The first new building of Toronto’s waterfront redevelopment opened this week. Corus Quay, designed by Jack Diamond, principal with Diamond and Schmitt Architects is a 482,000-square-foot commercial building on a remediated brownfield site on the edge of Lake Ontario in the city centre. The building is owned and managed by the City of Toronto’s arms-length real estate development company, Build Toronto, and named for its principal tenant, Corus Entertainment. The publicprivate partnership is the catalyst for mixed-used development of the formerly industrialized waterfront over the next decade.
Corus Quay is an eight-storey glass-clad building, which Diamond designed with “restraint, minimalism and simplicity to showcase the activities within”. The fully glazed ground and second floors provide for an exchange between radio and TV studios and the public through bay doors that open onto a waterfront promenade and Sugar Beach, a whimsical new park that overlooks a sugar refinery. To reduce the impact of the building’s footprint, a glazed atrium bisects two towers and casts natural light deep inside. The top floors are setback in a contrasting geometry and the recessed sixth floor has a continuous perimeter balcony.
Targeting LEED Gold, the building scheme employs numerous sustainable initiatives including green roofs, certified wood, low-emitting materials, light pollution reduction and gray water recycling. A four-storey-high bio-filter wall is Canadian technology in which a mass of tropical plants filters internal air to enhance the environmental performance of the building by lowering dependence on mechanical heating and cooling systems.
A city-mandated program to devote one percent of the gross construction costs of $150-million towards public art further enhances access to the building and creates a destination for the public. The UK-based Troika (www.troika.uk.com) produced three installations: Shoal, 467 iridescent acrylic fish that move across the ceiling of the main floor public corridor, Lightning Bolt, an illuminated sculpture, and Drizzle, an exterior lighting design that suggests raindrops falling on pavement.
Diamond and Schmitt Architects is based in Toronto with a practice that is worldwide. The firm has achieved an international reputation for design excellence through unremitting attention to user needs and innovative and sustainable design solutions. Current projects include the New Mariinsky opera house in St. Petersburg, Russia, medical, research and academic buildings throughout North America, sports and recreational facilities and residences.