Cambridge Suites is one of Canada’s newest adaptive reuse buildings. The original Cambridge Suites Hotel was planned by WZMH Architects in 1990. Now, the WZMH team has redesigned the mixed-use building to retain the existing 21-story building’s concrete structure while incorporating additional structural and design modifications to support the 50 new stories being added for the residential development.

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Two photos side-by-side of existing versus new, new being a taller skyscraper

The project seeks to show how upcycling pre-existing buildings and revamping them can produce eco-friendly new spaces. These alternatives to new construction help minimize costs and procurement of new materials, especially since the building’s primary structure is already in place.

Related: Check out these upcycled buildings making a comeback

A diagram breakdown of the skyscraper building design

Cambridge Suites is located in Downtown Toronto’s bustling Financial District. The renovated building will have 565 residential units. Meanwhile, the ground floor will be used for retail along Richmond Street East. The building is within walking distance of six subway stations and is connected to Toronto’s PATH system. The PATH system is a network of pedestrian walkways consisting of both above-ground paths and underground tunnels, which connect commercial buildings in Downtown Toronto.

Ground level of the street at existing building

In addition to the eco-friendly construction method, the building has several other environmental design features. These are to ensure that the spaces are sustainable and conducive. For example, the old electrical and mechanical equipment will be replaced with a new high-energy efficiency system. A mechanical penthouse will also be part of the building to manage these systems appropriately.

Ground level of the new building is all shiny and new

As per the Toronto Green Standard, a thermal façade will be incorporated to maximize thermal comfort and prevent heat loss from the interiors. This will be made from a lightweight vertical grid of aluminum panels and bird-friendly vision glazing for a sleek, modern look. Additionally, the architects have allocated 41 square meters of space on the roof for green roof infrastructure. Furthermore, the revamped project will also provide 571 bicycle parking spaces. This will encourage environmentally-friendly behaviors and an active lifestyle.


Images via WZMH