances at the north-east and north-west corners of the site are good, but mid-block pedestrian paths should be added / strengthened, especially from potential bus stop locations.
- The north-south pedestrian linkages at the corner piazzas to the townhouses to the north should also be reinforced.
- The southern edge of the property has the potential to be a great location due to the proximity of Feedmill Creek. The site plan misses opportunities to bring pedestrians into the site from the Canadian Tire Centre and from the creek pathway. The Panel recommends strengthening the pedestrian links and landscaping along this edge.
- The furniture plan and lighting strategy will need to be resolved with City staff.
- The Panel recommends avoiding the need for a retaining wall along Huntmar Drive. Explore options that improve the pedestrian connections from the street and that would permit the pedestrian entrances to be used.
- If there is more than a two foot drop in grade at the property line, railings would be needed along the sidewalk. This should be avoided with an improved grading solution.
- The Panel recommends relocating a building to the location of the currently proposed drive-through at the south-west entry to the site. Other options for the location of the drive-through should be explored, including on the north edge of the site, between Blocks 600 and 700.
- The Panel recommends making block 400 smaller and block 300 larger so that the loading space between the two buildings can be aligned with the east-west drive aisle. This will improve sightlines into and through the site.
- Orient the loading dock on the west side of the block 900 so that it is aligned with the orientation of the loading dock on block 902. This may cause geometrical complications for the trucks, but will increase store frontage and will improve views from the north and the west of the building.
- There are concerns that there may be some access/turning challenges at the south-east vehicle intersection, once the development south of Feedmill Creek is implemented. This will also increase public exposure to the rear façade of Block 900 alongside "Street No. 1" that connects to the Campeau Drive roundabout.
Building Design / Materiality
- The façades of block 900 will be much more public than is suggested by the site plan, including its rear facade. EIFS should be replaced with a higher quality material such as metal panels, which would achieve a higher level of permanence.
- The Panel applauds the proponent's efforts to increase the amount of planting on the interior of the scheme. The planting of the public streets, however, is still weak. A more robust treatment is recommended and street trees should form a solid green edge along all sides of the property.
- The trees on the site will need a minimum of 15 cubic meters of soil volume to survive. The small trees shown in the sidewalk around blocks 900 and 902 are especially at risk of not surviving without adequate soil volumes.
- The proponent needs to ensure that there is sufficient vegetation on the strips next to the loading docks on blocks 900 and 902 to ensure that they are properly screened.
- The street trees along Huntmar Drive should continue along the outside of the site, rather than end at block 300, and wrap the corner into the vehicular entry-way. The plantings can be removed from the drive-through strip if necessary.
- A landscape buffer is required between Feedmill Creek and the large parking area (to Blocks 100 and 200).
- There will be a significant amount of snow that will need to be removed from the site in winter months. A removal strategy will need to detail where snow will be piled and ensure that it is not stored at the base of the trees in the planting islands. This would lead to weak and dead trees.
5. 1800 BASELINE ROAD | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Minto Properties Inc.; Paquette Planning Associates Ltd.
- The Panel expressed overwhelming support for the project and appreciates the design team's willingness to work with the Panel and the City on this difficult site.
- The project has undergone a series of improvements since the proponent's first pre-consultation with the Panel and it has evolved into a handsome project. This project will serve as an important prototype for future student housing projects.
- To reconcile the steep change in grade between the west side of the parking garage and the sidewalk along Navaho Drive, the asphalt pathway should be curved around the slopes and existing trees.
- Path connections are needed across the grass between the main pathway and the inter-block bicycle racks.
- Secondary paths/landscaping treatment appear necessary between the rear stairs in the back yard. Will they descend directly onto grass?
- On the Navaho Drive facade of the building to the west, the Panel recommends carrying the brick up the facade to the second storey cornice line. The datum line should then wrap around the corner along the front facade. The side facades of the other buildings can primarily use Hardie Board.
- On the front facades of all the buildings, brick should also carry across the first two storeys of the facades.
- The Panel recommends planting an additional tree to fill the gap in the line of street trees along Baseline Road towards the Navaho Drive intersection.
- Landscaping between the garbage area and the pedestrian pathway would help improve the scheme. Trees should also help to define/buffer the east boundary with the slab to the east.
- The line of trees along Baseline Road are a major asset to the scheme. It would be very unfortunate if all the trees disappeared if/when the road is widened by the City.
July 3, 2014
1. QUEEN STREET RENEWAL PROJECT | Formal Review | City of Ottawa; Parsons Corp. (Delcan); The Planning Partnership
*David Leinster declared a conflict of interest and did not comment during the recommendation period for this application.
- The Panel congratulates the consultants and staff on the incredible effort and high-quality of work on this project.
- The Panel raised the broader planning question of the project's success in relation to the area's current land uses. For the street to maintain a high-level of vitality at all times of the day, more people will need to be living in the area.
- The Panel feels that the LRT station designs and entrances do not adequately capitalize on the opportunity of creating gateways to the popular tourist destinations, close to the study area.
Parliament Station LRT Entrance
- The Panel expressed major concern with the design of the Parliament Station in particular, and the very tight surrounding spaces it creates with adjacent buildings and with the public realm.
- The blank wall along the south side of the station entrance is especially problematic. It should be modified and opened up with glass.
- The Panel questions whether such a large entrance structure to the station is needed, vis-à-vis anticipated ridership levels at peak hours. Many subway stations in larger cities around the world function well with narrower staircases that take up less space in the public realm, despite higher volumes of users.
- If the entrance cannot be reduced in size, more space in the public realm would be freed up by shifting the entrance structure right up against the property line.
- The proposed palette of furnishing and lighting components seems promising, but the Panel has some reservations regarding the bench, on which the arm-rest / feet curves appear slightly awkward.
- The proponent should continue to strive to find a scheme which avoids looking "catalogued," but achieves a common vocabulary and creates a unified feel to the street.
- The Panel supports the design feature of using the same paving materials for parking and sidewalk space. Extension of the same paving onto the adjacent spaces of adjoining properties along the street, such as at Manulife, is strongly encouraged and would transform the apparent quality of the public realm.
- The Panel expressed concern at the scale / impact of the ventilation stack outside the Parliament Station. Efforts should be made to reduce / mask it or incorporate the grating into it.
- Consider the use of LED lighting for the street fixtures.
- Given the number of opportunities for public art in other locations close to the study area, such as on Sparks Street and on Confederation Boulevard, the Panel feels that public art should not be as high a priority of the project as its other objectives.
- Rather than dispersing art along the street, consider consolidating it into a few large gestures at the ends of the street to create public art spaces.
- The remaining art should be integrated into the stations, negotiated with owners to be included on private property, or incorporated into poles, benches and other street furniture.
- Art pieces should aim for simplicity in design, and providing a comfortable place for pedestrians should be the priority.
- If the large vent outside the Parliament Station entrance cannot be moved from the streetscape, then consider incorporating public art into its design.
- Sustainability Features
- To save space in the public realm, the Panel recommends choosing certain moments along the street to showcase the sustainability measures, rather than having them be visible along the entire plan. The majority of sustainability measures should be hidden beneath the surface.
- In terms of plantings, the Panel recommends avoiding the use of structural soil and using Silva Cell or Strata Cell instead.
- For further advice on soils, reference the work of James Urban, who studies all these options. Contacting Gerry Lajeunesse, who is familiar with Silva Cell and street tree technology through his extensive work on the NCC's Confederation Boulevard, may also be of value.
- The Panel pointed out that the tree grates may be problematic for snow removal during the winter months, as well as for salt leakage into the tree cells.
2. 1423 EARL-ARMSTRONG ROAD (RIVERSIDE SOUTH CENTRE) | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application and Zoning By-Law Amendment | Metro Ontario Inc.; Pearce McCluskey Architects Inc.; Novatech Engineering Consultants
- The Panel appreciates the proponent's response to previous recommendations and the extent of thought that has been put into the scheme.
- The proposal is moving in the right direction. However, some site plan details remain unresolved and the plan still comes across as pinched in some areas.
- The Panel recommends moving Building H closer to the edge of the site and relocating the drive-through lane to north of the building, similar to the layout of Building F.
- The corner gateway plaza is one of the nicer features of the proposal. To help frame it better and provide some sense of enclosure, the Panel recommends that the proponent explore the option of shifting Building F to the west with the space defined between Buildings E and F.
- At the very least, consider flipping the five parking spaces on the west side of Building F to the east side, and shifting the building slightly to the west. This would allow the pedestrian connection, from the sidewalk to be constructed along Earl Armstrong Rd, to relocate to the east side of the building and align with the north-south pedestrian axis leading to Building B.
- The Panel encourages the proponent to ensure that there is enough space between buildings, so that it is possible for them to eventually evolve into pedestrian entrances to the site.
- The canopy proposed for Amenity 2 is a nice addition, but the dimensions of the space will have to be examined very closely to ensure that the canopy allows sufficient usable space under it for the public.
- The Panel urges the proponent to consider metal or cementitious panels for the green materials of the grocery store. It will be difficult to make it look nice using EIFS.
- The landscaped pedestrian area in the middle of the parking lot is a strength of the plan. It seems quite tight for adequate tree space, however, and may risk damage by snow removal. The proponent is encouraged to remove a couple of parking spaces, or find a possible geometrical shift on the site, that would help to free up some additional space and strengthen the landscaped north/south link.
- The Panel also recommends creating space to include more trees along the east-west pedestrian walkway, to improve the comfort of the connection for pedestrians.
- The Panel expressed concern that insufficient soil volumes may be an issue for the survival of trees in the parking lot and plaza. Strata cells may help improve their survival rate, but sacrificing a few parking spaces for greater planting area would be the best solution.
- Consider moving all street trees along Limebank Road and Earl-Armstrong Road into the public right-of-way to support the sidewalks. Assuming there will be a sidewalk along Earl-Armstrong Road, it would be preferable to line the sidewalk with trees rather than line the edge of the parking lot. A double row of trees should be considered.
- Mosquito Creek seems largely ignored by the scheme. Having the servicing of the Buildings A, B and C face the creek leaves little opportunity for creating an interface between the development and the natural feature.
- Particular care must be taken with grading of the eastern access road for the impact on the existing treed edge to the creek, and ensuring replacement of the trees / vegetation removed along this edge.
3. 236 RICHMOND ROAD | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | GB Associates; Vincent P. Colizza Architect Inc.
- The Panel compliments the proponent on a handsome project which has noticeably improved since its last presentation to the UDRP.
- The main body of the project has been well-designed and the solids and articulated portions have been balanced well.
- The top two floors should receive additional attention, as they seem somewhat unresolved at the moment. Syncopated sill heights may help downplay the continuous horizontal striation.
- The Panel also recommends increasing the amount of glazing on the upper two floors as much as possible, to help them become more recessive.
- The Panel recommends that the proponent consider modifying the size of the bay on the corner of Tweedsmuir Avenue and Richmond Road to increase the space dedicated to an outdoor café. Explore the possibility of having a glass element extend vertically from this corner from the top to bottom.
- The balconies on the 8th floor have been designed with a nice subtlety to them.
- The Panel recommends unifying the colour scheme throughout the project. Currently, the Arriscraft base is a cream colour and the upper floors are a grey-white.
- Consider the use of spandrel instead of metal panels on the upper two floors.
4. 1040 OGILVIE ROAD | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Ogilvie Realty Ltd.; Farrow-Dreessen Architects Inc.
- The Panel acknowledges that this is a difficult site for this type of urban development. However, it encourages the proponent to have the proposal make a greater gesture to the public realm and to have the building better address the important corner of Ogilvie Road and Cyrville Road.
- Building Corner Design
- The semi-circular canopy does not sufficiently help draw the building towards the corner, as intended. If the building itself cannot be pulled to the corner, the Panel recommends putting additional study into how this effect may be achieved. Ideas worth studying may include:
- Extending the canopy across the facade from the vertical element to the corner of the building, or at the very least past the two pillars.
- Improving the vertical portion by heightening it or by wrapping glazing around the corner of the building.
- The Panel recommends refraining from display cars on the corner of Ogilvie Road and Cyrville Road. Having them in front of the building is a preferable option. The Panel supports the proposal to have only 2 cars on display on the east side of the building.
- The Panel maintains that a greater effort is needed towards properly landscaping the site and greening the streetscape. It cited several precedents from similar dealerships that have made much greater contributions than what is currently proposed for this site.
- If the building is not able to adequately address the corner of Ogilvie Road and Cyrville Road, the Panel strongly recommends that, at the very minimum, the proposal make a significant landscape investment. A perceivable pedestrian experience should be achieved at this corner as the threshold to Cyrville's future link to the LRT and increasing development.
- Unit pavers should be used over the entire north east corner of the site, rather than have the asphalt break in it.
- The trees should be moved closer to public property, so that they become public street trees.
5. KANATA AVENUE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT | Capital Project | City of Ottawa; Dillon Consulting Ltd.
- The Panel fully supports the efforts of this project to bring public realm improvements and a certain urbanity to this location. The key will be finding the right balance between the many design elements in the cross sections.
- The Panel feels that the weakness of this proposal is that it does not convey a definitive idea of how the improvements plan to fit into what kind of development is expected, to frame the street in the future. It is recommended that massings are shown of what type of development is anticipated, in cross sections and renderings.
- While the Panel commends the proponent's efforts to bring a certain degree of urbanity to this area, it will have to express itself as specifically downtown Kanata, not downtown Ottawa or Montreal, etc. This will need to be reflected in the furnishing and plantings.
- The Panel fully supports the project's ambition to improve the cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in this area.
- The Panel recommends narrowing the travel lanes to at least 3.25m. Given the width of the street and its slope, cars travelling at high speeds will otherwise likely make it difficult for the two sides of the street to relate to each other, and will make crossing uncomfortable for pedestrians.
- Explore the possibility of creating "flex space" by raising street parking to the same level as the sidewalk and using a similar paving material (as for Queen St revitalization project in downtown Ottawa). This would help improve the perception that there is more pedestrian space, while retaining on-street parking.
- The panel supports segregated bike lanes.
- Rather than use gateway feature elements, the Panel recommends using key buildings to demarcate the gateways to the adjacent sites.
- Based on the width of the street, the scheme should ideally be lined with moderate-sized development in the eight- to ten-storey range, with taller buildings behind. Buildings used to identify the access gateways to the adjacent sites could be taller.
- Future development along the street should be encouraged to use brick as a primary building material. This would help relate the buildings to Bill Teron's Beaverbrook materiality (cited by the proposal), in contrast to the sea of EIFS so far used south of the study area.
- The proposal should include what specific soil volumes and types of soil are planned to ensure the survival of street trees. 15 cubic metres per tree in a tree trench is recommended. Structural soil is not recommended. Consider the use of soil cells to meet soil volume requirements.
- The Panel recommends a consistent tree / landscape treatment along both sides of the street. The height and canopy of a large species of street tree is strongly recommended.
- The tree zone indicated is much too narrow. A minimum of two metres is recommended. A double row of trees would be appropriate for a road of this scale.
- The Panel supports selectively introducing rocks and other vernacular landscaping elements.
August 7, 2014
No meeting held.
September 4, 2014
No meeting held.
October 2, 2014
231 Eric Czapnik Way (241 Centrum Blvd.) | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Phoenix Homes; Morris Melamed Architect; Novatech Engineering Inc.; James B. Lennox & Associates Inc.
- The Panel is pleased by how this proposal has evolved and is sympathetic to the constraints of this isolated site.
- City staff are encouraged to request greater detail of Phase 2 from the proponent to help understand the evolution, interface and implications of the full inter-related development on the site.
Townhouse Massing and Design
- The Panel is sympathetic to the building type on this site, however the end units and those visible from the public realm should receive different treatment and improved materials. To avoid having blank walls at the end of blocks, the units should architecturally define the corner, using different entrances, architectural features, and windows.
- Similarly, the block alignment is problematic, leaving the rears of certain units exposed, especially on Blocks 4 and 5. Design solutions may be possible, but there may be too many units packed into this space. Changing the orientation of some units, or staggering them so that the follow the curve of the street may help.
- Rather than use landscaping and "gateway" elements to define gateways, the Panel recommends achieving this architecturally, using improvements to the end units.
- The plan does not appear to show the true impact of the roads shown going up the escarpment. The Panel recommends that the one on the east side not be built at all, because of its impact on the escarpment, and that the eastern, upper townhomes instead be extended across the reserved ROW.
- The Panel expressed concerns regarding the ability for pedestrians to move safely through the site. It is important to make this as walkable a community as possible.
- The movement of children to move safely between Blocks 4 and 5 to the park is especially of concern, with the lack of a sidewalk on this portion. Consider a special paving treatment between these blocks and the park to slow traffic, add character, and improve the safety of pedestrian connections.
- The marine clay soil is a significant issue in species selection, but the Panel recommends exploring alternatives to improve street trees. Given that the soil will be replaced in many areas, opportunities to use a greater diversity of species should be explored. This would make an important contribution to the community.
- Reconsider the dense landscaping buffer adjacent to the visitor parking, as it may be problematic for children moving through the park, escarpment and site.
- The Panel recommends not using crabapple as a species.
- Consider the use of natural rock as an effective way of linking the parks.
- The Panel recommends pairing the driveways on Blocks 4 and 5 to be able to consolidate the private greenspaces.
- Given the constraint in tree planting, as many mature trees as possible should be retained along the south edge and west end of Phases 1 and 2. Too many currently appear to be eradicated by the townhomes layout. The escarpment trees are an important part of the area, but many of them seem too close to the buildings in Phase 2 to provide them with an opportunity for retention.
- Add street trees to the new roads up the escarpment in order to add to the rather sparse landscaping to the development and the escarpment's existing tree cover.
- The Panel supports the London/Philadelphia townhouse references, but remarked that these typically are almost exclusively built using brick. The use of aluminum siding on the backs of the townhomes is discouraged and, if used, the proponent will need to take precautions that it cannot be seen from the public realm.
- The materials used in the public realm should be reviewed, including those of the sidewalk and the parking lot.
89-97 Beechwood Avenue | Formal Review | Site Plan Control and Zoning By-Law Amendment | Claridge Homes; Chmiel Architects Inc.
- The Panel expressed general support for the proposal and the building which is nicely proportioned and quite handsome. However, it has significant concerns over the lack of transition to the small-scale built form on the residential streets.
- For zoning amendments of this or a similar nature, it would be beneficial for City staff and the proponent to articulate as-of-right zoning information graphically in the submission package in order to supplement the numerical information and demonstrate how the proposed development deviates from the existing angular plane.
Massing / Context
- The Panel recommends that the proponent explore opportunities to have the building better respond to the scale and privacy of the houses on the side streets. The massing is currently very assertive, especially on Langevin. Incorporating townhomes into the project on the side streets and increasing the stepback on the north side may improve the transition.
- The proponent is encouraged to look at sculpting the upper two floors as a way of mitigating shadows. Based on the shadow study, March and September look to be problematic for neighbours to the north. It should compare both the impacts of the as-of-right zoning as well that of the proposal.
- The Panel questioned whether significant community benefits were being received in exchange for the extra density being created.
- The church should be considered the landmark building on Beechwood Avenue and the proposal should find ways of complementing this, possibly by emphasizing some level of verticality at the corner.
- The Panel strongly recommends eliminating the balconies on the sixth floor or pulling them into the facade as Juliet balconies and have the brick return. This may help improve the stepback and have the building better relate to the pitched roof of the church.
- The corner balconies deserve additional attention. They will be very visible while driving along Beechwood Avenue and perhaps the scheme would be stronger without them. If they remain in the plan, the column should be removed from them.
- The Beechwood facade is quite long and opportunities to break up the massing should be explored. Consider stronger vertical breaks at the frames to emphasize the verticality at these places.
- Overlook privacy issues may be present on the north side of the property. Placing the windows at an angle on the rear of the lot may help improve this issue.
- Explore opportunities to improve the articulation of the retail frontages on the ground plane.
- Signage may be an issue. How it will be integrated will be important.
- The Panel was supportive of the palette of materials, however, the aluminum panels must be high quality materials and value engineering should be avoided. Similarly, the masonry used on the facade must avoid looking too thin.
Public Realm / Landscaping
- The proponent should consider a richer landscaping treatment along the side streets using trees and shrubs. This will help soften the edge between the ramp and the neighbouring property on Langevin Avenue.
- With respect to the road widening, the proponent and staff should be mindful of the tightness of space that will be created by competing uses including the bus stop, street trees, café space, and cycle tracks.
- Too many of these elements should not be crammed into the corner where there is a change in the sidewalk width next to the neighbouring property. This would be an ideal space for outdoor café seating.
- Street trees should not be sacrificed to permit space for cycle tracks.
488-500 Bank Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Urban Capital Inc.; Roderick Lahey Architect Inc.; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel has general support for the project and the elegantly designed building.
- The small details at the street level will be critical to the success of this project. The urge to value engineer the material must be resisted.
- The Panel recommends exploring ways of breaking up the facade of the building along Bank by strengthening the vertical expression. This would also help with the reading of the penthouse.
- The south facade of the building is quite prominent and heavy. The Panel recommends lightening it through the use of additional materials, removing the spandrels, or lightening the prow.
- The Panel recommends that the proponent explore opportunities to lighten the penthouse projection. The depth of the horizontal overhangs may be too large, which make it appear too close to the north and east edges.
- The transition to the delicate scale along Flora is not ideal. The transition may be improved by pulling the end frame back so that it doesn't project over the garage.
The Panel questioned whether the black brick would be compatible with the red brick of the adjacent buildings. The proponent is encouraged to explore a palette of dark panelling and red brick variations. Terracotta may be an interesting material that relates to the red brick of the street.
- The Panel is pleased to see that the bus stop area has been integrated into the project.
- There is a good opportunity to provide a robust landscape/streetscape treatment along Flora Street to create a gateway to the residential street. Street trees and gardens should be combined.
- The Panel expressed concern that the potted conifers will likely freeze over the winter months. It may be difficult to choose an appropriate tree for the rear terrace as coniferous trees are difficult to keep alive, but this can be overcome with appropriate architecture. The Virginia creeper can be effective at masking or cascading.
630 Eagleson Road | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | All Seniors Care Living Centres; Page + Steele IBI Group Architects; FOTENN Planning and Urban Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for an informative and fulsome presentation on a kind of facility that will become increasingly necessary coming years.
- The courtyard grid and active landscaping is a strong approach to designing a facility of this type.
- As proposed, the building feels shoehorned into the site and the programming is very tight. The Panel strongly recommends reducing the size of the building by removing some units. The space created around the edges of the site should be used to improve the periphery treatment for the units facing onto them, perhaps by an attractively designed fence or wall. It is questioned whether the existing depth permits both a continuous path and adequate trees / landscaping.
- The Panel recommends strengthening the pedestrian approach to the main entrance of the building. Consider carrying the sidewalk materials right up to the door, so that the space reads as a pedestrian area that cars are permitted to pass through.
- Explore alternate options for vehicle access points. The service entrance could possibly be flipped to Denzil Doyle Court. The vehicle entrances could be split into a separate entrance and exit to avoid having such a large turning / paved area.
- The Panel was concerned with the entrance shared with Tim Horton's and the potential vehicle stacking conflicts interfering with emergency and other vehicle access.
- Consider whether the courtyards will be able to be accessed over all four seasons. If so, the removal of snow may be a difficult challenge that will need some thought.
Relationship to Public Realm
- The proposal currently has very little presence on the arterial road. However, given that it is not an urban condition and there is a significant change in grade, perhaps providing an extensive landscaping treatment along Eagleson Road would be better than having the building try to relate to the public realm as though it were an urban setting.
- An extensively landscaped edge should be the primary gesture along Eagleson Road and the architecture secondary. A lush garden-like treatment that opens up at the entry point is recommended.
- The building's main entrance should be granted additional height or receive additional articulation. This will help to animate the long and low profile of the building.
- The roof will be the most visible part of the facade from Eagleson Road. The Panel recommends giving this side of the roof additional attention and using cedar shingles, copper accents, or dormer windows.
November 6, 2014
192, 196 BRONSON AVENUE & 31 CAMBRIDGE STREET NORTH | Formal Review | Zoning By-Law Amendment and Site Plan Control Application | Lamb Development Corp.; CORE Architects Inc.; FOTENN Planning & Urban Design; O2 Planning + Design
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good presentation, the quality of the renderings and the fulsome analysis. However, it was disappointed to see the evolution of the project move away from the previous design, which was a very good scheme.
- Despite positive advancements in the design of the public realm in this most recent iteration of the proposal, the Panel was more supportive of the previously proposed massing. The Panel recommends returning to the previous scheme (version 2) or exploring a hybrid of the two.
- The Panel recommends reducing the height of the project so that it relates to the ridgeline of St. Vincent Hospital. The hospital dominates the views from the Parkway and the views of the civic building should be retained.
- Similarly, the neighbourhood gradually steps down in scale from east to west and reducing the building's height would fit better into this context.
- A better solution for the top of the tower is one that that pulls back the top, rather than creating an overhang.
- The Panel understands the proponent's rationale for removing the wings of the project to resolve unit overlook issues but recommends investigating alternative solutions. Consider retaining the wings in the massing and alleviating the overlook issues by having them single-loaded with the corridor facing towards the interior.
- The Panel is fully supportive of the treatment of the townhouse condition along Cambridge Street.
- Rather than have them only visible at the ground floor and above the podium, consider carrying the industrial pillars straight down to grade.
- The Panel expressed concern regarding the short facing distances of the units on the southern facade that will be facing a blank wall.
- Concerns remain with the location of the one-storey garage, although flipping it from the townhouse area to the other side is appreciated.
- The ground plane has been greatly improved with the width of the walkway increased to 10 metres. However, the Panel believes that the contribution to the pedestrian realm comes at too high a cost.
- Explore possibilities of retaining the width of the wide walkway, while knitting the overhang with the walkway. This would retain the spaciousness but create a more intimate public realm with a more interesting typology.
- If the courtyard space from the previous design is no longer planned for the walkway, consider finding other ways that the space may be broken up effectively into multiple units.
- If there are no active uses or points of interest at grade, then the wideness of the walkway may not serve any purpose.
December 3, 2014
84-96 HINTON AVENUE NORTH | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Takyan Consulting & Development Inc.; Robertson Martin Architects Inc.
- The Panel is pleased to see a good contemporary addition being proposed for the neighbourhood, and that is simultaneously reminiscent of a pre-war housing typology.
- The Panel expressed concerns regarding the setback at the rear of the property, despite the proposal adhering to zoning regulations. The building appears close to and overlooking the adjacent lots, which could be developed in a similar way in the future.
- The parking spaces in the rear of the site currently seem quite tight. Consider removing the four parking spaces on either side of the lot. This style of housing may be attractive to young families, and perhaps the reclaimed space could be transformed into a small children's play space.
- Investigate the possibility of splitting the access to the parking lot into separate narrower, access and egress lanes. This would allow the building footprints to be slightly reconfigured, and to establish a more regular rhythm along the street, while allowing a pedestrian link through the centre .
- If the present central, wide access has to be retained, the paving and treatment should be made more pedestrian friendly as a shared access route.
- Consider distinguishing the smaller scale building more from the others to help the development transition into the existing neighbourhood.
- Investigate the possibility of raising the level of the porch in front of the buildings. If this were to be done, however, accessibility issues from the sidewalk would have to be taken into consideration.
- The Panel recommends exploring the possibility of designing the upper units on the rear of the buildings as loft units, up to the permitted zoning height. This may help to allow the west side of the massing to be pulled slightly more away from the rear property line.
- Consider pulling the brick up another storey on the front facade of the north-most building. This would help to continue the datum line established by the three-storey neighbouring building and also retain some of the scale of the neighbourhood.
- The Panel is concerned with the use of stucco on the side elevations, especially on the south elevation, which will be very visible. Incorporating more brick into the elevation, or using a fiberboard with a three dimensionality to it, would be preferable options.
- The Panel strongly recommends wrapping the brick of the front facade further around the corner of the buildings. Ending the brick so close to the front edge of the buildings gives the projecting portion the effect of being appliqué.
- The Panel is supportive of the use of wood in the balconies; however the slender pillars have a weak appearance and will likely be easily damaged. Consider making them more robust by widening them, equivalent to the other side, and "carving out" openings needed.
- Rather than use brick above the storefronts, consider a more flexible material. As signage is changed over the years, the removal/replacement of signs would damage the brickwork.
- Consider the use of simple black iron banisters for the balconies.
- The soft landscaping in the front of the cafés is quite successful; however, the proponent needs to consider whether the trees would contribute or detract from the public realm. Some of the species do not thrive in urban environments.
- The Panel recommends widening the pedestrian access areas to the proposed café / commercial units to help strengthen their connection to the sidewalk.
235-241 Bank Street & 318-320 Lisgar Street | Formal Review | Site Plan Control Application | Farrow-Dreessen Architects; Holzman Consulting Inc.
- The Panel thanks the proponent for a good presentation and especially the thorough photographic coverage of the context.
- The Panel is supportive of the scale of the development along this historic mainstreet. However, the Panel questions whether the replication of the historic character in this way, or a more contemporary design would better fit the character of the street.
- The Panel is pleased that the proponent has taken steps seeking to design a building that is sympathetic to the heritage character of Bank Street. However, the Panel believes the present design is too exuberant for the context. The building succeeds in picking up the historical proportion of the windows and walls, but has tried to incorporate too many small, conflicting heritage details.
- The Panel recommends either simplifying the heritage aspects of the present building design or taking an elegant contemporary approach to the design of the building. To simplify the heritage aspects, consider removing some of the detailing around windows, and/or the pilasters which do not support anything.
- Continuing the datum lines set by the neighbouring buildings may help this building better relate to its context. Consider having the fenestration and other features align with the cues established by the neighbouring red brick building to the south, or the roof line of the Wallack's building across Lisgar Street to the north.
- Think of the building as a simple base, middle, top expression, where the base and the middle are fairly similar to their surroundings and the top is lighter.
- Consider deepening the entrances to the building to help free up more space at the street level.
- The Panel applauds the scale and style objective of the development, which are generally appropriate for this traditional mainstreet, but with a few exceptions.
- The Panel recommends pushing the "courtyard", presently on the north facade, to the south side of the building. This would simplify the facade, improve sun access to the courtyard, and better support the historical style of the perimeter building. This would allow for a streetwall condition on the north facade.
- City staff should consider waiving the requirement of the sight triangle at the corner of the building. This would not only improve the corner, but present an opportunity to provide more glazing at the corner.
- Consider simplifying the penthouse on the south side, and also having it step down to the institutional building to the east.
- The palette of colours chosen for the building and the two-toned brick are very good. The use of masonry is fully supported.
- Investigate opportunities to improve the public realm surrounding the project. Street trees, planters, and/or benches would be a welcome addition at this part of Bank Street as well as along Lisgar Street. Benches would need to be designed simply to be appropriate.