Project: Pan Am Athletes’ Village, West Don Lands, Toronto
Client: Infrastructure Ontario
Architects: architectsAlliance, KPMB, Daoust Lestage, MJM Architects,
Status: Competition – Infrastructure Ontario P3
Recognition: 1st Place competition, 2012 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence
Description: Design Competition for architectural development of the West Donlands comprised of 8 blocks of mid-rise housing and well as the temporary housing of 8000 athletes during the Pan Am and Parapan Games
Situated immediately to the west Toronto’s Don River and east of the historic Distillery District, the redevelopment of these brownfield plays a vital role to completing and connecting Toronto’s downtown area. The vision for the new Lower West Donlands is inspired by its history and retraces the former railway tracks through a rich network of pedestrian paths, creating an inviting and walkable neighborhood. Numerous pedestrian paths, promenades and courtyards, as well as emphasis on transparency create an environment that encourages residents to cross paths, watch out for one another, and develop a sense of community. At an urban scale the master plan also build on the extension of Front Street East creating a grand avenue with generous public space before terminating at Corktown Commons, a new park at the foot of the Don River.
The historic CNR and Canary buildings are preserved and featured as gateposts to the Village at the west entrance. The history of the site as a former parkland and forest in the nineteenth century also gave inspiration to the design team to maximize green space on the streets, in the courtyards and on the rooftops and terraces.
Most of the residential buildings are based on variations of the courtyard-building typology and executed with a co-ordinated sense of precision. The result is a cohesive yet diverse fabric of buildings that gives Canary District an immediate authentic sense of community. The courtyard model is atypical to the Toronto market and was strategically selected to ensure every unit has access to fresh air, natural light and beautiful public green space. The base of every building on Front Street is generously scaled, transparent from floor to ceiling and ideal for retail and services. This will contribute to the creation of an animated and vibrant street level, encouraging residents and visitors to browse, linger, and explore. The overall emphasis on bold, contemporary, high quality design recognizes the increasingly sophisticated urban realm in Toronto.
The design also meets and exceeds goals for LEED® Gold certification and Toronto Mandatory Green Building Requirements (MGBR) with a holistic, sustainable concept that balances environmental, economic and social sustainability in every component for a vibrant ecosystem of people, programs and place.