60 Richmond Housing Cooperative / Teeple Architects

© Shai Gil Photography

Architects: Teeple Architects
Location: Toronto, Canada
Principal in Charge: Stephen Teeple
Project Manager: Chris Radigan
Project Architects: Richard Lai (OAA), William Elsworthy
Structural Engineer: CPE Structural Consultants Limited
Mechanical Engineer: Jain & Associates
Electrical Engineer: Jain & Associates
Shoring Engineer: Tarra Engineering Inc.
Geo-Environmental Engineer: Toronto Inspection Ltd.
LEED Consultant: Enermodal Engineering Ltd.
Landscape: NAK Design Group
Acoustical Consultant: Aercoustics Engineering Ltd.
Food Service & Waste: Cini-Little International Inc.
Specification: DGS Consulting Services
Project Area: 99,565 sq ft
Budget: 20.4M
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Shai Gil Photography

ground floor plan
second floor plan

One of ’ latest projects, 60 Richmond East Housing Co-operative, was completed in March of 2010. This 11-story, 85-unit mixed use building is among the first new housing co-ops to be built in Toronto in recent years. It won the Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award (2010) and the Canadian Architect Award of Excellence (2007). It has achieved LEED Gold certification for environmental stewardship.

The project results from collaboration between the local city councilor, the hospitality workers’ union ‘UNITE HERE’, and Toronto Community Housing. Many of the tenants are being relocated here as part of the revitalization of the Regent Park social housing project. The new residents are primarily employed in the hospitality and restaurant industry.

© Shai Gil Photography
unfolded interior elevation

The client program – a housing co-op for hospitality workers that would be economical to build and maintain – was a key inspiration for the design which incorporates social spaces dedicated to food and its production. The result is a small-scale, but nevertheless full-cycle ecosystem described as “urban permaculture”; the resident-owned and operated restaurant and training kitchen on the ground floor is supplied with vegetables, fruit and herbs grown on the sixth floor terrace. The kitchen garden is irrigated by storm water from the roofs. Organic waste generated by the kitchens serves as compost for the garden.

Unlike the myriad of condominiums that populate the downtown landscape, 60 Richmond was conceived a solid mass that was carved-into to create openings and terraces at various levels. The deconstructed volume creates interlocking and contrasting spaces stepping out and back from the street. This visually dynamic solution was instrumental in achieving several key objectives: Creating the kitchen garden, drawing light into the building interior and providing outdoor green space. The garden terraces created in this process also help cool and cleanse the air thus limiting heat island effect in the urban core.

sustainability diagram

The client’s requirement for low maintenance costs also inspired many of the design and sustainable innovations. Durable materials were combined with energy saving strategies such as insulating panel cladding, high performance windows, a sophisticated mechanical system, heat recovery, as well as drain water heat recovery from the common laundry facilities. A reduced carbon footprint is further achieved with a low maintenance green roof and rainwater collection for the terrace gardens.

With 60 Richmond, Teeple Architects sought to create an innovative, sculptural and spatial composition in a manner that defines and animates a dynamic public realm. The result is a building that wraps around its corner site while it is simultaneously perforated by a courtyard that reaches outward to the street, connecting this semi-public outdoor amenity space to the public space of the city. This solution creates outdoor amenity spaces including the 6th floor garden and also provides daylighting to both residential units and hall ways.

© Shai Gil Photography

With the design of 60 Richmond, Teeple Architects has created a dynamic urban form that brings a green environment into the city without dismantling the urban form. This project demonstrates the firm’s dedication to creating a dynamic and inventive urbanism where sustainable design considerations are integrated into the conception of the project. It is also an example of ‘urban permaculture’ and an exploration of the potential of the co-op as a social organization appropriate for the provision of affordable housing.

60 Richmond is an iconic design that showcases an innovative approach to urban infill.

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "60 Richmond Housing Cooperative / Teeple Architects" 02 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=85762>
  • http://www.jeffryburchard.com Jeffry Burchard

    “The client’s requirement for low maintenance costs also inspired many of the design and sustainable innovations.” I love the things that some find inspirational!

    Disregarding all the mushy euphemisms of the description, this a fairly exceptional building. The formal clarity, the execution of detail, the character of the material, VERY GOOD. Of course it WOULD be in Canada and not any lower geographically. No way any developer would do something so nice here in the USA, even with all the “inspirational” marketing gimmicks.

  • http://individual.cl/ æon

    Old futuristic cartoons were not too far from what seems to be coming.

  • Kyrylo

    “No way any developer would do something so nice here in the USA” – What kind of a developer would sacrifice half of the floor plate that will generate revenue? .. and for a cistern? … The only reason this exists is because the “client” is some sort of a social housing program. I don’t even think it was built to begin with … most likely was just an idea shown on a half ugly section for a submission to an architecture magazine. Tell me who will check?
    Also since when is vegetation a low maintenance? I didn’t know Canadians invented plants that take care of themselves in urban environment … and hey I should keep my eyes open since I missed that! and I live in Toronto … shame

    People don’t be so naive.

    • sojoe

      “What kind of a developer would sacrifice half of the floor plate that will generate revenue?”

      good design sells for more. It increases the value of the surrounding properties. (probably why the city is helping out)…

      this coop probably wont turn into an old regent park disaster that intensified crime and had to be demolished.

      and the cistern stops sewage overflow that pollutes the great lakes and reduces the potential for the great lakes to generate income in the future since its one of the largest fresh water sources in the world. Also stops the city from having to invest in expanding sewage infrastructure.

      … if a city can look beyond tomorrow, they’ll place enough incentives for developers to produce good design, and even manage runoff.

      and so… buildings like this are built.

      very cool building, cant wait to visit it

  • I Care

    Wow! I have to comment on the astounding ignorance of the 3rd comment left here by Kyrylo. The project was actually built, you can walk by it any day of the week on Richmond St East, near Church St but you would probably not notice as you admittedly don’t have your eyes open.
    It’s an amazing building and doesn’t deserve your ignorant scorn…

    • Kyrylo

      learn to read! this was in reference to cistern

      “and for a cistern? … The only reason this exists is because the “client” is some sort of a social housing program. I don’t even think it was built to begin with”

      • sullka

        FWIW, you do realize that the cisterm is shown in a “diagram”, it’s not literally a whole floor filled with water, it’s probably just a mechanical/storage room, a water tank and a few pumps, that’s it.

        Not “half the floor plate” missing as you think.

  • Steve

    Does no one care about minimizing envelope anymore? Articulation is environmentally irresponsible in most places (including Toronto).

  • Maple Leaf

    I appreciate alot of what is happening. The carving out of the interior to allow for light and air to circulate is affective in improving the quality of the interior spaces. A uniquely dense urban typology. This looks far more difficult to plan, structure, and coordinate than the description seems to lead. Simple moves like the darker exterior to the lighter interior and the color at the balconies is well thought out. I do find the many shapes of the cladding a little distracting in the more detailed pics. The labor to execute this is anti cost affective.

    Overall, well done.

  • Stephen

    There’s minimizing envelope and then there’s architecture.

  • Paul

    Skeptics who suspect chicanery might check Google maps StreetView for 60 Richmond St East, Toronto. You’ll see an old picture of the building under construction.