With a 'living wall' spread across its anodized aluminum exterior, 5468796 Architecture's Lake & East eschews the norms of Oakville's—and Toronto's—new condominiums. Located in the lakeside community of Bronte Village, the 20-storey residential tower is set to launch in 2017, bringing a conspicuous new presence to Oakville's Lakeshore Boulevard. 

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineLake & East, image courtesy of Fortress, Engine, Symmetry

Developed by the team of Fortress RDI, Engine, and Symmetry, the 144-unit tower will join an area characterized by both apartment towers and single-family homes. Taking its inspiration from the typical grid of suburban lots found across much of North America—including the neighbourhood directly to the north—Land Art Design's landscaping introduces the greenery of backyards to a high-rise typology. 

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineA worm's eye view of the tower, image courtesy of Fortress, Engine, Symmetry

At street level, meanwhile, the public realm plan calls for an aluminum façade to delineate the boundary of the site. Creating a partially sheltered outdoor space, the framing element fosters a more intimate experience. Featuring landscaping, three retail spaces, and a small square—which will feature public seating—the space creates a fine-grained retail environment.

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineAn aluminum wall frames the public realm, image courtesy of Fortress, Engine, Symmetry

While the anodized aluminum element helps frame the public realm, it also maintains the project's aesthetic cohesion, hiding the extrusions that house the retail and amenity spaces at street level. Aiming to extend the pedestrian culture of Bronte Village further east, the hope is that the intimate and retail-rich public realm of Lake & East will create a welcoming space to linger.

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineAnother view of the public realm, image courtesy of Fortress, Engine, Symmetry

On the other side of the building, meanwhile, the street-level amenity space will look out over a private garden courtyard. Accessible to residents, this area—which is isolated from the public spaces on the tower's west frontage—is meant as a quieter place. 

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineThe ground floor plan, with North on the left, image courtesy of 5467896 Architecture

Overall, the project has attracted both praise and criticism for its architectural boldness. While the design has been relatively enthusiastically received by UrbanToronto readers and Forum members, the viability of the landscaping plan was questioned by the Globe and Mail's John Bentley Mays.

Lake & East Condominium Residences, Oakville, by Symmetry, Fortress RDI, EngineA closer view of the living wall, image courtesy of Symmetry, Fortress, Engine

In one of Mays' final published pieces, the acclaimed writer argued that the building would be "ungraced by vegetation" for most of the year in Ontario's climate, leaving a relatively "stark and stiff" structure behind the greenery. Nonetheless, Mays praised 5468796's growing portfolio, extolling the Winnipeg-based company's "flair for doing vivid, convincing creative work."

With the proposed development now appealed to the OMB following rejection by Oakville's Town Planning, the bold project will continue to make its way through the planning process in 2017, with the developers also anticipating a sales launch next year.

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