Once in a while, amidst the flurry of development activity across the GTA, a rare development site pops up that offers the potential to create something unique. Often these sites are defined by a prime urban location, a distinct history, or its shear size, but in the case of this proposal in eastern Brampton, its defining characteristic is totally green. The property is a narrow triangle of land located at the northwest corner of Queen Street East and McVean Drive that juts into the surrounding Claireville Conservation Area, a sliver left over from the construction of the highway that has remained largely vacant since it was first created. Surrounded by the conservation area to the north, west, and south, the property is all but guaranteed to have unobstructed views over the protected green space to the distant skylines beyond.

Rendering looking northwest from the intersection of Queen and McVean, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

Bramcon Construction Ltd has enlisted Icon Architects to design a mixed-use development for the unique site at Queen & McVean, comprised of a 34-storey residential tower and a 3-storey commercial building. In total, the development proposes 444 residential units and 4,485m² of commercial and retail space, with over 4,600m² of publicly-accessible open space at grade, making up nearly half of the total site area.

Landscape plan, image via submission to the City of Brampton.

The tower occupies the southern portion of the site along Queen, while the eastern edge is occupied by the commercial building fronting onto McVean. A courtyard separates the tower and the commercial building and provides a direct pedestrian connection to the bus stop at the intersection of Queen and McVean. Smaller public spaces are located at the western corner of the site and on the southern edge, with an improved streetscape design on all three sides of the property.

Aerial rendering looking northwest, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The massing of the buildings takes on a unique form that speaks to the triangular shape of the site. There are very few right angles, with the volumes of both the tower and commercial building folding and bending, culminating in sharp acute corners that jut out toward the surrounding greenery. The dynamic shapes create movement in their composition; rather than simply extruding the zoning boundaries upward, the buildings are carved in a way that respond to their surroundings.

Physical model of the development, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The defining feature of the tower is the screen of columns at ground level, which begin vertically at their base but then branch out into diagonal members at their crown. This pattern is carried onto the facade of the commercial building, where intersecting diagonal lines criss-cross its southern portion. These features take their inspiration from the surrounding conservation area, mimicking the form of trees and natural landscapes that encircle the site.

Rendering looking east along the north edge of the site, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The design of the landscaping also takes influence from the irregular site and its context. A series of integrated ramps and stairs navigate the slope of the site to bring pedestrians to and from the inner courtyard and the adjacent bus stop.

Rendering looking north through the courtyard, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The courtyard is bounded on two sides by the tower and commercial building, and much like the built form in the development, it largely avoids the use of right angles in its design. Paving patterns, planted areas, seating, and walkways intersect at a variety of angles like a giant jigsaw puzzle, creating a dynamic site plan that mimics the adjacent structures. The diagonal tree motif on the facades of the two buildings is also intended to be carried into the design of a courtyard pavilion. At the centre of the courtyard, space is reserved for a potential public art piece.

Rendering looking northwest from the bus stop into the courtyard, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The retail and commercial space is spread throughout the development, with retail occupying the ground floors of both buildings and office space occupying the top two floors of the commercial building. The current floor plans show both large and small format spaces, and given the mainly residential neighbourhoods nearby, the retail will likely serve the larger community in addition to the tower's residents.

Rendering looking northwest, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

The tower podium rises 8 storeys, with rooftop amenities located on the ninth floor, and includes over 2,400m² of indoor and outdoor amenity space. Interestingly, the development is proposed to have 57% of the units sized two-bedrooms or larger, with the remaining 43% of the units being one-bedrooms and one-bedrooms-plus-den. Three levels of underground parking and surface parking along the north edge of the property serve both the residential and commercial users.

Rendering of the west corner of the site looking south, image courtesy of Icon Architects.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on the Queen & McVean proposal, 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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Related Companies:  Icon Architects