From the Jurors’ Report:
Every two years, the City of Toronto Urban Design Awards program provides an opportunity to assess the progress of the city’s built environment, and to recognize those buildings that strengthen the public realm. The program looks at buildings in their context to identify those that make a positive contribution to the life of the city, and to assess how well they respond to their surroundings. Above all, the jury seeks to identify projects that are unequivocally public—that engage people through their presence in or proximity to the public realm, adding noticeably to the civic experience.
Private Building in Context – Mid-Rise
An individual building or a composition of buildings, that achieve(s) urban design excellence and is precedent setting for a project of its type through its relationship to the public realm, pedestrian amenity, detailing and massing, and the natural environment.
383 Sorauren is a residential design that exemplifies a range of strong urban design characteristics. The massing of the 10-storey building continues and extends the scale of the existing loft buildings on Sorauren Avenue to the south, and participates in the transition of scales from the low-rise residential neighbourhood on the west side of the street to the mid-rise scale that continues to develop towards the east. The two-storey townhomes that address the street ensure animation and activity at the streetedge. Critical to their success is the landscaping treatment that encloses the front-facing private courtyard areas and provides a semi-private space for residents that is very much in the public realm. As the landscape matures, there will be a better level of privacy for the users of these spaces. The diagonally slanted corners of the building give it a distinctive character. The open brick frame of the top storey represents a creative solution to maintaining the street edge, while simultaneously stepping back the mass of the building to reduce the presence of the upper-storey units.
Small Open Spaces – ÏCE Condominiums at York Centre
A small open space, generally related to and defined by adjacent buildings or natural/built elements, which provides an extension and addition to the public realm in an exemplary way. The small open space need not be publicly owned, but must be publicly accessible.
The courtyard and public art at this new condominium project in Toronto’s South Core stood out to the jury as noteworthy aspects of the development. The courtyard is a well-designed public space with a refined palette of materials, and is finely detailed and consistent throughout. The water feature, paving, custom seating and birch grove provide a beautiful backdrop for exquisite public art that successfully holds the space. The ground level of the condominium itself—both in its open glazed sections and the opaque utility sections—is designed and properly scaled to complement the courtyard. Currently, the courtyard seems to be used infrequently and is somewhat difficult to access, as it is tucked in the intersection of two side streets. However, it is part of an emerging public realm in this part of downtown, and will become an important open space as the development of South Core continues, and as the thousands of people that will be living and working in the area discover it.
Published on the City of Toronto Urban Design Awards website: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/96e7-UrbanDesign-2017T...