Mirvish+Gehry Toronto | 308m | 82s | Great Gulf | Gehry Partners

diminutive

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
867
Reaction score
43
Exactly where are you getting the idea that Vaughan is supporting six 40-floor buildings as opposed to three 80-floor buildings on the proposed site?

I think AD meant development in the Entertainment District as a whole, not this specific site. That in turn was in response to the argument that Mirvish-Gehry represents an unprecedented strain on local infrastructure. Since it doesn't matter for infrastructure whether people are living in 3x80 or 6x40, 12x20 or whatever combination of buildings, it's a bit misleading to suggest Mirvish-Gehry will be some kind of undue strain on local infrastructure. If the area was really so close to bursting open, why are we currently adding soo many units as it is?
 

diminutive

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
867
Reaction score
43
The majority of those 40-storey development applications were reviewed and processed as individual applications at specific locations for, let's say, 350 units per; whereas the M+G proposal has 6 times that many units on one and a half blocks. Let's consider servicing infrastructure for a moment.

Is connecting one really big development to water and sanitary infrastructure really any more expensive proportionately than connecting smaller buildings? Presumably the later would involve a greater number of individual projects.

In any case, most infrastructure would be largely indifferent to the exact arrangement of density. Transit, road, health, education and government facilities wouldn't vary substantially depending on how 3,000 units were distributed around the entertainment district.

If water/sanitary is the only infrastructure cost which would be highly sensitive to specific site density that's a pretty small overall component of the infrastructure burden implied by new development and presumably something we could recoup through appropriate development fees.
 

gristle

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Messages
2,314
Reaction score
5
I think AD meant development in the Entertainment District as a whole, not this specific site. That in turn was in response to the argument that Mirvish-Gehry represents an unprecedented strain on local infrastructure. Since it doesn't matter for infrastructure whether people are living in 3x80 or 6x40, 12x20 or whatever combination of buildings, it's a bit misleading to suggest Mirvish-Gehry will be some kind of undue strain on local infrastructure. If the area was really so close to bursting open, why are we currently adding soo many units as it is?

AG should be more accurate in his missives.

Just to be clear, Vaughan has set no height limit and has, to the best of my knowledge, never expressed a preference for what this proposal ought to be in terms of building height or envelope. The roughly forty-floor height has been set by the OMB - which has, time and time again, shown that it will never allow the city the possibility to ever deviate from area planning policy for any reason whatsoever - no exceptions, no special cases. If an 80 floor multi-tower proposal goes forward, it will essentially set a new height limit for the planning area, and the existing guidelines will then be challenged at the OMB by other developers coming forward with proposals. This has already occurred.
 

gristle

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Messages
2,314
Reaction score
5
Exactly, 3x80 storeys is a drop in the bucket compared to whats going on in the area, the fear here is height

Three 80-floor buildings is not a drop in the bucket. And as I have spelled out to you time and time again, if the city allows even one 80-floor building, it greatly risks setting a new height limit for the entire planning area because that is how the OMB rules. In short, the city is disallowed any exceptionalism when considering proposals because the OMB will take an exception and make it the rule when the next developer challenges any subsequent restriction. The city must stick to its planning principles.

AG, only in Toronto, and only among the "height-at-all-costs" advocates like you, would ten or twenty 40-floor towers not be enough. I note that you don't want to live in the ED, but only wish to dictate what should go there. You incorrectly assert a fear of height only as a means to glossing over your approach, which is: more height, whatever the cost.
 

wolfewood

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 4, 2012
Messages
499
Reaction score
314
+1 Gristle. There's nothing wrong with height but just approving random 80s structures is far worse than Adam Vaughn not wanting a group of 80s towers in his ward, whatever his own reasoning. I hope that the Geary project occurs in some form, even as it currently is, but only after consultation and careful thought.
 

diminutive

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
867
Reaction score
43
Three 80-floor buildings is not a drop in the bucket.

Yea, it is. 90,000 units have been approved on top of 50,000 recently completed in Toronto. Most of that is downtown. Out of a population of ~2,500,000. 2,700 Mirvish-Gehry units really isn't a very big fraction of anything.

AG, only in Toronto, and only among the "height-at-all-costs" advocates like you, would ten or twenty 40-floor towers not be enough.

That's the rub though; Toronto's obviously super comfortable with 40 storey towers, so why not 80 storeys? From a street design perspective point-tower height is mostly irrelevant. The issue isn't exactly building condos in the Entertainment District either, since there must be thousands of units currently approved for the district outside of Mirvish-Gehry.

It just seems totally arbitrary. Highrise condos are soooo prevalent in this city. City planners and most of this board are totally comfortable with 40 storey buildings.

And as I have spelled out to you time and time again, if the city allows even one 80-floor building, it greatly risks setting a new height limit for the entire planning area because that is how the OMB rules.

Why would the City suddenly get flooded with 80 storey condos? It's a completely alarmist scenario. As it is I doubt Mirvish-Gehry is financially viable. Even in cities like Hong Kong 80 floor residential is seen as impractical.


The city must stick to its planning principles.

What principles are at stake here? That a 50 storey point tower is totally cool but an 80 storey is a crime against nature?
 
Last edited:

SP!RE

°°°°°°
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,006
Reaction score
7
Location
Southcore
What principles are at stake here? That a 50 storey point tower is totally cool but an 80 storey is a crime against nature?

Well for one, you do realize that 80 floors would technically contain 1.6 times as many residential units as a 50 storey building, which is a huge change in the program of the site...

80 floors is a huge jump over 50 floors. Clearly in Toronto we have had our thinking clouded by the flurry of development, or else I can't explain people thinking 30 floors difference isn't a big one.

Just playing devil's advocate here, to try and remind those of you who don't always think about planning and infrastructure concerns and instead see building tall towers as equivalent to playing with LEGO. "Let's snap on another 30 floors, it doesn't make a difference!" When your city is building THOUSANDS of units at an unsustainable rate, yes, it in fact does make a difference. And it is very worth of a discussion about appropriate height, density, public infrastructure, environmental concerns, heritage, shading, pedestrian realm/experience, etc.
 
Last edited:

diminutive

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
867
Reaction score
43
Well for one, you do realize that 80 floors would technically contain 1.6 times as many residential units as a 50 storey building, which is a huge change in the program of the site...

If Mirvish-Gehry only had 1,600 units everything would be ok?

Nobody in City Planning or on this board thinks that the marginal addition of ~1,000 units to the area is a huge issue. Otherwise the City wouldn't be approving tens of thousand of new units scattered around various projects and threads like Tableau would be flooded by this bizarre handwringing.


Just playing devil's advocate here, to try and remind those of you who don't always think about planning and infrastructure concerns and instead see building tall towers as equivalent to playing with LEGO. "Let's snap on another 30 floors, it doesn't make a difference!" When your city is building THOUSANDS of units at an unsustainable rate, yes, it in fact does make a difference. And it is very worth of a discussion about appropriate height, density, public infrastructure, environmental concerns, heritage, shading, pedestrian realm/experience, etc.

This is actually a more interesting point in that you're acknowledging that Mirvish-Gehry and it's height really the issue, but rather the broader development trends which concentrate new-build units in a small part of the city

My point has always been that, given the City and the public's broadly support adding density downtown and views point towers as a desirable means of achieving that, the specific arrangement of that density really isn't very relevant. It's completely arbitrary to pick on Mirvish-Gehry when aggregate development in the area or city as a whole is far larger.

Looking at your specific points. 1.)'Appropriate height' isn't an objective value but rather a subjective interpretation of competing priorities ranging from economics to engineering to shadowing. 2.)'Density' is somewhat similar; there are no explicit guidelines for what constitutes 'too much' density, but City Planning and market realities both seem to be comfortable with greater density in the area, even if not in Mirvish-Gehry. 3.)Public infrastructure is mostly agnostic about the arrangement of density. It doesn't matter to a streetcar route how you cram people into the entertainment district. 4.)environmental concerns is odd. Mirvish-Gehry wouldn't be anymore or less environmentally friendly than any other residential highrise in the City. 5.)Heritage is legit in that Mirvish-Gehry will impact heritage listed structures. It'll have to reconcile that. 6.) Shading from a point-tower is minimal, and the marginal shadowing from going from 50-80 storeys is even less. There are no specific vistas being impacted by Mirvish-Gehry. 7.) Pedestrian realm impact has almost no relation to point tower height. Consider how the neighbouring TIFF tower has almost no street impact compared to its podium

So, of your 7 points, the only really legit one was heritage preservation... The rest were either generalizable to any increase in core population/employment density or wrong.
 

SP!RE

°°°°°°
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,006
Reaction score
7
Location
Southcore
You may claim that only one my points is "correct", but you are also the same person who believes that just because the City is approving all these projects, that it must be fine and dandy and that there must be no concerns with the current level of development. The City, who are overloaded with proposals and don't have enough planners to handle things, are not gods making flawless decisions. In fact, many people in the city (most, I should think) with planning and architectural backgrounds have some major concerns about the way development in Toronto is happening. But if you want to live in a fairy-tale land where the City's approvals are all righteous calls of judgment, then by all means, continue to do so.

Also, I can't take you seriously for the simple fact that you said "the specific arrangement of that density really isn't very relevant". Yikes.
 
Last edited:

diminutive

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
867
Reaction score
43
You may claim that only one my points is "correct", but you are also the same person who believes that just because the City is approving all these projects, that it must be fine and dandy and that there must be no concerns with the current level of development.

If you want to argue that the City is being reckless and allowing projects willy nilly that's fine. There is a specific thread called "Is Toronto's Building Boom Going Too Far?" which seems appropriate. But there is no reason to specifically target Mirvish-Gehry. It's a drop in the bucket of 90,000 units planned for the city.

The only salient difference between MG and the other 90,000 units is that it's actually really tall. The real irony is that you're just buying into the supertall-fanboy-height-is-everything argument.

Is height the issue? Height has no or minimal impact on issues like pedestrian realm or environmental sustainability.

Or is the issue density? In which case Mirvish-Gehry is really a drop in the bucket and you're on the wrong thread.

I honestly don't even think that Mirvish-Gehry will happen if for no other reason than I don't see who on earth would finance a multi-billion dollar vanity project whose only output will be >800$/sf shoeboxes in an already saturated market.

The non-heritage arguments against it thusfar and the passion it's aroused though have just been ridiculous. It's basic architecture that podium design is the more important component to street level presence than point tower height, for instance. You know that. So why you make arguments linking tower height to pedestrian impacts then is beyond me.
 

blacktrojan3921

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
78
Reaction score
2
I think the whole height limit problem is rather BS; height limits should only be used in the cases of safety involving the airplanes that fly in and out of airports. Everything else just feels like a case of NIMBYism to me.
 

gristle

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Messages
2,314
Reaction score
5
Why would the City suddenly get flooded with 80 storey condos? It's a completely alarmist scenario. As it is I doubt Mirvish-Gehry is financially viable. Even in cities like Hong Kong 80 floor residential is seen as impractical.

You skipped over the part where I said "planning area." This does not reference the entire city. That would be stupid.

For your edification, the planning area in question is the east precinct of King-Spadina. To respond your accusation about "alarmism" it would help you to understand that the precinct in question, and the multiple 40-floor buildings being proposed and built there in large numbers, are essentially the product of an OMB decision. The city dared to allow an exception - Festival Tower - and it became the new height standard. Subsequently, a new set of guidelines have come into practice (as in not defeated yet at the OMB) that allows for 40+ floor buildings, but on an downward angling plane as you move towards Spadina and Queen. The prior height limit - in the 35 metre range for that area - is long dead. It died because the OMB made it die.
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
15,142
Reaction score
10,584
And for the better IMO. Wouldn't mind having a. 60m height limit between Bathurst and spadina as well, compared to the current 35. I wish they allowed height based on design sometimes as well.. That way good designs like Picasso would get to be 180sh Meters tall instead of 130ish.

But yes, i feel these buildings are fine at the current density levels. If you have to reduce the density, allow then to do something like 90-80-70 Floors as you go away from university ave.
 

Urban-Affair

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 18, 2007
Messages
2,159
Reaction score
907
Location
Toronto
Firstly, to go along with this, I have to say I really like Gehry designed strutures. They feel free from most convention, are unique and will probably be a postive for Toronto. That being said, there are significant effects from a block with 240 floors of tower on it. Anyone who thinks we can just plop this stuff down and it will all work, is probably impulsive, (or very young), and hasn't done enough research on precendent, or how extreme density rarely helps cities achieve any higher degree of livability. Personally a city designed like Paris, with more midrises than highrises, would be better long term for us. Now all that being said, I like many do get excited about all the tall stuff going up. So its kind of like an internal debate. My sensible, more knowledgeable, patient, sustainable development, realist side, vs my excited, impulsive, immediate gratification side. When it comes down to it and I think before I feel, I realize the side of me that thinks about effects generally prevails. It has however been shown time and time again all over the world that when we redevelop older established areas, the newer towers tend to kill a lot of the street life, and create a sterile new area, that is then repeated all over the place, whilst losing MOST character that the older area it is replacing, used to achieve.

A good article, written by a better writer than myself, can be read here. I posted this in the casino thread, but its applicable to this conversation I think:
LINK
 

Top