Danish firm COBE and architectsAlliance design affordable housing in downtown Toronto
19 Mar 2019

Danish architectural firm COBE will be leaving their mark on a new mixed use development in Toronto. A client group consisting of Dream Unlimited, Kilmer Van Nostrand Co. Limited and Tricon Capital Group has commissioned COBE to develop a large scale mixed-use residential development in Toronto’s downtown east in collaboration with Toronto-based firm architectsAlliance. The project’s site is just south of the existing Canary District.

Consisting of three buildings, two of which COBE has designed [and one of which architectsAlliance has designed], the project contains 761 market rental apartment units, including 30 percent affordable rental units which are indistinguishable in their design.

…The new community is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification for sustainability where its future residents can live, work, play, shop locally, support local businesses and raise families. In addition, the development has the ability for its future residents to leverage many strong neighbourhood amenities in both the Canary and Distillery Districts, notably the 82,000 square foot Cooper Koo YMCA and 18-acre Corktown Common park.

The site at the West Don Lands is located in a former industrial area on Toronto’s waterfront, which is currently 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.

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 ware-houses 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 harborfront.

…To promote a high quality of life, the project gives all tenants access to communal amenity spaces. Terraces that result from the stacking of blocks are used to provide generous green out-door 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 to unfold on open plazas, in intimate urban green spaces and on quiet pedestrian streets with room for children to play.

Groundbreaking takes place mid-2019, and completion is scheduled for early 2022. The project is one of four that COBE is currently undertaking in North America.

Published by Canadian Architect online: https://www.canadianarchitect.com/danish-firm-cobe-and-architectsallianc...