A joint venture of Bazis and Tridel could make waves in North York with an out of the ordinary building proposal. At scale, it melds landscape and structure into a curvilinear form. They’ve hired Rosario Varacalli as Design Architect and Kirkor Architects + Planners as Architect of Record to execute their vision.

Looking northeast to 630 Finch Avenue East, image retrieved from submission to the City of Toronto

The location is at 630 Finch Avenue East, on the north side nearly equidistant from Bayview Avenue and Leslie Street, and currently the site of an automotive garage and commercial plaza. The site is located among the natural ravine areas formed by the Don River to the south and east. A low-rise residential neighbourhood abuts to the north. Large swathes of green will afford most building residents permanent views over the site’s other defining features, namely the Don Valley Park Lands and/or the Finch Hydro Corridor.

Context Plan aerial view with proposed site keyed, image retrieved from submission to the City of Toronto

The firms recently submitted a Zoning By-law Amendment application to permit a 12-storey mixed-use building. The building would comprise of 206 dwelling units, 897 m² of non-residential gross floor area and 311 parking spaces within a three-level garage. It would measure 49.3 metres in height to the top of the mechanical penthouse from average grade, and have a total gross floor area of 28,333 m², resulting in a density of 2.97 times the area of the lot.

View looking west along Finch Avenue East past the existing commercial plaza and automotive garage. image retrieved from Google Street View

The development team believes the proposed building is compatible with the height and massing of some existing developments in the surrounding area (11 to 14 storey apartment buildings), and its siting and orientation were carefully considered to minimize potential built-form impacts, including shadowing, overlook, and privacy on the adjacent neighbourhood that consists largely of single detached 1 and 2 storey post-war homes and townhouses. 

Site Plan, image by Kirkor Architects, retrieved from submission to the City of Toronto

The striking ‘W’ shaped mid-rise was also designed to respond to its surrounding topography. Its almost sinuous form adapts to the significant grade change across its site (SE to NW corner) by concentrating the majority of the building mass within the centre of the site, while the building steps down as a series of terraces along its edges so as to provide a transition to the surrounding low-rise residential neighbourhoods. Accordingly, all building elements fall within a 45-degree angular plane measured from the nearest properties to the north, east and west.

Angular plane from west property line, isometric view, retrieved from submission to the City of Toronto

Along the Finch Avenue East elevation, a three-storey podium frames the street. Above the podium at level 4, the irregularly-shaped building’s wings are set back from the property line. As the building rises, levels 5 through 12 step progressively back at increments of approximately 3.0 metres.

The ground floor and mezzanine level of the proposed building features the building lobby entrance as well as retail units with direct access from Finch Ave E. Levels 2 and 3 contain dwelling units, primarily facing onto Finch, and screening parking areas from view. Levels 5 through 12 also comprise dwelling units. A generous amount of amenity space is proposed on Level 4, including 754 m² indoors and 472 m² of north-facing roof terraces overlooking the City. The MBTW Group have been retained to designed the landscaping. Opportunities for green infrastructure abound, including tree planting and rooftop gardens. Additionally, all dwelling units have access to private balconies or terraces. From the rendering, it appears that balconies are clad in two-tone green glazing panels to further blend into the verdant landscape.

Looking northwest to 630 Finch Avenue East, designed by Rosario Varacalli and Kirkor for Bazis and Tridel

The proposal represents a highly tailored approach to using the topographically distinct site given its significant variation in grade from Finch Avenue East to Banstock Drive. The building’s placement is meant to help it negotiate the grade changes and to connect with the subdivision at the rear of this site. As per the proponents' Planning Rationale, "Retaining walls will create a landscape buffer that provides natural transition to—and a green interface with—the adjacent neighbourhood and mitigates the perception of mass. The proposed development… reflects an important opportunity to redevelop an under-utilized site with new housing and grade-related retail uses, including the replacement of existing retail space, which will increase housing choices in the area and support the development of complete communities.” As the submission to the City was made in just the last few weeks, the proposal's trip through the planning process is just beginning.

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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