31-Storey Bid Becomes a Record Mass Timber Height

Unix Housing Group – for notable targets – has proposed a 31-story rental building built with solid wood structure on College Street in downtown Toronto. The development will bring 494 homes to the area just south of the U of T, 80% of which will be affordable. Currently existing buildings on the site will be preserved and integrated into the development project, maintaining the fine-grained pedestrian-oriented character of the area.

191 College Street, Toronto, designed by Icon Architects for Unix Housing GroupLooking southeast of the proposed development, image by Icon Architects

The square site is located at the southwest corner of College and Henry streets and is currently occupied by four “house-shaped” semi-detached buildings that house small-scale restaurants and businesses. Listed on the city’s Heritage Registry, the buildings are surviving examples of late 19th-century homes with details from popular architectural styles of the Victorian era, including the Italian and Gothic Revival. Braemer College is located across Henry Street to the east and Theory Condos is immediately adjacent to the west.

191 College Street, Toronto, designed by Icon Architects for Unix Housing GroupContext map showing adjacent and nearby heritage resources related to the site, image by City of Toronto and ERA Architects

The proposal plans to condense the site with a 31-story development consisting of 21,000m² GFA for 13.17 FSI density. The new tower, designed by Icon Architects, will consist of 494 residential rental units, of which 408 will be secured as Economic units for at least 40 years under the City’s Open Door Program.

The redevelopment fully preserves the main (north) elevation and partially preserves the east and west elevations of the 191-199 College Street buildings. Approximately 1,400m² of commercial space will be located on the first and second floors, including the entire College Street façade. To the south of the tower and at level 74-76 Henry Street are protected properties that will preserve historic residential uses. The rear extensions of all buildings were to be removed.

191 College Street, Toronto, designed by Icon Architects for Unix Housing GroupImage by Icon Architects southwest of the proposed development

According to the Planning Rationale submitted to the city, the tower was “designed and built using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) to deliver much-needed affordable housing faster and in a much more sustainable way, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 3,300 metric tons. Development, Canada.” It represents the tallest wooden structure building in .

The 18-floor/85.4-metre Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway, is currently the tallest wooden building in the world. The first hybrid structure taller than 14 stories (this is also – traditional concrete construction will be used in the building’s core and podium) was the Brock Commons Residence Hall at the University of British Columbia, completed in September 2017. Currently Canada’s tallest (mostly) CLT building, Brock Commons is 18 stories high, ~53 meters high and can accommodate approximately 400 students.

According to the Planning Rationale, “the new podium and tower components will be clad in a wall panel system that includes diagonal panels of glass and aluminum arranged in a mottled pattern throughout. This will clearly distinguish the new components from the preserved heritage buildings and ensure a harmonious and sympathetic relationship. In contrast to the darker palette of ‘Theory Condos’ on the side, the Proposed Enhancement will read as a lighter and more effervescent building.”

The podium and tower lag behind the existing buildings’ roof ridge line to emphasize the distinction between old and new.

Out of a total of 494 residences openly aimed at university students, 408 are studio (83%), 9 one-bedroom (2%), 71 two-bedroom (14%) and 6 three-bedroom (1. %) units . Residents will be able to make use of the social area on the 8th floor of the building, 600 m² of flexible indoor space and a 200 m² west-facing terrace directly adjacent and on the podium roof. Limited above-ground parking (6 parking spaces) ) Accessible from the north-south road to the west of the site, behind 74-76 Henry Street. The two underground floors will house lockers and 448 bikes, but no motor vehicles.

The design team is currently considering incorporating geothermal heating/cooling for the building.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow updates for this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more in our Database file for the project linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the relevant Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:

EQ Building Performance Inc., Planning Partnership

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