On a recent rainy fall day UrbanToronto toured some of The Daniels Corporation's latest work in Regent Park to get an update on construction progress at Paintbox, their latest condominium tower, and the integrated Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre. Together they form a project unlike any other in Toronto, one which not only attests to the new life that is already bubbling through Regent Park, but one which also heralds Regent Park's evolving change in status from a place best avoided into a veritable destination.
UrbanToronto's tour through the construction site included representatives from The Daniels Corporation, including Senior Vice President Tom Dutton, and Diamond + Schmitt Architects, including project architect Jennifer Mallard.
When we arrived onsite, curtain wall window installation was taking place along the east wall of the Arts and Cultural Centre, where the entrance area for the performance and event space will be. The Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre will be the home for seven arts and social enterprise organizations which already have a track record in the community. You can read all about them and the Centre at the blue link above.
This ground floor space will be the largest in the 60,000 square foot centre. Able to accommodate performances and events of all types, the venue is equipped with an extensive catwalk system above, which will allow the partitioning of the space in up to three rooms depending upon the current needs of the users.
The ground floor has several other practice and performances spaces, as well providing a home for dance and theatre companies. One floor above, we pass by spaces dedicated to learning; offices will provide space for organizations which foster the development of visual arts, music, and film talent.
At the end of the second floor hallway above, we have a view east to one of the currently remaining Peter Dickinson-designed apartment blocks of Regent Park South. A few have come down, and more could follow as the Toronto Community Housing Corporation looks for ways to improve its stock of accommodation in the area. While innovative in their time, the towers, marked on their exterior by a pattern which shows the two-floor nature of the units, are proving very difficult to bring up to today's standards.
The top floor of the Arts and Cultural Centre will feature high-ceilinged flexible office space for the Centre for Social Innovation, an organization which nurtures other non-profit social mission organizations: in fact 60 organizations will find space that they can run their programmes from here.
The view above of Paintbox from the Centre's third floor, also shows a Regent Park Phase 1 TCHC building rising in the background. Next, we head down to ground level again, and take the "back of house" passage through what will be catering kitchens into the base of Paintbox.
The area above will become the area pictured below: this cafe-lounge space will be a casual community hub when completed, and it will benefit from an arrangement made with the George Brown College Culinary Arts programme. It will run catering in the complex, both for events in the Art and Cultural Centre, and for this space. The lounge will provide an facility for culinary arts students which is less formal than the Adelaide Street Chefs House space, which this space will complement.
Below is how this space, at the corner of Dundas and Sackville Streets, will look from the exterior.
And below is how it fits in to the whole complex:
Now that we've taken a look at what it will look like when complete, let's head up it to see the views from the construction site now. Below, the obvious view first: how does the Downtown core look from Paintbox on a rainy fall day? Still pretty impressive!
This view to the east emphasizes the notch in the north facade which will separate east-facing condo units from west-facing ones. Beyond that; the trees of Riverdale and Leslieville.
To the south, and looking through a notch in the façade again. The hallways on each floor will have this view, which takes in the lake and the local surroundings, including the nearby Distillery District, marked by its growing skyline.
Back outside again, we drink in more of the playful spandrel colouration which will mark this building as the community's cultural beacon.
And that, for now, is it.
UrbanToronto will be back to update you in coming months, on a blue sunshiny day we hope! In the meantime, you can find out much more about both components of this complex by clicking on the dataBase links below. Or, why not join in the conversation by clicking on the associated forum thread links? Otherwise, leave a comment below!