The University of Toronto, in partnership with The Daniels Corporation, continues its downtown St George Campus expansion with a striking mixed-use student residence development with expressive brick facades and a cleverly incorporated heritage component. UrbanToronto last reported on the story in February, 2019 after zoning was settled at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). This resubmission of Site Plan Approval and Zoning By-law Amendments provides further refinements along with detailed elevation studies and material boards.

Rendering – Looking southwest on Spadina Avenue. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The proposal for 698 through 704 Spadina Avenue on the northwest corner at Sussex Avenue calls for a 23-storey, 508-bed residence with ancillary commercial space, and townhouses. The site currently hosts low-rise brick buildings, as well as a fenced-in, privately-owned open space fronting Sussex Avenue. The heritage building at 698 Spadina Avenue—currently home to the Ten Editions bookstore—will be retained. Demolition on the site began in late 2020, with the removal of a vacant 1950s-era building which once held Canada Post offices.

Aerial photo indicating the subject site. Image by Googlemaps. Properties: 698, 700, 702, 704, 706 Spadina Ave; 54 Sussex Ave

For the site, Diamond Schmitt Architects have devised a 70 metre-high student residence tower and a 9.4 metre-high stacked townhouse complex, separated by a public laneway. The tower rises above a three-storey street-related podium, with its main residential entrance on Spadina Avenue. A retail space in the heritage building will front Spadina Avenue and wrap the building’s southeast corner, helping to connect the residence to the city, animating the street and enhancing the pedestrian experience.

Materials Plan – Ground Floor. Image by NAK Design Strategies.

The tower’s total proposed gross floor area is 17,065 m², comprising 16,660 m² of residential and 405 m² of retail. The building would house meeting, games, and study rooms, as well as event, café, and dining amenities on the 2nd level, and provide 230 units (with a total of 508 beds) of student housing from level three and upwards. There is no vehicular parking proposed in the building, only bicycle parking on the basement level.

Rendering – Looking northwest on Spadina Avenue. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The 3-storey townhouse building on the west side of the property at 54 Sussex Avenue has a total gross floor area of 892 m². It comprises 10 units (including six rental replacement units), offices, and meeting rooms.

Rendering – Townhouse facing northeast on Sussex Avenue. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The following elevations illustrate the new buildings’ material palette, which includes red face brick in vertical staggered bond or stack bond, in a smooth or artisanal finish, warm grey precast concrete, vision glass, dark grey spandrel glass, and aluminum details. The heritage building incorporates a red stock facing brick and painted wood cornice and trims.

Rendered East Elevation (Spadina Elevation) of the Spadina Sussex Student Residence. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Rendered South Elevation (Sussex Elevation) of the Spadina Sussex Student Residence. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The architectural drawings show that the eastern and southern façades of the existing late-19th century building at 698 Spadina would be conserved, while the north and west return walls would be disassembled and reconstructed. The Conservation Plan prepared by ERA Architects describes the integration of the building into the overall development, “This approach will continue to conserve the building’s primary elevations… and will ensure that the legibility of the heritage building as a three-dimensional independent volume… is further enhanced by the tower step-backs and glazing that delineate new built form from retained heritage fabric.”

East entry view on Spadina Avenue. Image by Diamond Schmitt Architects.

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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