April 3, 2014

Architizer Special Mention – Six50 King

Special Mention – Six50 King

Six50 King has received an Architizer Special Mention in the Architizer A+ Awards for the Residential High Rise (16+ Floors) category. In recognition of the exceptional quality of submissions received, the jury has acknowledged outstanding entries as Architizer Special Mentions, alongside the finalists and winners. With entries received from over 100 countries, the Architizer Special Mention distinction is awarded to work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement and that scored in the top 20 percent of entrants. Six50 King West was conceived to address the multiple goals and challenges of the developer and the concerns of the city and of local residents.

The developer wished to present a green high-rise residence that embodied light, glass and transparency, the antithesis of the perception of energy-efficient homes. Green and growing horizontal details of hedging throughout the height of the buildings accent the modern clean character that this LEED registered building adds to this corner of older Toronto with its 220 condominium suites and six townhouses.

The project area is dominated by old warehouse space that has been converted to offices and commercial establishments. The developer’s initial design called for two large L-shaped towers in this live and work zoned neighbourhood. However, after careful consideration of the site, the neighbourhood and the architectural vernacular, an alternative design solution was presentedAccommodating the heritage building at the corner of King and Bathurst and the limited access presented unique concerns for the architect during the design process, but an elegant yet efficient solution was achieved. The architectural nomenclature achieved addresses two unique streetscapes and each other.

We determined that two buildings with an interconnected lobby and exterior garden space made the best use of the L-shaped site. The massing evolved to be a series of stacked elements, almost in a Jenga inspired design. A series of sharply articulated boxes, and the grey brick and dark spandrel used for the project are common among other contemporary projects on the street. The local buildings are typical brick warehouses. Early concepts showed a light precast for the exterior cladding, however, we eventually decided to go with a dark brick cladding to respond to the masonry vernacular of the neighbourhood. Although the choice of materials stands in contrast to the red brick of the area’s historic properties, the robust proportions of the new development echo those of the surrounding older properties.

The site implements smooth manganese iron spot brick, low E-glass, highly insulated exterior walls, extensive shading for the glazing using balconies and terraces, a green roof, and a stormwater vault. It is also LEED-certified for energy usage. The boxwood hedges on balconies and terraces have built-in watering lines using the reclaimed stormwater.

Inspired by the back-to-nature aesthetic of the green movement, the developer describes Six50 King Street as a building that is alive with green, not just concrete and glass. A re-imagined historical property wrapped in a boxwood hedge, Six50 King’s visual juxtaposition of old brick and new green shoots makes for a contemporary, chic as well as an environmentally friendly design statement. This LEED registered project that features a green roof will add significantly to the on-going gentrification of Central King West.