June 27, 2016

12 Degrees of Design


12 degrees was designed as an urban infill project, fitting into the context of a mixed-use residential area where the city block has buildings that include both the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Ontario College of Art and Design.

12 Degrees is located in the historic Grange Park neighbourhood. Grange Park is a mixed-use, but a predominantly residential neighbourhood. The residential vernacular varies with a mix of working-class cottages, semi-detached homes to mansions from the former affluence one enjoyed by Beverly Street.

Many of the buildings have been re-purposed to commercial use, including art galleries within the vicinity of the Art Gallery of Ontario, restaurants, and offices. A large student population also makes up much of the neighbourhood with the close proximity of the Ontario College of Art & Design, located on McCaul Street, and the University of Toronto, located to the north. Given the art and gallery nature of the city block, the design became a playful exercise in massing and an anchor to the south-west corner of the block.

Design Considerations

The design can be read as analogous to the stacking of toy blocks with one of the blocks skewed at 12 degrees from the others. The building mass has been broken into a base and a tower.

The base of the building is three-stories high and is composed of townhouse style units that relate to the existing adjacent Victorian homes. The townhouses repeat themselves in a series of glazed window bays and stone-clad piers that make reference to the Victorian roof peaks and projecting bays. The base opens up at the corner to expose the glazed main entrance and lobby. There is a hovering canopy of wood that signifies that this is the public part of the building. The tower is fully glazed above the base and is composed of three parts that playfully shift back and forth from the building orthogonal grid. There is one portion, three floors high that is skewed 12 degrees. The skewed portion twists away from the corner above the main entry, helping to lighten up the building massing in that area.

We also used the stepping nature of the building massing to reduce the impact of the building on the neighbourhood. Shadowing was reduced and the building transitions down in height from 11 floors to three floors adjacent to the existing houses.

Built on a compact 36-meter front by 31-meter deep urban site on Beverley Street, 12 Degrees consists of a three-storey glass and ledge-rock clad base under an eponymous rotated glass-clad mid-section, all topped by a cantilevered glass penthouse. The bold massing holds its own with its arts and cultural district neighbours such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the dramatically cantilevered Ontario College of Art and Design. The design also fits with its other neighbours.

Design Features

The three-storey street-accessed townhouse-style units at the base of 12 Degrees share in common masonry cladding, projecting bay detailing and height with adjacent Victorian homes and row houses lining Beverley Street. In addition to its distinctive architectural appearance, 12 Degrees is noteworthy for its carefully considered urban design. The stepped form of the massing, transitioning down in height from 11 to three floors, reduces the shadow impact of the building on the neighbourhood.

The main entry and elevator lobby for the tower, marked by a hovering wood canopy, is located at the southwest corner of the building, closest to the vibrant commercial activity at the intersection of Beverley Street and Queen Street West. Further away from bustling Queen Street, individual entrances to the townhouses are located behind low garden walls, affording privacy and a series of small terrace gardens.

The building is located on an atypically intimate-scaled urban block with an extensive laneway system including a mid-block connection and a longitudinal lane. The layout of the service and access components of the building takes advantage of this block, offering particularly convenient access to the three-level parking garage as well as a servicing bay that is tucked into the lane system.

The upper levels of the building are arranged to provide for approximately ten units per floor, many featuring balconies afforded by the skewing massing. The top of the 32.2-meter high building has two penthouses one featuring a 600-square-foot terrace. The top of the building also has amenities for the entire condominium including a seasonal swimming pool and a large terrace offering unparalleled views of the Toronto skyline.

In addition to the six, two-storey townhomes along Beverley Street, 12 Degrees will include 85 units, ranging from 450-square-foot studios to 1,700-square-foot suites. Thirty-one units will contain two bedrooms and nine condos will have three bedrooms.