Angular Plane & Step-Backs
‘Alaska’ would violate Performance Standards #4A and B of the Avenues and Mid-Rise Building Study http://www.toronto.ca/planning/pdf/midrise-FinalReport-Section3-Part1.pdf , which state that the front façade of a mid-rise building should have an angular plane of 45º and integrate step-backs to “mitigate the perception of height and create buildings […] that are of a comfortable scale for pedestrians” (48). Rather than sloping away from the street, the box on top of ‘Alaska’ would project forward to the Yonge Street property line, negatively impacting the public realm.
‘Alaska’ should be revised to conform to Performance Standards #4A and B to minimize the impact on the Yonge Street streetscape.
The aesthetics of the building do not respect the character of the neighbourhood, which is primarily comprised of traditional brick homes. A key objective of the Official Plan is that new developments “respect and reinforce the general physical patterns in a Neighbourhood” (4.3).
The proposed condominium is within one block of the Blythwood Road Heritage Conservation District and within one short block of the Glengrove Substation, a designated heritage property. This historical context gives the neighbourhood much of its character. The design of the Alaska condominium clearly does not respect or reinforce the historic quality of the area. Instead, it seems to simply be a re-tread of the architectural concept developed for the OCAD building in the high-rise context of the Dundas and University area.
The proposed building fits the criteria for submission to the Design Review Panel City of Toronto: Design Review Panel : new private developments which are located along the Avenues and which entail “significant public realm impacts as a result of location, scale, form or architectural quality.” The developer’s proposal clearly has many of these impacts. Indeed, the development team claims that the building will redefine the character of this stretch of Yonge Street, without elaborating on what that means for the Uptown Yonge Character Area. As the DRP’s mandate explains, a design review is “most beneficial” in areas confronted with issues of “contextual fit and quality.” It would, therefore, seem fully appropriate for this development to receive input from the Panel.
‘Alaska’ should be evaluated by the Design Review Panel for “contextual fit and quality.”