Case Study: Condo Courtyard

Condo Courtyard

Robert Watson Lofts

Roncesvalles Village – Toronto, CAN

6 000 square metres (64,000 square feet)

Recipient of a Toronto Urban Design Award and a Heritage Toronto Award, with critical praise from respected Toronto Star Architecture Critic Christopher Hume, this conversion of a 20th century industrial building is organized and centred around a landscaped courtyard that unifies the original heritage building with a new residential building to create a unique outdoor amenity space in a rapidly evolving Toronto neighbourhood.

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Located in the historically industrial west end of the City, the landscape courtyard acts as the heart of the development and pays respect to the remnant industrial heritage of the site with a metaphorical shadow cast out of brick paving stones emerging from the iconic industrial chimney flue that was preserved as a result of our conceptual landscape design process in close collaboration with the project Architects.

In addition to the design challenge of creating a timeless and beautiful landscape courtyard amenity space, many technical challenges were resolved through careful design details.  The development’s proximity to an active railway corridor meant that a substantial concrete crash wall was built in conformance with Federal transportation requirements.  The imposing concrete crash wall structure was successfully incorporated into the overall landscape design of the site by strategically locating planting elements and architectural features that minimized its visual impact.  Site lighting was integrated into the overall landscape design strategy to accent the space and allow for residents to use the space well into the evening hours.  The courtyard was also designed with a sunken, secondary outdoor amenity space that allows the interior spaces to open directly onto and become an extension of the common party amenity rooms.

An elegant transition between the old architecture and the new structure works harmoniously together because of the careful design and scale of the central landscape courtyard.  Paving materials, grade transitions, and planting where designed to convey a sense of human scale and permanence reminiscent of a classic Parisian housing courtyard but clearly designed in context of a vibrant and emerging Toronto neighbourhood.

Architect of Record: Kohn Partnership Architects Inc.