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WESTSIDE LOFTS: A Greener Toronto?

by , 06/14/06
filed under: Architecture, Urban design

Westside Lofts, Toronto, Green Building, Green Architecture, Sustainable Building, Sustainable Architecture

Several weeks ago in Toronto, real estate development company Landmark Building Group announced a new design for the Westside Lofts. You may already be thinking, “Not another mid-rise, mid-town loft development” – but this project has us intrigued for social as well as environmental reasons. Active 18, an impressively responsive and realistic community association, has taken an interactive roll in this project’s design (during the second go-around, anyway) and that of other developments nearby. Because of this community response, the developers have committed to making the project a more pedestrian friendly, economically varied, and environmentally sustainable place. Or so the story goes.


Westside Lofts, Toronto, Green Building, Green Architecture, Sustainable Building, Sustainable Architecture

Early in 2005, Landmark approached the city for permission to build a typical high-rise residential tower on a piece of property that had provided a rich live/work environment for many years. By no means is this a unique story; an industrial or warehouse district becomes rundown, artists and “creative types” move in, the area becomes hip, developers see huge financial potential, the cool kids are kicked out, the neighborhood looses soul, and gains lots of BMWs. Timeless, right? Luckily, this neighborhood fought back, and appears to have won a small victory. The resultant buildings are lower in scale, have green courtyards, roof terraces, and will provide more than thirty live/work units on the ground floor. Although the project is registered with the Canadian Green Building Council, we’re a bit wary that this project may be “green washed”, as there is no mention of what sustainable measures and materials will be used, nor is there a description of the certification level being sought.

There’s no way you can please everyone in a situation like this, but we are encouraged by both the efforts of the neighborhood, and what appears to be the final product. Anybody from Toronto care to enlighten us?

+ Westside Lofts

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4 Comments

  1. Dawn Danby June 28, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    This is right down the street from me. Of course I have my fingers crossed, but it’s bittersweet. Through I curse their hideous temporary office, we’re really hurting for certified green buildings here in Ontario. Having them loom over the arts district, though… I’m glad to see that Action 18 is doing such great work.

  2. Architect Leopold Mak E... June 17, 2006 at 7:17 am

    I need to bee in connection with a company like yours, are you interested, please tell me.
    lemak@telia.com

  3. Torontonian June 15, 2006 at 6:28 am

    i can’t speak to the environmental aspect of this building project, but if the TV ads are anything to go buy the developers main concern is making sure “hip” “young” “affluent” and ultimately borring tech-sector workers know two very critical things…. 1.) the drake hotel is right across the street, 2) you’ll be invading a neighbourhood that’s already legitimately cool. I’ve neither seen nor heard any mention of green-friendly construction or design on this project.
    Oh, but the drake hotel was recycled into a new venue/hotel/club/restaurant from what was once a rundown joint, so maybe Westside’s proximity to it counts as recycling an already trendy spot instead of creating a new one… That’s green isn’t it? ;-)

  4. Architect Leopold Mak E... June 14, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    This is seriously,
    do you need a senior architect with lots of work in the fingers.
    I love to work and I´m comming as soon as you ask.
    If not asking me, it´s hard to beat you.
    Best regards from
    Leopold Mak Ender
    Sweden

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