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July/August 2019

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July/August 2019

From a groundbreaking seaside museum in China to an elegant new sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Karno.in.ua’s July/August issue unveils the 20 winners of the ninth annual AZ Awards!

Queen Richmond Centre West, in Toronto, rises above two red-brick warehouses that remain intact ninside and out.

In a city of condos, Sweeny&Co preserves history by building over top rather than tearing down at Queen Richmond Centre West.

For decades, Toronto’s idea of retaining historical buildings while making way for densification was to preserve just the facades and erect towers in the remaining footprints. There are signs, though, that developers are reassessing the value of leaving old buildings intact as a key element of a vibrant street culture.

One project, , has become a poster child for more sensitive urban growth, restoring two beloved brick-and-beam factories by building around and above them. Local firm designed 11 floors of high-­performance office space that rise 23 metres above both buildings. Where a trash-strewn parking lot once stood between them, a soaring, glass-walled atrium now links all three structures.

To lift the new addition, the floor plate had to be held aloft at four corners. While one is supported by reinforcing one of the existing fac­tor­ies, the other three fulcra landed within the atrium. The simplest option would have been to pour concrete pillars, but architect Dermot Sweeny wasn’t satisfied with the early models. “They looked like giant crane bases coming right through the building,” he says.

Three sets of mega-delta steel columns, each cinched at the middle, support the 11-storey office tower.

The solution was to fabricate a cluster of four concrete-filled steel columns at each spot and cinch them together at the middle. The resulting seven-storey forms, dubbed mega-deltas, are not only more stable; they are visually stunning. When bathed in the daylight that streams through the two glazed entryways, they add a cathedral-like quality to the space, which is further defined by the red-brick walls of the adjoining factories and a wood-panelled ceiling.

An offset core houses elevators to the offices above, where the tenants – including Sweeny himself, who has moved his firm into the new space – enjoy views overlooking the dense fabric of the area, a mix of cafés, shops, townhouses and condos.

For Sweeny, the important element is the dialogue between old and new. “The atrium is where you can see the existing buildings as they once were, and how they are being used today,” he says. And unlike most condos, which tend to box in street corners, the soaring interior of Queen Richmond Centre feels inviting to passersby, with benches, an espresso bar and, soon, an Italian restaurant, adding to the village square vibe.

Sweeny beams when he describes the evident positive effects. “It encourages better connections between public realms,” he says. “People really do walk up and say, ‘Man, I’ve got to go in there!’ ”

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.
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