While cutting edge design and building strategies are often perceived as practices that emerge and proliferate in the GTA — the central hub of development in Ontario — before spreading to the municipalities beyond, a unique proposal has just surfaced in Kingston, that hopes to become the first of its kind in the city. 

The project, known for its address on Kingston's main street at 600 Princess, proposes the construction of a 6-storey, mixed-use development containing 176 new dwelling units, as well as retail at grade. Importantly, the building would become the first net-zero emissions residential development in Kingston, embracing sustainable design practices to deliver a building that would represent a viable model for future green development. 

Rendering of complete 6-storey design for 600 Princess, image courtesy of Lemay

The project comes from Podium Developments, who have engaged the team of Enform Architects, and multi-disciplinary design firm Lemay to preside over the design of the project. With an application for Site Plan Control pending approval by the City of Kingston, the proponents argue that their development represents an effective use of the centrally located site, formerly occupied by a number of dormant properties and a surface parking lot. 

Site survey shows irregular shape of site, image from submission to City of Kingston

The project boasts an engaging design that takes advantage of the kite-shaped site to employ some unique massing, deviating from the conventions of mid-rise design that often lean towards orthogonal terraced massing. The focal point from the street is the building’s prominent corner at Albert Street, which incorporates the diagonal aspect of Princess Street's alignment to the local grid into the design by building right to the property lines along the site’s north and west limits. 

Looking southeast at the building's prominent corner at the intersection of Princess Street and Albert Street, image courtesy of Lemay

Viewing the site in plan view, we get a better sense of the building’s massing on the elevations that don’t front the street. A triangular cutout occurs along the southern elevation to create space for a courtyard outdoor amenity area, ultimately creating a roughly V-shaped floor-plate that further pushes the building’s formal boundaries. 

Plan view of project demonstrates the roughly V-shaped massing of the building, image from submission to City of Kingston

Looking at 600 Princess's various sustainable construction methods, Podium hopes to achieve net zero emissions through the activation of several key systems. Both heating and cooling will be achieved using a geo-exchange heat pump system, without the burning of fossil fuels. 

Interestingly, the building also employs a decentralized ventilation system with heat recovery on a unit by unit basis. Rather than using a central ventilation system that requires extensive ducting, each unit features its own ventilation system which brings in fresh air from outside, and heats that air with the thermal energy of the stale air that is simultaneously being removed. 

Among the various sustainability features, a high performance envelope helps retain heat, image courtesy of Lemay

Finally, a high performing building envelope ensures that as much heat as possible is retained during the winter months, allowing the building to operate at a constant and efficient level year round. 

The project is targeting Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard certification, one of the first carbon-focussed building standards in the world. The building also aims to achieve two-star Fitwel certification, meeting the highest global standard for occupant health and building performance. 

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, 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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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  Aercoustics Engineering Ltd, Arcadis, Fotenn Planning + Design, Lemay, Live Patrol Inc., RJC Engineers