Rapidly taking shape in the heart of West Queen West, Streetcar Developments and Dream's Carnaby complex of lofts and condominiums at the corner of Queen and Gladstone is transforming an entire city block from a derelict no-man's land into a vibrant new community. Comprised of four separate projects, a new park, and a pedestrian mews, the TACT Architecture-designed complex has quickly taken shape over the course of the year as the final structures are being erected. Two and a half buildings of the development have previously been completed - the mid-rise Two Gladstone and Eight Gladstone condos - with residents having already moved in, while the final two phases - the Carnaby, and Twenty Condos - are well underway.

View of Carnaby Condos from the northwest, image by Craig White.

Streetcar first intervened on the site with the completion of Two Gladstone in 2011, an eight-storey condo building located on the southeast corner of the site opposite the Gladstone Hotel. Two years later, construction drew to a close at Eight Gladstone, a similar eight-storey condo development just to the north of its contemporary. Fast forward to today, and construction is just finishing up on the 20-storey tower of Carnaby condos, which occupies the southwest corner of the site, while the 11-storey mid-rise portion of Carnaby stretching to the north has topped out with the exterior cladding starting to be isntalled. On the east side of the site, north of Eight Gladstone and opposite the Carnaby, Twenty Condos has also topped off, with much of the exterior cladding having already been installed.

Looking north on Gladstone Avenue, showing Eight Gladstone and Twenty Condos, image by Craig White.

A closer look at the new buildings reveals some unique design aspects. The street facade of Twenty Condos prominently features brick cladding, which fits in well with the surrounding historic context. Its mid-rise massing is stepped back on the upper levels so as not to overpower the street. Strong vertical concrete fins adorn the balconies and accent the facade, which features recessed and punched out volumes breaking up the uniformity.

View of the east facade of Twenty Condos, image by Craig White.

The Carnaby proves to be an interesting design in itself. The glass-clad 20-storey tower is located on the southwest corner of the site away from the low-rise buildings on Gladstone, ensuring that the high-rise portion will not overwhelm any streetscapes. The south portion of the building is accented by horizontal white strips and white balconies that contrast with the flat glass cladding. The mid-rise portion extending to the north is broken down into four distinct facade treatments, a unique trick to avoid the monotony of a uniform aesthetic.

View of the west elevation of Carnaby Condos, image by Craig White.

Looking closely at the cladding currently being installed on the mid-rise portion, the difference between window size and placement along its facade can start to be distinguished.

A closer look at the west facade of the Carnaby, showing difference in facade treatments, image by Craig White.

It is indeed rare that a developer has the chance to build upon nearly an entire city block, and Streetcar has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the site is its public spaces. A new pedestrian mews will cut through the centre of the site, running north-south from Peel Avenue nearly to Queen Street. The mews is a first for the West Queen West district, and will add a unique public area and gathering space for the residents.

View of the alley that will become the pedestrian mews, image by Craig White.

The mews will also be connected to the east and west edges of the site by a passageway cutting through the buildings, helping to stitch together the different areas of the complex.

A tunnel will connect the pedestrian mews to the new park, image by Craig White.

Lining the mews will be a host of shops and services, activating the street life and helping to create a vibrant community. Among these retailers is Metro, which will have multiple access points from the pedestrian street, Queen Street, and the new park.

The central alley that will become the pedestrian mews once construction is completed, image by Craig White.

Bordering the western edge of the site along Dufferin Street, a new park will take shape featuring plenty of open space and terraced areas matching the slope of the site. The design of the new public space is intended to facilitate public gatherings and performances, and its proximity to the West Toronto Rail Path with contribute to a cyclist and pedestrian-friendly environment. Currently being used for construction equipment, look for the new park and public spaces to come together once the buildings are completed.

A rendering of the new park along Dufferin Street, looking south, image courtesy of Streetcar Developments

A further portion of the block that should be mentioned is the one part that will not (as yet) be redeveloped; that is, the northeast corner at the intersection of Peel and Gladstone, which still retains its original structures. Among these is the abandoned metal frame of what was once slated to be an offshoot of the Templar Hotel. We do not currently know if there are any development plans for this corner, or if Streetcar intends to one day fit this final piece of the puzzle into their complex, but for now, we can be sure that the existing buildings - including the ghostly steel frame - will remain untouched.

View of the northeast corner of the site, showing the existing buildings, image by Craig White.

As the final phases of this massive project race toward completion, the redeveloped site will contribute to the vibrant life already pervasive in the West Queen West district. The park and the pedestrian mews will add to the sensitive design of the buildings and work to further connect the development to its context. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting project in the months to come.

A view of the Carnaby site from the parkette at Queen and Dufferin, image by Craig White.

Additional information and renderings for all of the Carnaby site projects can be found in our dataBase files, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, (more recent photography of the Carnaby site can be found in the Carnaby Projects & Construction thread), or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  52 Pick-Up, Baker Real Estate Inc., Corban and Goode, Dream Unlimited, Giovanni A. Tassone Architects, Kentwood, Seven Haus Design, Streetcar Developments, TACT Architecture