Giving Form and Materiality to an Amoeba-Shaped Property: King Portland Centre & Kingly Condos, Toronto

Session: Track B: Urban Habitat Award: District/Master Plan

Hugh ClarkMichael ConwayProject image

Hugh Clark
Executive Vice President, Allied REIT

Michael Conway
Associate Partner, Hariri Pontarini Architects

Working with the site’s amoeba-shaped property lines and complex urban condition, the development of King Portland Centre has created a network of laneways between King and Adelaide Streets to generate a vibrant inner block life lined with shops and cafés that encourages pedestrian discovery and a dynamic street life in a space that would otherwise be unused. Respecting both the material form and scale of the neighborhood, the development weaves itself into the site beside the existing Victorian commercial building to the east and the historic rowhouses to the north along the parallel laneway.

The development is set back from King Street and features two-story brick arches that frame the ground floor and connect to the district’s brick-and-beam industrial character, allowing it to effortlessly blend into the existing streetscape. The materiality lends a sense of solidity, permanence, and timelessness to the site. The masonry continues into the landscaped laneways, with clay bricks on the ground creating an intimate ambience for diners and pedestrians.

Green terraces offer outdoor spaces for the office workers and residents, and three levels of underground parking accommodate the needs of the 35,000 square meters of new space added to the block. Pedestrian access is encouraged through the series of interconnected mews-like routes through the site. These mid-block connections and inventive uses of public laneways for pedestrian routes and patio space have created a unique and vibrant public space for the neighborhood and contributed to transforming the development into a village-like community in the heart of the city.

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