West Don Lands

589 King Street East, Toronto, Ontario
Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Units 243
Storeys 8 & 4
Total GFA 150,418 sq.ft.

West Don Lands along King Street East has enjoy renewed vitality with recent development projects including 589 King Street East.

589 King Street East is a LEED Gold Toronto Community Housing project consisting of two four-storey buildings, providing 115 affordable rental homes for families, featuring one-to-three bedroom units and an eight-storey, affordable rental building that will provide 127 one-bedroom homes for seniors along King Street East with commercial use at grade. The entire complex is planned around a courtyard that extends east from St. Lawrence Street.

After successfully winning the RFP, CORE delivered to TCHC a design solution that not only addressed the original programmatic needs but one that accommodated the existing shoring and pilings from the previous design that were already in place, representing substantial cost savings to the TCHC.

CORE provided TCHC with better unit configurations by vertically integrating the unit types, and provided a higher level of finish details than are typically found in TCHC projects. By relocating the parking access, CORE was able to create better flow through the three buildings and increase the green spaces. The building was also skinned in brick rather than wood. All of this was achieved while strictly adhering to the budgetary constraints established by TCHC.

CORE further delivered the entire project to the tendering process in 40 percent less time than typically expected due to the reduced timeline due to the reissuing of the RFP process and to accommodate the TCHC's fiscal deadlines.

This three-building complex demonstrates how well considered architecture can elevate a project to the status of urban place-making with positive consequence for the precinct in which it is located. Together, these buildings form a streetscape and an urban green space that goes well beyond the level of amenity envisioned in the space planning program for 243 family oriented residential units. 

This project has several innovations that provide an unusually high level of quality for affordable housing whiles still addressing the tight budget constraints. Unit configurations are vertically stacked to achieve economies in structure and services and therefore allow better allocation of the budget. The project has a higher level of finish details than typical TCHC projects. Relocating the parking access creates a better flow through the three buildings. It also increased the green spaces and the public realm between, which brings both groups together in a Dutch  “woonerf” or “living yard," featuring landscaping, seating, shading, a water play area, and albedo paving systems.

Despite the affordable nature of the project, the finish quality of the exterior elements is on par with surrounding condominium projects. These simple box-like masonry structures address King, Lawrence, and River Streets and quietly reinforce the streetscape and urban fabric of this historic neighbourhood without the need for superfluous design features. 589 King West contributions to the revitalization of this historic neighbourhood and demonstrates that affordability does not need to compromise on sensible design.