Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Located in the King West neighborhood of Toronto at Front Street West and Portland Street, Portland Commons by Sweeny&Co Architects Inc. is a high-performance office building commissioned by Carter Private Equities/Wolfe Corp.
The inspiration for this new 56,113 square meter, 15-storey tower is the modern interpretation of the comfort and urban integration found in the light-filled heritage industrial buildings that surround the site.
The building is updated to support new ways of working that foster collaboration and creativity in an environment focused on health, comfort, and well-being while achieving the highest levels of sustainability.
For its sustainable design, Portland Commons has recently been awarded a 2023 Green Good Design by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
Ground-floor restaurants and retail serve to activate the streetscape and animate the landscaped public realm weaving this new project into the pedestrian network of the urban context.
The fully pedestrian-accessible ground plane links the buildings with a multi-purpose plaza, exterior mews, and landscaped courtyard that knits the building into its surroundings and recalls the activated mid-block lanes of the neighborhood.
Multiple entrance lobbies serve four elevator cores providing the opportunity for dedicated tenant entrances and lobbies that activate the streets and effectively knit the building into the block and the community.
The massing of the building is divided into two main components each articulated with a distinct language of materials.
The podium wraps the building and is clad and framed with an articulated pattern of copper-colored aluminum panels that reflect the height, scale, and fenestration of the adjacent heritage buildings.
The mid-rise and high-rise tower above is clad in high-performance curtainwall that includes operable windows.
The stepped massing reduces the scale of the building on Portland Street, allows for sun penetration on Victoria Memorial Square Park to the northwest of the site, and forms a clear distinction between the street-related podium and the recessed tower above creating numerous outdoor terraces.
The green roofs and 13 outdoor terraces ranging from 26 square meters to 845 square meters help to connect occupants to the outdoors for improved occupant health and wellness.
Servicing components of the building are concealed at the southeast corner of the site within the ‘boutique’ portion of the building, which connects to the main tower by a bridge that extends over the mews on floors two through five.
Glazed terracotta panel walls mark the stair cores within the mews and feature walls within the public lobbies and create a contemporary material connection to the traditional masonry structures of the neighborhood.
The pedestrian mews are articulated by rhythmically spaced sculptural structural steel “struts” that support the cantilevered office floors that rise over the roofs of the heritage building creating drama and attracting the community to spend time within the public realm.
This steel is treated with a fire-resistant intumescent coating to allow these elements to remain naturally unadorned like the muscular exposed structures of the brick-and-beam heritage buildings that share the site.
The interior office floors emulate the raw quality of the converted industrial buildings in the vicinity through exposed concrete and large windows and range in size from 1859 square meters to 5483 square meters, providing a variety of planning options for tenants.
The multiple core design minimizes the need for common corridors and distributes services (mechanical HVAC, electrical, data) most efficiently across the large floor plates.
The building is targeting LEED Platinum Core & Shell, as well Building Gold Certification and WiredScore’s Wired Certification-Platinum, all placing Portland Commons at the leading edge of sustainable design, technological innovation, and occupant wellbeing.
Project: Portland Commons
Architects: Sweeny&Co Architects Inc.
General Contractor: EllisDon Corporation
Client: Carttera Private Equities/ WolfeCorp.
Photographers: Courtesy of Carttera Private Equities