The Un-Avenues: Integrating New Intensity for Housing, Open Spaces and Streets

The Un-Avenues: Integrating New Intensity for Housing, Open Spaces and Streets

Brown + Storey Architects Inc. have been involved in the research of housing types that intensify the yellowbelt neighbourhoods along Toronto’s north-south transit connected Avenues. This research is intended to explore opportunities to redevelop underutilized neighbourhoods and challenge the viability of the protected yellowbelt. Starting at the highest organizational level, the Park Lot system used to organize the initial plan of Toronto is uncovered and analyzed to understand the impact this has had on the structure of Toronto’s existing grid layout and Avenues. Utilizing Christie Street as a subject site, new block patterns and organizations are proposed to explore higher density housing typologies. This project, titled Un_Avenues, is intended to challenge city planning ideals to respond to our prevailing housing crisis with solutions that radically alter the relationship between existing established neighbourhoods, multi-family housing, and connectivity between urban block configurations.

Existing Block Configurations 

Series E is an exploration of the existing block configuration between Shaw St., Harbord St., Manning Ave. and the rail line to the north. A new block configuration is proposed that connects the disconnected city blocks to the east and west of Christie St., a result of the Park Lot planning introduced over two centuries ago. Development options are proposed at various places along Christie Avenue and adjacent to Christie Pits park within this new block configuration.

Podium Buildings and Courtyards

Series A illustrates the blocks between Christie St., Bloor St., Clinton St. and Dupont Ave., including the properties immediately adjacent to the west side of Christie St. A series of podium buildings and towers are arranged around a system of connected courtyards and pedestrian routes, introducing a new organizational system within the typical Toronto block configuration. Plans show the connections between open spaces at the ground floor level and the sixth floor podium level moving north-south along the project site.

Multi-Garden Courtyard Building Types

Series D breaks down the housing type used within the Un_Avenue blocks. This type, named the Multi-Garden Courtyard Building Type, is shown with with four density options and a larger typical block configuration.

Ravine Connection

Proposed as a bridge between Christie Pits park and Bickford Park, a public mixed use building connects the public space of the ravine system parks. This building integrates transit, public amenity space, residential and commercial uses into one larger civic entity. The section and plans illustrate the uses at the subway, concourse, ground and rooftop levels.

Aerial view of the Un-Avenues

Submission Panels for 2021 Urban Design Awards