Located on a busy thoroughfare characterized by a mix of single-family residential and commercial properties, this project in Toronto’s North York neighbourhood occupies a site that formerly housed two wartime bungalows. A mixed-use program of office and residential comprises the five-storey building: a small ground-floor lobby provides access to two storeys of office space above, on top of which are five good-sized apartments – three of which are spread over two levels.
In response to the contextual conditions of the low-rise homes in the neighbourhood, the residential component of the building terraces down at the rear, enabling all five of the apartments to enjoy generously sized south-facing balconies. Living space is thereby extended to the outdoors, maximizing enjoyment of the salubrious effects of fresh air and the sun’s warming rays.
The modestly proportioned site challenged the design team to maximize efficiency: in addition to a ground-floor lobby, functions at grade include covered surface parking for bicycles and eight vehicles, and entry to a hydraulic stacker that enables access to parking for eight more vehicles underground. To animate the building’s façade, this parking area is dramatically screened with perforated backlit aluminum, behind which glows an anodized aluminum wall with a gold-colour finish. This same material will also imbue the wrap and soffit of the building’s entry with a compelling metallic sheen.
The building employs a hybrid system of structural steel frame alongside nail-laminated timber, allowing the office space to enjoy the rich warmth of exposed wood ceilings. Corrugated steel cladding and curtain wall articulate the building’s exterior, a contemporary expression that positively contributes to the street’s evolution towards densification and an increasingly varied mix of use and zoning.