In 2013, when a 26-storey tower tower was proposed across the street from the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto's West Queen West, the local community—and voices across the city—strongly opposed the development, which would impose a radically altered streetscape on the neighbourhood. Following an August 2015 sale of the property, a more contextually sensitive development has been proposed for the site at 1181 Queen West, with the 16-storey project receiving a much improved reception at January 26th's community consultation meeting. 

Designed by Quadrangle Architects for Skale Developments, the 146-unit project is aesthetically characterized by its three distinct volumes, which serve to scale the building's height to the area's very different contexts. While the 16-storey tower references the high-rise cluster south of Queen Street, an 8-storey glass box deftly knits together the tower and the three-storey base fronting Queen Street.

1181 Queen Street West, Toronto, by Skale Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsThe new proposal, looking southeast, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

The podium's brick facade helps create a contextual link between to the heritage designated Gladstone Hotel across the street, and the three-storey height allows the slightly taller hotel building to the north to maintain a prominent presence on the streetscape. In deference to the historic hotel and the established streetscape, the project's massing strategy and architectural expression would see the building blend into its surrounding context rather than try to reinvent it. 

1181 Queen Street West, Toronto, by Skale Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsA close-up of the podium levels, looking east, image courtesy of the City of Toronto

So far, plans include 89 vehicular parking space as well as 110 bicycle spots, with 502 square metres of amenity space—including indoor and outdoor areas—concentrated on the second and third floors. In the tower levels, meanwhile, the typical floor plan includes eight units per level up to the 16th floor.  

In no uncertain terms, the new proposal garnered a better reception from the community than the previous 26-storey tower. Nonetheless, the presentation by City Planning identified the proposed building's height, massing, unit mix, wind impacts (particularly on Sudbury Street), and relationship to the Gladstone Hotel as areas of for particular study.

1181 Queen Street West, Toronto, by Skale Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsAn aerial view of the site, with the current low-rise building at 1187 Queen West highlighted, image retrieved via Apple Maps

It is not yet known to what extent—if any—each of these factors will precipitate design changes throughout the planning process. With the development still in its early stages, however, elements of the project are still subject to change, and these early renderings do not necessarily reflect a finalized design.

1181 Queen Street West, Toronto, by Skale Developments, Quadrangle ArchitectsThe site as it appears now, image retrieved via Google Maps

The preliminary design also was informed by consultation from planners Bousfields Inc. landscape architects Land Art Design, and heritage specialists Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd., as well as a number of more specialized engineering and design firms.

We will keep you updated as the development continues to progress, and new information becomes available. In the meantime, make sure to check out our associated dataBase file for more information. Want to share your thoughts about the project? Leave a comment in the space below this page, or join in the ongoing conversation on our Forum.