Toronto Community Housing is bringing affordable rental living to CityPlace in the form of "Block 32", a 41-storey tower matched with 9 and 11-storey podium blocks at Fort York Boulevard and Dan Leckie Way. The design by KPMB Architects features an eye-catching grid in two variations on the exterior of the complex, a design which has been attracting lots of positive buzz on UrbanToronto. We wanted to get a closer look.

The tower at Block 32 rises 41 storeys. Image by Craig White 2012.02.07

For Toronto Community Housing, this complex represents quite a landmark: it's their tallest complex, it's green, and it will be affordable family rental housing. The development consists of a 41-storey tower at 150 Dan Leckie Way, with podiums of 9 and 11-storeys. The south podium will be known as 146 Fort York Boulevard while the north podium will be 125 Queen's Wharf Road.
 
An amenity space at Block 32 sits over the corner of Fort York Blvd. and Dan Leckie Way. Image by Craig White 2012.02.07

The amenity space above will command the view kitty corner from Canoe Landing Park. South of this complex, Concord Adex's Spectra and Quartz will soon rise from an excavation pit, currently expanding downwards.

My tour guides outside Block 32 on Fort York Blvd., image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Our guides on this quite cold day were Heather Grey-Wolf, Housing Development Manager at Toronto Community Housing, and Peter Venetas, Director of Planning and Development Manager at Context Development. Context Development is responsible for all the development, design (with KPMB Architects) and approvals at Block 32, while construction manager Bluescape is building the project.

Future frontages for townhomes along Fort York Blvd. at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Townhouses, with their entrances at the top of the stairs seen above and below, appear all around the base of the complex, along with some retail fronting on Fort York Boulevard. Patios and deep planters will also feature at street level.

Future frontages for townhomes along Fort York Blvd. at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Queen's Wharf Road frontage at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Sunken patios on the Queen's Wharf Road frontage at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07 

Says Kyle Rooks of Toronto Community Housing: "The development will have 427 units of affordable rental housing. That's a new kind of rental that means the average rent in the building will be 80% of the CMHC average. For example, if the average cost of a 1-bedroom rental is $1,000, the rent for 1-bedroom units in this building would average $800 and could not exceed $1,000."

Into the podium we go: Queen's Wharf Road frontage at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Time to go into the south podium, and up to one of the halls that faces the inner courtyard to the north of it. Halls do not feature on every floor: entrances from this hall provide access to suites on the south side of this floor, plus dual-aspect suites (with windows on both the street to the south and the courtyard to the north) mostly on the floor below or the floor above. This cuts down on space needed for hallways here, and with the added doors makes the hallways more encouraging of creating community. The hallway also benefits, of course, from the light flooding in from the courtyard. It's a little-used set-up that one would like to see in many more Toronto buildings.

Hallway in the podium at Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Upper floor suites will have terraces, while lower floor suites get patios. Hints of both can be seen in the photo below.

Within the enclosing podium at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Cabinetry has just arrived and is waiting to be installed in a suite below. The generous living space looks over the courtyard, while the bedrooms in this unit overlook Fort York Blvd.

Kitchen-to-be in a unit at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Here's a more direct view of the courtyard. The space is mostly surrounded by the podiums and the tower, while it is also raised a floor above ground level, preventing access to it from passersby. The children of residents should be able to play in the courtyard space safely; there will be many "eyes on the street" here.

Courtyard view at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Below, a kitchen just having been installed, appliances still to come.

Kitchen installed in a unit at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Most suites in the podiums are on more than one floor. Many feature three bedrooms, some as many as five.

Stairway in a unit at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

The podium roofs are mostly green roofs, the one below is in the process of being planted. The Block32 tower can be seen in the left background, while Concord Adex's Parade can be seen in the right background.

Green roof atop a podium at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Here's what the vegetation that goes into a green roof looks like here.

Green roof vegetation at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

And here's what a green roof looks like from 30 storeys higher-up.

Looking down on a green roofed-podium at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

And another view of the green roof - if you look down, way down, past the expansive westward view from Block 32. That crane of course is rising over the site for Library District Condominums by Context. We will come back for more stories, focusing on Library District, as well as the views from this site, soon.

Looking west from Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Here's more of the tower at Block 32. The platform extending from the floor above allows the crane to lift materials to that level.

Southwest view from Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Equipment waits to be installed in the tower.

High up in Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Below, a bucket of concrete heads a couple more floors into the air to form the last couple of levels in the complex. Topping off comes soon!

Concrete ready to be poured at Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

To finish off today's visit, a look back up at sunlight reflecting off of Parade and onto Block 32's eastern façade.

Light reflects off Parade and on to Toronto Community Housing's Block 32, image by Craig White 2012.02.07

Those interested in this complex can contact Toronto Community Housing at 416-981-RENT. The wait list for regular TCH accommodation will not be used for this complex. The buildings will be ready for move-in this Fall. Toronto Community Housing will start marketing the units to rent this Spring.

UrbanToronto has a new dataBase forthis project, linked below, if you would like to peruse the dozen-or-so views. UrbanToronto also has a popular Projects & Construction Forum thread on Block 32 if you would like to get in on the discussion or see more images, which similarly is linked below.
Related Companies:  Bluescape Construction Management, CFMS Consulting Inc., Context Development, KPMB Architects, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, Toronto Community Housing Corporation