Housing on Toronto’s Main Streets

The goal was to preserve Toronto’s historic character and create a lively hub in downtown for a variety of lifestyles. The narrow lot subdivision of 1890’s was emphasized by the unit modules on plan and by the articulations on the street facade. The integration of new with the old is achieved by the rhythm of repeating narrow lots. The existing character of the street is continued in the new design by keeping the new building’s height similar. The retail strip on street level is designed to repeat the existing historical rhythm. The new storefronts possess elements common to traditional storefronts from the turn-of-the-century commercial strips, including recessed entries, large display windows, awnings and stallboards.

The site is divided into public strip (retail), private strip (residential), semi-public strip (courtyard) between Queen Street West and the alley. Besides courtyard, additional private open spaces – balconies and terraces – and semi-public roof garden provide open space for tenants. User response in design is provided by ‘unit module’ that makes it possible to have variety of sizes and types of units. Bay window and balcony options provide flexibility for users, and also create variability on facades.