Richmond Town Manors
853 Richmond Street West, Toronto
GFA 16,200 sq.ft.
Richmond Town Manors is a modern interpretation of a traditional Victorian row house development that is very common and familiar in Toronto.
Situated in a rapidly gentrifying former industrial area, it offers a strong alternative to the faux-Victorian semis that are all too common in downtown Toronto. The existing site is bordered by residential properties, a body shop, and converted warehouse office space.
The development has nine, four-metre wide, three-storey town homes each with private garage and two outdoor terraces on the second and roof levels on this infill, urban site. Municipal guidelines and economic concerns necessitated a design that was limited to a maximum of 1900 sq. ft. The initial design incorporated nine rectangular boxes on the front facade. However, the massing of such a structure was not in keeping with the street vernacular and a revised design reduced these boxes to four and a half allowing for a better rhythm of the wood frames.
The design tried to incorporate some of the existing brick pier elements in warehouses and also show a clearly defined residential entrance. The contemporary facades – with Brazilian Ipe wood framing, floor-to-ceiling windows and charcoal brick – present a bold visual contrast to the older structures (a body shop, bungalows) across the street, but they also serve to expand the design language of residential infill in Toronto.
There is an organizing, projecting frame of Ipe wood that gives the facade its rhythm and the scale of a three storey building. The entrances are nicely sheltered and recessed under the ipe canopy and arranged around landscaping features. The second floor private outdoor living space is located above a covered driveway that provides a secure access to the parking garages at grade. The fourth floor accommodates all mechanical systems and allows the floors below to be fully maximized as living areas.
High quality materials were used wherever possible such as smooth manganese iron spot brick, Brazilian ipe wood canopies. The corrugated metal siding is a nod to the industrial background of this neighbourhood while aluminum floor-to-ceiling glazed window framing system, siding, and feature elements complete the design.