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4 Toronto Projects That Just Won Urban Design Awards

Toronto Mixed-Use

The City of Toronto handed out its 2015 urban design awards earlier this month, highlighting projects and practitioners that do public realm best. Here are four commercial developments that earned honours.

1. Market Street


Locations: 118 The Esplanade, 8 Market St, 10-12 Market St, 87 Front St

Developer/owner: Woodcliffe Landmark Properties

Design team: Taylor Smyth Architects; Goldsmith Borgal & Co (heritage)

What the jury liked: This redevelopment of heritage buildings into a restaurant row demonstrates architecture and public realm “working together thoughtfully and humanely.” The streetscape seamlessly integrates roadway, sidewalk and concealed drainage, and restored facades plus a new addition on the southeast corner create a building collection that serves commercial tenants, residents and visitors "equally well."

2. 60 Atlantic Ave


Location: Liberty Village

Developer/owner: Hullmark Developments

Design team: Quadrangle Architects; Phil Goldsmith Architects (heritage).

What the jury liked: Deemed a “thoughtful example of adaptive reuse,” 60 Atlantic—27.5k SF of open-concept office space and 12.5k SF of retail/restaurant, including a new brew pub—augments a designated heritage building (built in 1898) with a “strong, surprising contemporary intervention,” the panel said. And a sunken courtyard activates the level below ground and provides an “unusual and pleasant spatial experience.”

3. Delta Hotel Toronto


Location: 75 Lower Simcoe St

Developer/owner: bcIMC, GWL Realty Advisors

Design: Page + Steele / IBI Group Architects; Champalimaud Design (interior)

What the jury liked: The tower’s “sculpted form” and the “random patterning” of its facade panels delighted the judges, who found it a “pleasing contrast to nearby buildings on the skyline.” The hotel makes a strong contribution to the burgeoning South Core’s public realm, with “uncommonly wide sidewalks” on all sides, “well-detailed patios” for the hotel’s restaurant, and careful handling of driveways and pedestrian entrances.

4. Fashion House


Location: 560 King St W

Developer/owner: Freed Developments

Design: CORE Architects

What the jury liked: The 12-storey condo is “modernist in its architectural language, but generally respects the existing street wall of 19th-century brick warehouses,” said the panel. The new building, coupled with a skilfully knitting together of the heritage building, restaurant entrances and the condo's front door, creates a “strong sense of place.” Wide sidewalks and walkways around the property are welcome additions to an increasingly dense King West.