From initial concept to final realization, the story of a development is one of evolution, but one where the steps along the way are often hidden. The larger the development, typically the more iterations of the design before everyone is satisfied, well at least the company having to pay for it all in the end is normally satisfied. City staff and councillors, local residents, and increasingly the public at large get their say too before all the necessary approvals are granted.

For a project as large as The Well, a mixed-use office-retail-residential project with about 2,000,000 square feet of space at Front and Spadina by developers Diamondcorp, Allied REIT, and RioCan, architects Hariri Pontarini and Pickard Chilton, and landscape architect Claude Cormier, there will be so many concepts and ideas floated before everything is settled upon that we will never know the full extent of them.

We are getting a bit of an insight now, however, into how the project is evolving as a number of new renderings have been posted to various websites. We are bringing all of thse renderings together in our dataBase file for the project, and have a more focused look at a particular aspect of the project in this story.

Site plan for The Well, image courtesy of Diamondcorp

The Well's location is an obvious spot to be considered a gateway to Downtown Toronto. Across Front Street from the rail corridor, heading north across Spadina Avenue bridge into Downtown's west side makes for a great vantage point—it's just that there's nothing much to look at here at present other than a parking lot and The Globe And Mail's low-slung head office. Since the greenbelt was put in palce around the city and Toronto's development boom got going, land like this is now considered under-developed. For such a formerly overlooked but now prominent parcel, anything less than a landmark development would be a missed opportunity.

Early concept highlighting Pickard Chilton-design office tower at Front & Spadina, image courtesy of Diamondcorp

Accordingly, The Well's high-point on the skyline will be on the site's most prominent corner, with a proposed 34-storey office tower designed by Pickard Chilton (PC) of New Haven, Connecticut rising at Front Street and Spadina Avenue. Above, an image shows three grayed-out condominiums towers rising to its west above office and retail podiums, with a larger retail space immediately adjacent to the tower. Below, a more recent rendering shows far more detail and new colour choices being applied along that stretch of Front Street; things are coming together.

Looking northwest across Front Street towards The Well, image courtesy of Diamondcorp

The next step, is—or at least could be—in the image below. The Hariri Pontarini Architects(HPA)-sourced image shows one of several options currently being considered for the corner, one which blends the HPA architecture along Front Street into the PC-designed office tower. Presenting a large glassed-in space which as a beacon to passersby, the corner entry will allow access to the tower, to the retail spaces, and to an enclosed walking which leads into The Well's outdoor but sheltered shopping streets.

Concept rendering for the corner of Front & Spadina, image courtesy of Diamondcorp

Further west, but looking south this time, more details of how The Well's pedestrian spaces will look are now on view in several renderings. Split between entirely open and sheltered from above by the undulating glass canopy, The Well is aiming to have two floor of shopping at ground level, with commercial and residential spaces above. Vehicles here would all go to a combined underground garage, leaving plenty of room for the central open space—not showing a final design yet either—where those patronizing the development will not have to worry about bumping into cars or trucks or their fumes.

Looking into the central greenspace at The Well, image courtesy of Diamondcorp

UrbanToronto's dataBase file has been newly beefed-up with several more renderings that will fill out the picture of what The Well will be like, particularly in the shopping areas. You will find it linked below, along with a link to the associated Forum thread should you wish to get in on the conversation. You may always leave a comment in the space provided on this page. Let us know what you think of the latest renderings.

Related Companies:  Adamson Associates Architects, ANTAMEX, architects—Alliance, BDP Quadrangle, BVGlazing Systems, CCxA, Doka Canada Ltd./Ltee, EQ Building Performance Inc., Figure3, Hariri Pontarini Architects, II BY IV DESIGN, Jablonsky, Ast and Partners, Knightsbridge, Kramer Design Associates Limited, Live Patrol Inc., LiveRoof Ontario Inc, LRI Engineering Inc., Ontario Panelization, Peter McCann Architectural Models Inc., Precise ParkLink, Rebar Enterprises Inc, RioCan REIT, RJC Engineers, Tridel, Trillium Architectural Products, Unilux HVAC Industries Inc., Urban Strategies Inc., VDF Vertical, Vortex Fire Consulting Inc.