522 University | 232.92m | 62s | Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc | WZMH

Northern Light

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Well............this one slipped in under my radar............

Either that or I forgot I knew, LOL!

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Site as it is:

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* Docs are Up*

Architect is WZMH

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Zoomed:

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From the Planning Rationale Report:

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Extensive street trees:

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Planting Bed conditions appear decent, and Silva Cells are definitely proposed on the Elm frontage. But soil volumes may be a bit light and I can't comment on Species as the Landscape Plan is not legible at the level of detail.

Further Comment:

From a point of view of what's proposed, and scale, I'm fine w/it............but I have to say, though most here would know I'm not that big of a fan of brutalism, I'm kinda fond of this chunky fella. I feel like this isn't bad per se, aesthetically,
but doesn't compare favourably with 350 Bloor East which is a very similar proposal in scale and type.

The new here feels like we've seen this before.......
 
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Rascacielo

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I suppose given the deeply recessed first floor of the existing building, they can't just plop a residential tower on top a la 488 University (the first floor has to accommodate separate office and residential lobbies). The new office tower does pay respect to that era (reminds me of the Munich Re building at Queen & Bay) and the tower is a Casa look-alike. Overall, inoffensive and nothing revolutionary, but not worth losing the existing tower.
 

MOB

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Terrible.

First we lost the history and texture of 488 University and now we are losing this one. 😭 We really should be preserving our good examples of concrete modernism (My MArch thesis). It was a reflection of the 60-70s boom period of Toronto and helps build the narrative of the City. Soon we will be saving Joe-schmoes concrete office building because it's all we have left.
 

Northern Light

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I think we've clearly arrived at a consensus on this one early on.................

Fire WZMH, hire Hariri.

Save the existing facade, ground floor layout and soffits.

Build new, but with respect for the original design in cladding and glazing styles.
 

ProjectEnd

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Terrible.

First we lost the history and texture of 488 University and now we are losing this one. 😭 We really should be preserving our good examples of concrete modernism (My MArch thesis). It was a reflection of the 60-70s boom period of Toronto and helps build the narrative of the City. Soon we will be saving Joe-schmoes concrete office building because it's all we have left.
I'd love to read that, if you can make it available on Dropbox or something?
 

Northern Light

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You know @ProjectEnd; as you are wont to do; you've said some stuff about this proposal that really belongs in this thread:

I hope you don't mind my sharing:

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Bonus points for using the word anodyne in a post; we don't see it often enough!
 

Undead

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Idk, I don't find the current grade level appealing at all. The pillars are nice, but that's about it.

edit: the proposed resi tower design is fine, though the average unit size gives me pause. The new office would be fine on its own, but I agree that preservation is desirable here. As for being wasteful, well, this entire housing bubble is wasteful. The original sentiment is not a particularly meaningful statement.
another edit: a half metre barrier is one of the most engaging at grade experiences? ....
 
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MOB

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I'd love to read that, if you can make it available on Dropbox or something?
I'll see what I can do.

The design project synopsis was:

Reframing Perception

The historical preservation of concrete architecture from Toronto’s post-war boom is crucial in the city’s architectural culture. Despite widespread disdain for these buildings, my thesis argues these buildings add a sense of time, depth, and tactility to the atmosphere of the city.

Zygmunt Bauman states, “Culture is as much about inventing as preserving.” Using John Andrew’s Scarborough College as a platform, I am proposing new appendages, which seek to deconstruct the core architectural values from this period in order to fashion a didactic experience.

Post-war concrete architecture reflects the context and spirit of the age. A reframed perception shows the richness of their embedded cultural value.
 

Northern Light

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Idk, I don't find the current grade level appealing at all. The current tower is nice, though.

I think the soffit work at grade is interesting visually.

The steps pose a bit of an issue vis a vis accessibility, but there are ways to address that.

Certainly, the lobby isn't very space-animating, but then again, virtually nothing on this stretch of University is........

I think the building benefits from cantilevered/set-in at-grade look; though it might possible to enclose some of that space transparently to make it more engaging as retail or something......not sure on that.
 
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