As Regent Park's high-profile transformation continues to the east of Downtown Toronto, the rebuild of Alexandra Park is quickly progressing to the west of Downtown. Just northwest of the Queen and Spadina intersection, the redevelopment's first phase is quickly becoming a prominent presence in the area, with SQ now rising above one of the city's most vibrant intersections.

Cladding is now making its way up much of SQ, image by Stefan Novakovic

Spearheaded by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), and Tridel, the revitalization of Alexandra Park will create a mixed-income neighbourhood on the west side of Downtown. Replacing ageing rows—and labyrinths—of publicly subsidized townhouses units, the master planned new neighbourhood will include a total of 806 new and refurbished rent-geared-to-income units, alongside 1,540 market-rate condominiums, all along a less labyrinthine, reconstructed street grid. 

SQ rises above the Queen and Spadina area, image by Stefan Novakovic

The first of Tridel's new buildings is now moving towards the latter stages of construction, with much of the Teeple-designed SQ now clad in anodized aluminum panels. The white panels contrast with the darker mullions that frame the building's windows.

Looking north at SQ, image by Stefan Novakovic

Unlike most of Toronto's new-build condos, the building envelope is not dominated by glazing and back-painted glass spandrel. Instead, Teeple's signature cubist-inspired aesthetic makes for a more solid presence, with splashes of bright yellow set to accentuate the building's offset cubic forms. 

The completed building will feature yellow accents, the first of which are now taking shape, image courtesy of Tridel

Just west of the 14-storey SQ, a row of new TCHC townhouses now fronts the east side of Vanauley Street. Stretching north from the recently opened—and brightly coloured—YMCA, a number of the townhouses are already inhabited.

The row of townhouses (left) begins just north of the YMCA, image by Stefan Novakovic

Further north, construction is wrapping up on the last of the phase one townhouse units, which discretely mirror the aesthetic of the tower behind them. The same white panels and yellow accents frame a number of the windows, making for a welcoming and subtly playful presence. 

The townhouses, with SQ in the background, image by Stefan Novakovic

While the construction process inherently presents a hindrance to the site's neighbours, the developers have taken steps to mitigate the impacts of the build-out. Working with The Bowery Project, the City, TCHC, and Tridel, have facilitated the creation of a temporary community garden in a sheltered space alongside the construction site, giving area residents access to fresh produce during the summer months. 

A community garden has been installed alongside the site, image by Stefan Novakovic

Meanwhile, the west side of Vanauley Street is soon to get under construction as well, with SQ2 set to rise just north of an existing mid-rise TCHC building (which is currently being refurbished). Also designed by Teeple, the darker SQ2 will contrast with the silver-white building to its west, bringing a sense of aesthetically cohesive diversity to the area. 

SQ2, image courtesy of Tridel

Like its lighter twin, SQ2 will rise to a height of 14 storeys, with a fairly extensive green roof topping most of the building. Both buildings will also share a similar massing strategy, with the interplay of cubic forms allowing the structures to gracefully step down to meet the scale of the surrounding community. SQ2 will feature 169 residential suites, with amenities including a yoga/pilates studio, steam rooms and a sauna, a fireside lounge, and a party room with kitchen.

The two buildings in their urban context (looking southeast), image courtesy of Tridel

We will return with additional information as construction of SQ continues, and SQ2's ground breaking approaches. In the meantime, you can visit our dataBase file for the project, linked below, get involved in the discussion by visiting one of the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Kirkor Architects Planners, Teeple Architects, Tridel, U31