Toronto Urban Design Award (Honourable Mention)
Client: Brandy Lane

Originally a bypass to the busy QEW, the Queensway became the spine of a sprawling inner suburb with homes, schools, and churches, but also fast food restaurants, big-box stores, car repair shops, seedy bars, strip clubs, and motels. The City saw potential for the area to become an active development node, encouraging densification through mid-rise development along the roadway.

Brandy Lane accepted the challenge, knowing that the desired financial results couldn’t be achieved within the six-storey limit. We satisfied the City and our client’s sales goals. Through extensive community meetings, we obtained approval for a two-building, 11-storey complex recognized by the Toronto Urban Design Awards used as a reference project for future area development.

The impression is of six storeys. Above two-storey live-work units, we designed loggias - garden rooms - for units on five storeys, added projecting balconies for those on the eighth floor, and terraced the upper floors.

The long, shallow site is separated from the residential lots to the north by a laneway, against which we placed a generous landscaped interior park, beyond the private courtyards of two-storey garden townhomes. By siting the buildings near the front of the lot, we achieved the necessary angular plane from the surrounding residential area to permit the additional height. Similarly, on the street side, we created front courtyards a few steps down from street level for recessed two-storey live-work units, which are flanked by retail at each end of both buildings. This scheme deftly met the City’s additional requirements of increased green linkages to, and improved streetscaping on, the Avenue.
The two buildings are joined by a dramatic amenity bridge, the Loggia Club, which houses a sky pool, hot tub, outdoor fireplace, fitness studio, change rooms, and dry sauna as well as party room with skylights and an extended balcony. The bridge acts as a porte-cochere, under which the driveway leads to the parking ramp and to the rear laneway. Not surprisingly, although this was intended as a two-phase project, the initial sellout was so successful, the buildings were constructed together. In a National Post article, a local realtor declared, “this wonderful building set the tone for the neighbourhood” – and indeed, it has.