As construction on several condominium projects advances unabated in the Entertainment District, the northwest corner of Richmond and Peter Streets will soon be ready to accommodate an entirely different use. Queen Richmond Centre West, or QRC West, developed by Allied Properties REIT, contains over 300,000 square feet of office space and ground floor retail. The new 17-storey glass structure is nearly completely wrapped in glass, providing a nice contrast to the brick of the existing four-storey heritage warehouse below. Yesterday, we explored the unique interiors of the building which have been designed with functionality and sustainability in mind.
Sweeny &Co Architects and Stephenson Engineering were responsible for the design of the project, which contains a number of standout features. First, a five-storey atrium wraps around the western and northern walls of the restored heritage building, providing a soaring open space that will host kiosk retail spaces. The space has now been enclosed with a mast truss glass system, with vertical trusses stretching the height of the lobby. The striking juxtaposition between old and new creates an interesting atmosphere, as seen in the image below.
The stars of the atrium are the 70-foot tall "delta" steel support structures which carry the weight of the glass structure above. Engineered by Cast ConneX, the tubes are filled with concrete and also fastened safely onto concrete footings. Passersby will be able to view the impressive engineering feat from outside the building due to high quality transparent glass that encloses the space.
A maze of scaffolding currently surrounds the delta frames, through which the imposing angular structures are visible. The image below depicts this scene from the vantage point of what was the roof of the four-storey heritage building.
A fire protective white coating will be applied to the steel of the delta frames. To prevent the collection of dirt and grime on the finished product, this will be one of the final touches to the project.
Photos cannot adequately capture all the lobby features, so we have put together a video that shows off the impressive space in further detail:
(Video by Craig White)
The fifth floor separates the heritage structure from the new tower, resulting in a space with soaring ceiling heights and an outdoor terrace. Once completed, the sweeping workspace should look like the image below.
Currently filled with construction equipment and material, the fifth floor and its terrace will be occupied by Entertainment One, which is also set to take four full floors above. Other tenants announced include the marketing and consulting company Sapient, the digital marketing company Givex and the world's largest producer of spirits Diageo. Two floors are still to be leased in this phase.
The 16th floor was nearly fully enclosed in glass upon our visit, with only the eastern half of its north face remaining open. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels, measuring 10'8", are scattered throughout the large floor plate as they await their imminent installation. As we begin exploring the space, some of the innovative design features become visible.
Exterior clamps are in place to hold solar shades which, when combined with interior light shelves and automated blinds, reduce solar heat gain and maximize natural light. The shades are also due to add some texture to the building which is currently a flat glass surface.
A pressurized raised floor system has been designed to provide better air quality. Ventilation and temperature can be controlled while also giving workers the opportunity to adjust the amount of fresh air through operable windows. These features will assist the building in its pursuit of LEED Gold certification.
The full extent of the top floors can be realized a little easier in this video, which also depicts the views from the hoist positioned on the east side of the tower as well as the views of the city around us:
The top floor provides panoramic views of the city. The spot is a great place to catch all the action currently happening at the Tableau Condominiums construction site. The Wallman Architects-designed tower is steadily rising on the opposite corner of Richmond and Peter, and is nearly the same height now, but will soon overtake QRC West.
Panning over a bit to the south, we can see construction progress at King Charlotte, which is quickly approaching its 32-storey apex. Peter Street Condominiums also becomes visible from this angle, as work on the CentreCourt Developments project finishes up.
While the western views are lacking in the skyscraper department, cranes still dot the skyline. In the far distance, the emerging skyline of Humber Bay Shores shows off its explosive growth.
As we look over to the northeast in the image below, Grange Park and the Art Gallery of Ontario garners attention. The park may soon undergo a transformation of its own in the coming years as landscape architect Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg has submitted their vision for the space. Topped out and mostly sealed in glass, Core Architects' 12 Degrees Condos is visible as well.
Finally, directly to the east, the 39-storey Picasso Condos dominates the view. Colourful cladding has begun installation on the tower to much praise as it contributes to the growing canyon along Richmond.
The second phase of the development at Queen and Peter, which would replace the three-storey red brick building in the image below, proposes nearly 100,000 square feet of additional office and retail space. The complex is set to transform an area that had been relatively untouched by development only a decade ago.
With occupancy scheduled for the second quarter of 2015, it will not be long before the first phase, including the highly anticipated white coating on the delta frames, is completed.
For more information about the project, check out the dataBase file linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Visit the associated Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided.