Six50 King West was conceived to address the multiple, challenging objectives of the developer, as well as the requirements of the city and of local residents.
The project area is dominated by old warehouse space that has been converted into offices and commercial enterprises. The developer’s initial design called for two large L-shaped towers in this neighbourhood with residential and commercial zones. However, after careful consideration of the site, the neighbourhood and local architectural language, an alternative design solution was presented.
We determined that two buildings with an interconnected lobby and exterior garden space would make the best use of the L-shaped site. The resulting volume is a series of stacked elements, a design concept that appears to be inspired by Jenga, as a sequence of strongly articulated boxes. The grey brick and dark spandrel used for the project feature commonly among other contemporary projects on the street. The local buildings are typical brick warehouses. Early concepts proposed light precast elements for the exterior cladding, but we eventually decided on dark brick cladding to respond to the masonry vernacular of the neighbourhood. Although the choice of materials stands in contrast to the historical red brick of the area, the solid properties of the new development echo those of the surrounding older buildings.
Accommodating the heritage building and limited access presented unique challenges during the design process, but a solution was found that was both elegant and efficient.
The developer was aiming for a “green” high-rise residence that incorporated light, glass and transparency, the antithesis of the perception of energy-efficient homes. Green, horizontal hedging along the height of the buildings accentuates the modern and clean character of the development.
Inspired by the back-to-nature aesthetic of the green movement, the developer describes Six50 King Street as a building that is enlivened by greenery, not just concrete and glass. As a reinterpretation of a historical property, wrapped in a boxwood hedge, the visual juxtaposition of old brick and new greenery provides a contemporary and chic, as well as environmentally-friendly design statement. This LEED registered project, which features a green roof, will contribute significantly to the ongoing gentrification of Central King West, offering 220 apartments and 6 townhouses.
Energy efficiency is ensured by the use of smooth manganese brick, clear insulating glass, highly insulated exterior walls, extensive shading for the glazing by means of balconies and terraces, a green roof, and a rainwater cistern. The boxwood hedges on the balconies and terraces have built-in watering channels for using reclaimed rainwater.