It's been a busy few weeks of milestones for the City of Toronto's Modular Housing Initiative, part of the wider HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan to address housing shortages in the city. Approved by City Council in May, the initiative has advanced rapidly in the weeks since, with the first two sites announced at the start of June. Among the two, 11 Macey Avenue in Scarborough—a modular supportive housing building that could be fast-tracked on the vacant City-owned site just steps southeast of Victoria Park subway station—is the first to have a planning application submitted to the City.
Proposed by CreateTO, the City's development arm for its own property, the Site Plan Approval application calls for a three-storey, 2,685 m² Montgomery Sisam Architects-designed building with 56 supportive housing units. Due to the transitional nature of the housing being planned and the urgency of need for no-frills, rapidly-constructed units, all of the building's proposed 56 units are planned as studio suites, averaging 27.7 m² in area.
Modular construction would allow for a much shorter construction timeline than typical of residential development. The building's 56 units would be assembled from 39 modules, prefabricated at an off-site plant, and delivered to the site to be stacked and bolted into place. The modules would rest on a Triodetic Multipoint Foundation (TMF) designed by Triodetic Inc., an engineered steel or aluminum rigid platform which sits on the top of the soil, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming shoring and excavation. TMF systems have been in use in Toronto for decades, with the same technology used to support Ontario Place's 1969-built Cinesphere.
With low-cost and rapid construction being the primary objectives, Montgomery Sisam have taken a minimalist approach with a grid-like exterior and a creative mix of lower-cost materials. The main finish is specified as grey lap-and-shingle siding materials, along with cedar grilles at street level.
Other features of the building include common rooms, a dining room, program space, and administrative offices. Residents would also have access to an outdoors amenity area with a mid-block path carving through the south end of the site. Connecting Macey Avenue in the west with St Dunstan Drive in the east, the path addresses the site's sloping grade with a set of landscaped public stairs at the southeast corner of the site. Public realm design is by landscape architects Baker Turner Inc.
A submission is still pending for the second site revealed for the Modular Housing Initiative at 150 Harrison Street on the former site of the 14 Division Police Station near Dovercourt and Dundas. It would create another 44 studio apartments, for a total of 100 new homes between the first two buildings.
You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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