A proposal from Oxford Properties Group seeks Site Plan Approval for the restoration, renovation, and enlargement of an early-20th century office building at 85 Richmond Street West in Toronto's Financial District, part of Oxford's larger Richmond-Adelaide Centre complex. Led by WZMH Architects with +VG Architects handing heritage elements, the project will involve the restoration of original exterior architectural elements, the modernization of electrical and mechanical elements, improvement of thermal performance, renovation of existing floor spaces, and the creation of new floor area by filling in a light well on the south side of the building.

85 Richmond Street West, Oxford Properties, WZMH, +VG Architects, TorontoFacing southwest towards 85 Richmond Street West, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

Also known as the Federal Building, 85 Richmond was originally designed to be part of the cancelled Federal Street—also known as Cambrai Avenue—which was to be carved through the existing Downtown fabric, and which would have served as a grand, ceremonial boulevard. (Plans for the street were abandoned shortly after the onset of the Great Depression, but were eventually realized in part through the building of University Avenue.) Designated under part IV of Ontario Heritage Act, the building will undergo an extensive restoration that will bring the building's exterior much closer to its original appearance, highlighted by the reinstatement of a roof cornice that previously resolved the building's skyline.

85 Richmond Street West, Oxford Properties, WZMH, +VG Architects, Toronto85 Richmond Street West, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

This restoration will include the replacement of tiled spandrels between the first and second floor windows with new stamped metal panels designed to reflect the original design, the cleaning and repairing of the building's three-storey limestone base, fixing the brass front doors, as well as repair work on other masonry elements including the glazed white 'Kitanning' brick used to finish the building's upper levels. New windows throughout will replicate the building's original fenestration pattern on the east and north walls, plus the north-most bay pf the west wall. Interior restoration will cover the heritage designated lobby space, which includes coffered ceilings, Crema Marfil walls, travertine floor finishes, and wall-mounted brass fixtures. 

85 Richmond Street West, Oxford Properties, WZMH, +VG Architects, Toronto85 Richmond Street West's Richmond frontage, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

The south wall, and most of the west wall, are covered by more common unglazed white brick and mortar, with portions where the building used to back against a parking garage clad in a cementitious material. It has been found that these portions are in a poorer condition, and it is proposed that they be covered by an insulated porcelain tile cladding system with mullion-free punched windows. The more clean-lined walls and windows are meant to defer to the grander ornamentation of the other walls.

85 Richmond Street West, Oxford Properties, WZMH, +VG Architects, TorontoFacing northeast towards 85 Richmond Street West, image retrieved from submission to City of Toronto

Particularly significant on the south side, a light well that currently makes the entire building U-shaped is proposed to be filed in, and clad in a curtain wall system consisting of vision glass and glazed spandrel. The new floors would be supported directly below, not adding weight to the existing building. Office floors would end up as simple and more efficient rectangles, while at ground level new bike lockers and change rooms would be installed for use by workers in the building. Only half of the top floor of the filled-in light well would be enclosed, allowing the creation of an outdoor terrace facing the recently constructed EY Tower for 11th floor tenants.

We will return with additional details as further information emerges. In the meantime, you can review existing project facts and renderings by visiting our database file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.