With the ever-expanding global population, cities around the world today are caught in the midst of mass urbanization; the resultant problems are the topic of much of the current architectural discourse. From these trends stems the challenges of providing adequate amounts of both housing and urban green space, and by extension, providing adequate food production. In order to address this divide, Toronto will soon be home to The Plant – a mixed-use community revolving around sustainable residential urban farming and social responsibility in the Queen Street West neighborhood.
“It might seem extreme, but we orientated this entire project around our connection to food,” says Curated Properties partner Gary Eisen, one of the developers involved in the project. “It’s our guiding principle and the result is a building that lives and breathes and offers a better quality of life to the people who will live and work here. The Plant is a community that fits with the foodie culture that has come to define Queen West.”
Developed by Curated Properties and Windmill Developments, both of which have ample experience with prior sustainable projects in the area, The Plant is to be a beacon for sustainability and “agri-tecture,” located at the former site of Dufflet Bakery, one of Toronto’s most innovative food production companies.
With retail outlets at street level and offices on the second floor, the intention is to appeal to businesses and tenants that share the project's ideals. Additionally, single- and two-story residences are available on upper floors, each with its own custom micro-garden beds to supply the residents with fresh herbs.
The shallow floor plates allow ample sunlight into the units, while spacious latticed terraces and balconies can accommodate furniture, plants, and a barbecue. Communal food-focused programs include an internal greenhouse as a nursery for plants and seeds, as well as an industrial kitchen for shared food production and hosting events.
“The choices we make as developers dictate the lifestyle available to the people that live in our buildings. Urban living used to mean choosing between being a cool neighborhood full of amenities or having enough land to cultivate a robust garden,” states Adam Ochshorn, also a partner at Curated Properties. “When you consider two-thirds of all humans will soon be city-dwellers, having to choose between an urban residence or the ability to comfortably grow your herbs and vegetables no longer makes sense.”
The 10-story building, which was designed by which was designed by KOHN SHNIER architects and SMW Architects, alongside interior designers +tongtong, is currently under construction. Its developers hope it will serve as an example of how Toronto’s local expertise and promotion of sustainable ideals can help push the city in the right direction, and address the key concerns of food production and urban living that architecture faces today.
News via The Plant