CreateTO Typology Study

This typology study for the Beaches-East York Pilot Project, part of the City of Toronto’s Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods, explores the feasibility of constructing missing middle-type buildings on designated City-owned sites to address growing housing needs.

Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (EHON) is a City of Toronto initiative to facilitate the construction of more low-rise housing in residential neighbourhoods to meet the needs of our growing city. The Beaches-East York Pilot Project is one component of EHON and will consider the feasibility of building missing middle-type buildings, ranging from duplexes to low-rise walk-up apartments, on selected City-owned sites that are designated Neighborhoods in the City’s official plan. The pilot project aims to deliver feasible missing middle demonstration projects that can be used as model for other sites, beyond City-owned properties, while ensuring a focus on affordability, accessibility resiliency and sustainability. City Planning and Environment & Climate staff have partnered with CreateTO to pursue this pilot project.

As part of the pilot project, a selected site in the Beaches East-York ward was the focus for this typology study that explored the feasibility of multi-unit residential buildings that could be inserted into a typical city of Toronto lot. The selection of the corner lot was a key driver in the design as it could take advantage of two elevations facing a major street and a local street, as well as increase height more so than what would be feasible in a mid-block location.

Three options were explored: a 3-storey building, a 4-storey building, and a 6-storey building. The units are highly livable for all options, as high-quality design was a key component of the project: each has access to outdoor space, windows are on both sides of units for ample daylight and passive ventilation, and each unit contains an in-suite washer/dryer. The two smaller options explored a single-stair solution, which was championed by the client team as it is the make-or-break component of feasibility for a smaller site. The 3- and 4-storey buildings contained two 1-bedroom apartments on each floor, with the ground floor units at grade for accessibility. Options with and without balconies were explored. The 6-storey building contained one 2-bedroom unit on each floor, with a carve-out on the corner for balconies, and a stair at either end of the building.

In order to meet sustainability requirements, the form of the building needed to be simple, therefore preliminary design exploration occurred primarily through materiality. Wood cladding was chosen as an attractive, sustainable, and durable material. With thick walls for insulation, the window insets were significant, and hosted a range of colours for an economical yet effective approach to architectural interest. Each option has a materially demarcated area on the north elevation for the entrance, lobby, and circulation, which helps bisect the large elevation.

This feasibility study demonstrated the possibilities for gentle intensification of Toronto’s Neighbourhoods with missing middle-scaled multi-unit housing, and laid the groundwork for the second site explored in the pilot project, 72 Amroth.

You can read more about the Beaches-East York Pilot project here.

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