Oben Flats | Harbord Towns

Toronto, Ontario

Located on a site that previously housed a gas station on Harbord Street in midtown Toronto, this new six-unit townhouse development continues the scale and pattern of the existing residential housing stock while establishing a paradigm for the future of multi-unit housing in urban centres. It forms a distinct and dynamic street edge with sharp, orthogonal geometries, and marks a positive addition to the wide variety of low-rise residential, commercial and institutional building types that comprise Harbord Street.

Strikingly graphic through the use of contrasting white and black brick and enlivened with bold orange accents, the building exterior is complemented by a similarly sleek and streamlined interior. Each of the units includes approximately two-thousand square feet of efficiently planned and abundantly lit living space spread out over four levels. The main entry, garage and office occupy the lowest level, above which are the public functions of kitchen, living and dining. Two bedrooms, a bathroom and laundry facilities occupy the second floor, culminating in a large private master ensuite on the top floor.

Rich, natural materials predominate: a highly sculptural stair is crafted from oak panels, matched by similarly stained oak floors and handrails. Custom Scavolini kitchen and bathroom cabinets also feature an oak finish and are complemented by porcelain floor tiles and quartz countertops.

Despite Harbord Towns’ urban context, access to outdoor space is not neglected: a rear balcony off the main-floor dining room encourages meals to be taken al fresco, and a south-facing terrace off the top-floor master ensuite ensures private outdoor relaxation. This connection to the outdoors can also be fully enjoyed from the homes’ interior spaces, as cleverly framed views of the neighbourhood and skyline are provided through large tilt-and-turn aluminum windows and skylights.

To reduce both construction time and waste, the townhouses were designed as prefabricated, panelized wood structures. Wall, floor and roof panels were factory-built, flat-packed and trucked directly to site, allowing framing to be efficiently erected in just a few weeks.

photo: Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc