The winner of a 2014 design competition held by Waterfront Toronto, planning continues to evolve for Menkes DevelopmentsWaterfront Innovation Centre, a new mid-rise office building set to be built along Queens Quay East, just north of the Corus Quay building which was first to open in the regenerating area along Toronto's East Bayfront. The Sweeny &Co Architects-designed project has been presented to the Waterfront Design Review Panel (DRP) multiple times now, most recently in January, 2018 before its return on May 16 for to examine more aspects of the plan.

Supplemented by images of a revised design for the whole 12-storey, 435,949 ft² building, the latest meeting discussed three main issues; focusing on the ground floor’s relationship to the public realm, details about the building’s massing and exterior expression, and the circulation and programming of the building’s “Nexus” hub. Bisected by Dockside Drive, the Nexus will bridge the street, tying the western third of the building together with the eastern two thirds.

Waterfront Innovation Centre, Menkes, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoPrevious and current designs for the Waterfront Innovation Centre, image via Waterfront Toronto

The latest plans also update the articulation of the ground realm façade and materials, helping to differentiate the lower and upper sections of the building. The ground floor and the 2nd-floor "Nexus" level are proposed to be clad in a mix of clear vision glass with 5mm bird-friendly dot pattern, painted aluminum fascia and soffit. Levels above are clad in a more reflective glass with contrasting metal spandrel panels covering the slabs.

Waterfront Innovation Centre, Menkes, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoWaterfront Innovation Centre, image via Waterfront Toronto

The Nexus space would occupy the entire second floor of the crystalline western volume, and a large portion of the eastern building’s second floor, to be linked by a bridge over Dockside Drive. Inside, the space would offer a lounge, multiple cafe spaces, public conference rooms, and two terraces overlooking Sugar Beach, all accessible to the public.

Waterfront Innovation Centre, Menkes, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoNexus at the Waterfront Innovation Centre, image via Waterfront Toronto

Ground floor ceilings below the Nexus have been lowered from 6 metres to 4 metres to make accessing the Nexus from the outside easier. The south end of the western volume now includes a feature staircase, creating an inviting connection between the Innovation Centre's publicly accessible Nexus space and Sugar Beach. A similar feature staircase—pictured two images below—would create a similarly inviting connection to Queens Quay on the north side of the building.

Waterfront Innovation Centre, Menkes, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoFeature staircase at the Waterfront Innovation Centre, image via Waterfront Toronto

Landscape architects Janet Rosenberg + Studio are working on a public realm plan that includes wide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with two rows of trees along the main Queens Quay frontage. While a wide public realm along Queens Quay already exists, the removal of grass and addition of red granite 'setts' (pavers) with maple leaves traced in white and gray granite, will tie the building in with the existing waterfront landscape plan.

Waterfront Innovation Centre, Menkes, Sweeny &Co Architects, TorontoQueens Quay frontage, Waterfront Innovation Centre, image via Waterfront Toronto

The design for the building will continue to evolve. Menkes is said to be in negotiations with a lead tenant.

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.