Allied Properties REIT is looking to bring new office space to a trio of properties they own at the southwest corner of Spadina and Adelaide in Toronto's Fashion District. Two of the properties—converted heritage commercial/industrial buildings at 96 Spadina Avenue and 379 Adelaide Street West—are currently leased as offices, but the developer does not want to disturb those buildings while densifying. To the west, 391 Adelaide Street West is a part one-storey, part two-storey commercial building, built in the 1940s and not designated heritage. Here is where the company sees a chance to go up… but where it doesn't want to go too high.

Existing conditions at the site, looking southeast, image by Sweeny &Co Architects

To expand while remaining contextual, Allied has hired Sweeny &Co Architects to create a design that builds up on the 391 Adelaide site, and then builds over 379 Adelaide and 96 Spadina. Going up and over in Toronto has typically meant a facadomizing of the older structures to make way for the new: here, the developer and the architect instead mean to take advantage of the space between 379 and 96 to build a mast, and then to hang the new floors over those buildings from it.

Section showing structure, looking south, image by Sweeny &Co Architects

Sweeny &Co's building starts with a five storey masonry-clad podium—Allied's Hugh Clark invoked the name of Louis Sullivan, famed architect of the Guaranty Building in Buffalo and Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago, suggesting that the company wants a higher degree of detailing in the masonry here—and ties 391 and 379 together with a two-floor glass curtainwall recessed volume, before adding another three storey block of space. To the west, another recessed section surmounts 96 Spadina with a double-height room with balcony, and a sheltering overhanging structure above.

Sweeny &Co's concept for a new building to hover over heritage office buildings, image courtesy of Allied REIT

The building's upper floors—a four storey volume and then a smaller two storey volume—take it to 16 storeys high, while stepping back from the property lines to create transitions to adjacent buildings. A final partial level for the mechanical penthouse takes the structure to 76.5 metres, similar in height to where a stepback is proposed directly across the street at 101 Spadina—a 47-storey-high mostly residential proposal from Great Gulf and Devron, and designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects—which we profiled recently.

The proposed complex, in pink, in context, looking southeast. Image courtesy of Allied Properties REIT.

The proposal has not been submitted to Toronto's Planning Department yet, but was debuted in concept form earlier this week a couple blocks east at Allied's offices in QRC West. Locals in the audience gave a generally favourable review to the plans, and representatives of local City Councillor Joe Cressy and the Planning Department were in attendance to take notes. A formal submission can be expected in the coming months, and we will be back to report on further refinements or changes at the time.

For now, you will find more renderings in our Database file for the project, linked below. If you would like to talk about the proposal, you can join the conversation in our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  NAK Design Strategies, Sweeny &Co Architects Inc.