Toronto’s Entertainment District has seen tremendous growth in recent years, but its transformation into a high-density neighbourhood has been dominated by condominium development, with little else being brought to the table. Of the several cranes dotting the neighbourhood, one crane on the northwest corner of Richmond and Peter Streets is working away on something other than a condo. Here an office tower is rising, and its construction thus far has been far from ordinary. Allied Properties REIT’s Queen Richmond Centre West (QRC West) is a 17-storey office building with a unique story, and earlier today we were treated to a tour of the construction zone.

QRC West viewed from street level, image by Jack Landau

Designed by Sweeny &Co Architects and Stephenson Engineering, the project is unique for a number of reasons. QRC West sets itself apart with the preservation of an entire heritage façade—all four sides of four storey brick commercial building—and most importantly with a dramatic 5-storey atrium featuring three 70-foot-tall delta frame support structures which will hold a new tower above them.

2 of QRC West's three delta frames, secured to the atrium's ceiling, image by Jack Landau

Each of the three delta frames is comprised of one-metre-diameter steel tubes filled with concrete, and secured on concrete footings.

Angled concrete pads supporting the legs of a delta frame, image by Jack Landau

The frames, which were engineered and supplied by local firm Cast ConneX, not only provide structural support for the steel frame of the 11 floors to be built above, but also give the atrium a distinct aesthetic highlight. 

Northwest delta frame at QRC West, image by Jack Landau

Even in their raw unfinished form, the delta frames are pure eye candy, so much so that a photo taken during their fabrication is featured on the front cover of this month's Modern Steel Construction trade magazine.

Delta frame section as the cover photo for Modern Steel Construction's March issue

The steel construction industry has taken an active interest in this project, and our tour group today was put together for attendees at the North American Steel Construction Conference, an annual conference in Toronto for the first time in 20 years, and which kicked off today.

Tour group on the 5th floor of QRC West, image by Jack Landau

The delta frames will later be finished with a white intumescent fire protective coating, and while we are enjoying the current weathered look of the raw steel, the finished product is certain to be a stunner. In the next image, we can see the angled in-ground concrete footings for the eastern delta frame being hidden by forms, now going in on which the future lobby floor will be poured.

Eastern delta frame, image by Jack Landau

Before the exciting steel work could take place in the atrium, the over 90-year-old building at the northwest corner of Richmond and Peter had to be gutted. While its restored exterior remains, the rest of the four-storey structure has been rebuilt with concrete and has been fitted with replacement windows.

Interior of the rebuilt four-storey building, image by Jack Landau

QRC West's 5th floor is essentially the former roof of the heritage commercial building. The almost double-height floor is punctuated by large concrete columns, which along with the delta frames will help to support the structural load of the 11 floors above.

Concrete columns will help to transfer structural loads through the rebuilt historic building, image by Jack Landau

Allied REIT recently identified international entertainment company Entertainment One (“eOne”) as a tenant of up to 70,000 square feet of rentable area in the development, including the fifth floor, the unique interstitial space between the former roof of 134 Peter Street and the underside of the new structure, plus three more floors above. The space will serve as eOne’s head office. A rendering below gives a hint of how the space will look when complete.

Fifth floor Skylobby at QRC West, to be home to Entertainment One, image courtesy of Allied Properties REIT

With work on the 350,000 square foot office complex now progressing above the massive atrium, and due to the rapid nature of steel construction, we should see this project gain some altitude as the mercury rises in the next several months.

Construction on QRC West's atrium, image by Jack Landau

Looking for additional information on QRC West? A comprehensive collection of building facts and renderings can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or add your voice in the comments section provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  Allied Properties REIT, Eastern Construction, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc., The Mitchell Partnership Inc., Trillium Architectural Products