Fashion House seeks to recapture the eclectic and creative energy of the historic fashion district. The project represents a unique interface of developer, architect, community and interior and fashion designers. Fashion House is a juxtaposition of business drivers and raw creativity within a community setting. The client sought to maximise density on the site and to provide a significant and functional outdoor space with all-day sunshine and downtown views.
Fashion House is located in King West, which was once Toronto’s garment district. The neighbourhood has steadily become gentrified by young urban professionals, both singles and couples seeking a lifestyle that is close to their downtown offices and leisure entertainment.
Community space and public venues are important to this development. Trying to avoid the cloistering effect of urban high-rises, the street level features public spaces. In the interests of pedestrian connectivity, public thoroughfares pass through these buildings at street level, connecting Morrison Street to the heritage building and King Street. Given the heritage status of the building, CORE worked with the city throughout the site planning approval and permit process to ensure that the original design and programmatic needs of the client were realised.
Owing to zoning constraints, the bulk and mass of the building is set back from the heritage building and where it has least impact on the neighbourhood, whilst still complying with the zoning bylaws. The result is a stacking of “building blocks” that creates a large roof terrace on the south-east corner of the site on the 11th floor, ideal for an outdoor pool.
Fashion House, a series of offset and stacking volumes, is based on two long bar-shaped elements set at 90 degrees to each other. The podium element is designed as a glass box, as a counterpoint to the brick heritage building, with the condo entry between these two volumes. Fashion House challenges the notion of using typical floor plates in a regular pattern, by using multiple offset and overlaid floor plates to achieve a more dynamic form that also complies with the site-specific bylaws.
The red curtains (white on the interior) are a metaphorical reference to the garment district of Toronto in which this project is located. Young Toronto fashion designers were given the task of creating a signature piece of art in the elevator lobby area on each floor.
The legacy of Fashion House is not just that it has become an iconic landmark at the centre of the fashion district of Toronto, but rather that it appeals to the shifting demographics of residential ownership in Toronto. Its design, scale and connection to the neighbourhood have created a community that contributes to the culture and growth of the city.