Danish architectural firm COBE has designed a new mixed-use affordable housing development in downtown Toronto. Working with architectsAlliance, the team has designed three buildings that contain over 760 market rental units, 30% of which are affordable. Sited in one of the fastest growing areas of Canada, the new community project is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. The development aims to combine spaces for recreation, living and working.
COBE was commissioned by Dream Unlimited, Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited and Tricon Capital Group. "We want to create attractive homes that appeal to many different types of people. We have been working alongside the client team to develop a concept of radical mixed use that provides all residents with a generous apartment, flooded with light through floor-to-ceiling windows, and access to attractive amenity spaces,” says Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE.
Located in a former industrial area on Toronto’s waterfront that's undergoing a dramatic transformation, the site is at the intersection of three distinct neighborhoods, each dating from a different era and with its own unique architectural expression. As the team says, the project stacks architectural components from the three neighborhoods like building blocks, one on top of the other. The first layer is a contemporary interpretation of the red-brick warehouses of the adjacent Distillery District; the middle layer refers to the Canary District north of the site, with its mixed architectural palette, and the top layer is rendered in light concrete, inspired by the existing industrial silos on the harbor front.
All tenants are given access to communal amenity spaces. Terraces that result from the stacking of blocks are used to provide green outdoor amenity spaces with urban farming, landscaped gardens, outdoor dining terraces, a playground and a pool area. The three buildings are interconnected with a footbridge and underground connectivity. The center-most building contains amenity programs such as a cinema, fitness center, spa, music and childcare facilities, while each of the individual buildings contain local resident lounge and dining areas.
At ground level, row houses are planned, each with a front door opening onto the public realm together with publicly accessible functions such as cafés and shops. In the public spaces between the buildings, designed by Montreal based landscape architect Claude Cormier + Associés, there is room for urban life in urban green spaces and on pedestrian streets. Groundbreaking takes place mid-2019, and completion is scheduled for early 2022. The project is one of four COBE is currently undertaking in North America.