December 2013

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Library District Condominiums n the west side of Rogers Centre and south of Front Street, between the railway and the Gardiner Expressway, sits one of Toronto's most densely populated neighbourhoods. Since 1997 the CityPlace development has seen 22 of a proposed 29 residential condominium towers go up. When completed, the 45-acre site will include 5.4 million square feet of residential and commercial space and be home to some 15,000 people. While it is a large project, not everything here is from Concord Adex, the area's dominant development group. On the very western edge of the Railway Lands, Context Development Inc. is carving out its own distinctive corner, adding a colourful 29-storey condominium with a unique selling proposition: it is located right next to the new library. As public libraries evolve their role from being book repositories O Location 170 Fort York Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario Owner Context Development Inc. Design Architect KPMB Architects Architect of Record Page + Steele / IBI Group Construction manager Bluescape Construction Management Inc. Structural Consultant Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. Mechanical/Electrical Consultant Hidi Rae Consulting Engineers Inc. Landscape Architect Janet Rosenberg & Studio Total Area 252,000 square feet Development and Construction Costs $90 million Library District Condominiums p78-79Library District Condos.indd 79 to becoming community resources, the City had planned to develop a library in the area to meet the needs of the growing population. In 2009 Context's proposal won the bid to develop here and it was charged with building the 41-storey rental project that now stands at 150 Dan Leckie Way for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. To the west of this project sits Block 36 where Context then built its Library District tower, and west of that is the library. Context wanted a tower that would suit its surroundings while distinguishing itself from the neighbourhood's forest of grey, window-walled monoliths. The Library District Condominiums building uses coloured spandrel glass and colour-tinted vision glass to accent its two-storey base. Some colour is carried up the length of the tower in discreet strips of light blue and green, and repeats throughout the mechanical penthouse in a series of green, white and grey vertical extrusions. KPMB 's Shirley Blumberg, who designed the rental housing building, the Library District Condominiums and the library, drew inspiration for the green accents from the nearby park. As for the blue, it ties into the history of the site as a place where a creek ran through to Lake Ontario. When the tower and library are complete, the Mouth of the Creek Park will offer a physical connection to Fort York. From Bathurst Street, the Library's cube flares north and south, and behind it there's a similar angularity present in the Library District building and its adjacent amenities pavilion. The sloped roofs and wide angles are a nod to the Fort, says Blumberg, explaining that the angularity references the geometry of the ramparts. images courtesy Context Development Inc. by Yvan Marston Rather than a podium, KPMB 's design has the tower landing cleanly on its footprint. In part, this was to contrast with the podium-heavy designs in the area, says Blumberg, but it was also meant to allow a very large pedestrian area at the corner to animate the space. "Without a tower podium, the library and the amenities pavilion are expressed as distinct buildings adjacent to the tower," she says. The tower's two-storey lobby uses transparent blue and green panels in its curtain wall system to allow sunlight to animate the space's white marble walls and library/seating lounge throughout the day. "In the morning, when you're going out to work, the east sunlight will filter through like stained glass," says Blumberg, describing the effect of the Vanceva panels that use colour interlayers permanently laminated between two pieces of glass to form the glazing system. Proceeding west through the lobby, residents can access the amenities pavilion, a three-storey building whose northern facade features double-height views of the Mouth of the Creek Park to the north and access to the building's terrace and service court. Inside there is a full gym, party room, screening lounges, change rooms with sauna and two guest suites. The pavilion's sloped roof, like that of the library, was built using a green roof system, explains Titka Seddighi, the project manager with Page + Steele/ IBI Group. It consists of a membrane above that is a non-moisture-holding root barrier followed by insulation, and over top is a non-moisture-holding scrim sheet. The green roof's small shrub-like plants sit atop this layer. The park and the library are what define this building, explains Craig Taylor, director of design and marketing for Context Development. Direct access to green space in the heart of downtown is always a selling feature and the notion of the library figured predominantly in the marketing, he explains. With 364 suites, ranging in size from 388 to 826 square feet, the sizes aren't huge, he explains, but they are designed for the market in this neighbourhood. That's not to say small is in, says Taylor. There are only six of the 388-square-foot units. "Studios have fallen out of favour," he says. "What is really in demand is simply better housing. We can do 500 square feet with a true one-bedroom that has windows in the bedroom and we do that by designing wide, shallow units." As urban living spaces remain modest, it is the livable city beyond the apartment walls that becomes a focus. And while access to the downtown core is important, sometimes you need a quiet place to collect yourself. Luckily for residents of this tower, there's a library right next door. n december 2013    /79 13-11-15 4:09 PM

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