Located on an awkwardly wedge-shaped site along the shores of Humber Bay, 2002 Lake Shore Boulevard West is a proposal for a pair of 21 and 26-storey condo towers from Marlin Spring Developments that would see the final plot of vacant land developed amongst the new high-rise communities south of Swansea. Designed by Graziani + Corazza Architects, the pair of irregularly-shaped towers are sandwiched between Lake Shore to the south and the Gardiner Expressway to the north, stretching between Windermere Avenue and the on-ramps from the South Kingsway. The development was presented to Toronto's Design Review Panel this past week and received feedback from the team of experts.

Rendering looking south at 2002 Lake Shore West, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

The proposal is comprised of a western 21-storey triangular-shaped tower connected to an eastern 26-storey elliptical-shaped tower by a 6-7 storey link building, all of which sits atop a 1-3 storey rectilinear podium. The development contains a total of 607 residential units, 60% of which would be one-bedroom units. Retail and commercial spaces are proposed for the ground floor fronting onto Lake Shore.

Site plan, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

2002 Lake Shore joins a rapidly densifying community along the waterfront between High Park and the Humber River. Just to the east across Windermere, two 38-storey towers at Mirabella Condominiums are to be built on a vacant lot, while adjacent to that are the two 18-storey Park Lake Residences towers completed in 2010. To the north of the site, on the north side of the Gardiner and south of The Queensway, the 28 and 35-storey NXT and NXT 2 condo towers were completed in 2013, while just north of that, 26 and 29-storey towers are proposed at Southport Square.

Rendering looking north at 2002 Lake Shore West, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

The project was presented to the Panel at a very preliminary stage in its design, so Panel members had a lot to say about potential refinements and adjustments to the proposal. While Panelists commented that it was "refreshing to see a shape other than a rectangle or a square", they focused their criticisms on the height and massing, retail, and public realm of the development.

In terms of the building form, Panel members were nearly unanimous in their wish to see taller, slimmer towers with a smaller podium. They felt that the triangular building was too imposing in its slab-like form, and that the elliptical building felt stunted. They suggested that slimmer point towers would help preserve views to the lake for the residents to the north, and that carrying the geometry straight to the ground, rather than having the towers die into a conventional rectangular podium, would create more elegant and sculptural buildings. The taller point tower concept would also help reduce the tower floor plate size, which currently exceeds the City's recommendations and reaches upwards of 920 square metres.

Rendering looking northwest at 2002 Lake Shore West, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

With respect to the retail spaces fronting onto Lake Shore, the proposal includes roughly 988 square metres across four units; for some context, adjacent tower developments include either one small commercial unit or no retail at all. Panel members questioned the viability of retail at this location, expressing strong reservations that it would not succeed. The hostile traffic environment and extensive parkland surrounding the site make it an island, they argued, which would be difficult to support retail.

Ground floor plan, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

Further to that point, they suggested that removing the retail would give them freedom to reconfigure the podium and design a more interesting public realm around the building, including integrating some more green space. It would also work well in conjunction with their massing comments, allowing the point towers to be fully expressed down to the ground. A reconfigured podium, they suggested, would also mitigate some of the awkward roundabout hallways and long straight corridors in the residential floor plans.

Podium floor plans, image courtesy of Marlin Spring.

Finally, Panelists criticized the lack of consideration given to the public realm around the building, and suggested that a more innovative design could help stitch this development to the adjacent parkland and recreational trails. They strongly encouraged the design team to rework the ground plane to provide a more interesting environment that works better with the towers and surrounding context.

We will keep you posted as 2002 Lake Shore West continues working its way through the planning process, but in the meantime, you can join in the discussion by checking out the associated Forum thread or by leaving a comment in the space provided on this page.

Related Companies:  Altree Developments, Graziani + Corazza Architects, Hunter & Associates , Marlin Spring Developments