While the City of Toronto continues to wrestle with the challenges of addressing the critical lack of housing, the University of Toronto has been dealing with a housing crisis of its own. With the perpetual demand for accommodations from a growing student body, the University has had to do some serious legwork to provide real solutions, and one of those solutions is now rising above Spadina Avenue. Working with development partner The Daniels Corporation, U of T’s long awaited Spadina Sussex Residence has made big strides in the last year, and is climbing through the construction process on route to a final count of 23 storeys.
Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Harbord Village project has seen a number of revisions since its initial conception in 2016. The design was finalized in 2021, detailing plans to deliver 230 units, with a townhouse component as well as a partially retained heritage building at the southeast corner of the site. With this final plan established, demolition was able to get underway later that year. By November of 2021, the site had been fully cleared, aside from the south and east facades of the heritage building, which are seen in the image below from behind, being supported by a steel facade retention structure.
The next few months saw shoring and excavation get underway to prepare the site for the construction of the tower, but unlike similarly scaled projects round the city, the absence of any underground parking made for a quick excavation period. The site was bottomed out by spring of 2022, and was pictured in May with a crane already installed and concrete forming underway to establish the tower’s foundations.
Jumping ahead to February of this year, we can see that the crew has been making quick work of the concrete forming process. In the eight months since the project emerged above grade, the tower has climbed to a height of 14 storeys, bringing the structure to about 60% of its total height.
With the concrete frame beyond the halfway point, the tower’s two-volume massing can be seen clearly in the image above, created by a setback that positions the southern (left) volume at a recessed position from Spadina Avenue, allowing the heritage building to remain a prominent feature of the street-wall at the intersection. We can also see where the southern volume’s reveal section will be installed above the heritage facade, terminating just below the fifth floor slab which can be seen cantilevering out slightly to the south and east.
With the forming process advancing steadily, the crew has also gotten started on applying the first pieces of the building’s exterior cladding, which is mainly composed of precast concrete panelling with a brick veneer finish. Looking at this treatment in the detail shot below, we can see that the pattern is an unconventional one, known as a Soldier Bond, which sees the bricks laid vertically rather than horizontally.
With less than ten floors of forming left to complete, the project could be topping off by the end of the summer while exterior work continues to seal the building. Based on the project’s initial predictions, the completion target of September 2024 is not impossible.
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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