Reaching High with Transit-Oriented Communities in Toronto

Session: B: Sophisticated Density: an Update on TODs, Mobility and the Idea of Mixed-Use

Matthew PearceProject image

Matthew Pearce
Associate, Mott MacDonald

In the context of our rapidly-growing cities, we need great buildings and accessible, sustainable transportation. Learn how these two needs were combined to create transit-oriented communities (TOCs) in the heart of Toronto. The presentation focuses on how the designs for the communities were based around efficient integration of tall, mixed-use buildings with the Ontario Line – a new, 15.5-kilometer transit line. The multi-disciplinary team of planners, architects, landscape architects and engineers collaborated with transit authorities, government, local stakeholders and the public, to inform the building and public realm design.

The TOCs were optimized to maximize the build-over potential of the stations, integrating architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical systems to allow 100-meter-plus-high buildings to be located directly over the subway stations. As the majority of the TOC buildings are located within tight, urban sites, the process of designing tall buildings is set within a rich ground plane of transit plazas, green streetscapes and enhanced pedestrian connections. Building information modeling (BIM), automation and computational design were used for the rapid evaluation of building options from a technical, social and cost perspective.

The tall buildings introduced as part of the TOC program are the first in North America to emerge, facilitated by a new governance framework and a high level of design resolve. The TOCs will be delivered through a P3 process with private-sector development partners, helping to offset the capital cost of constructing the infrastructure. Accounting for future adaptability, including predictions of future passenger flows, changes in housing needs, community requirements, and construction materials, was central to the design and procurement process.