Academy lane and beach house lofts
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1842 & 1852 Queen Street East
WHA Architects Inc.
The Walsh Group
This project is a very sympathetic integration with the scale of the street. So many Toronto buildings of a similar scale and context contain second and third floors that are unappealing to tenants. This is one of the few projects we’ve seen that represents an exemplary “Avenue” development for the City of Toronto. The architecture is authentic and has deftly introduced some very decent housing above the retail stores on the ground level—an ideal situation for a mixed-use building of this kind. The building extends flush to the street, which makes for a development that is firmly engaged with the public realm. The roof gardens are a real bonus, as they make use of an important opportunity to increase the project’s sustainability quotient. So often, we waste the space on the roof with poorly resolved mechanical systems. Another successful element to this project is the scaling down of the residential component behind the building.
One of the drawbacks to this project is the lack of sun protection for the ground-floor retail tenants. The easiest way to provide sun protection is the provision of an awning that is either permanent or retractable. Even if a glass canopy was provided over the sidewalk, better protection could be provided for its ground-floor occupants and passersby.