The Midrise and Avenues Plan has been a priority in Toronto for a number of years. Sanctioned in 2010, the plan refers to the development of mid-rise buildings for both housing and commercial purposes, has
Created by Brook McIlroy Planning + Urban Design, in consultation with Quadrangle Architects, Urban Marketing Collective, ERA Architects Inc, (along with a list of other firms), the plan calls for “carefully articulated midrise buildings” as a way to not only increase density, but intensify areas along 162 km of active corridors identified throughout the city.
The Tree House Townhomes, taking shape in Toronto’s east end, falling just slightly north of the area (marked out as part of the Kingston Road Avenue development), offer an interesting take on this building format.
Designed by 5468796 Architects , with landscapes by Land Art Design, the four story buildings will consist entirely of 2 and 3 bedroom units. Each home is split between two floors, ranging in size between 1000-1300 square feet. However, what sets these properties apart is that every unit includes either a large balcony, patio, or rooftop terrace.
The language used in marketing the property is decidedly different than that employed for downtown developments (many of which aren’t all that much larger). It speaks of “picturesque scenery”, of an “idyllic neighbourhood surrounded by lush greenery”, and of “reputable schools and daycares”. In many ways, you would think that this type of verbiage would describe detached homes in a sprawling suburb, far from the reaches of public transport.
This development is centred on family life - and is striking a balance with the density and convenience of urban dwelling (I discussed the importance of this in a recent article on Rethinking Suburbia).
It’s a kind of Goldilocks approach to living and urbanism: not too big or too small, or too fast or too slow! This desire for the best of both worlds is seen in the aesthetic of the building too; it’s not what you’d likely picture when you hear the word “townhouse”, but it’s also not the impenetrable glass facade of many downtown condos either.
The stepped form used to achieve access to outdoor space, while maintaining privacy, seems equally reminiscent of Kahn’s Salk Institute or Erickson’s Evergreen Building, but not at odds with the residential area in which it’s situated. While the floor plans are quite traditional, the finishes are contemporary. When you can have both, why choose?
Photo at left by Liao Yusheng. Photo at right by Miranda Corcoran
Click the links below to read more Houseporn.ca stories on 5468796 Architecture:
- Stradbrook Condominium
- HEDGE Housing Development (intended for older adults)
- Webster Cottage
- Chair Your Idea (Competition)
To learn more, visit 5468796 Architecture.
Researched and written by Miranda Corcoran, an Industrial Design and Digital Media student at OCAD University.
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