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Urban infill in a spirited neighbourhood.

Bedford Row ranks as one of the most unique pedestrian friendly streets within the downtown core. Along its entire streetscape you will find several iconic heritage buildings along with a mixture of contemporary and restoration projects. Existing trees, planters and wide sidewalks provide a unique identity and scale to the street, which was recently enhanced with partial closures to traffic, allowing pedestrians to take over the street.

While this portion of the city can at times be lively, many of the current neighbours lack multi-purpose tenancy; most are office space and empty after work hours. Developing more mixed-use residential buildings in this area can help counteract this issue and repopulate the downtown core. New residential tenants will continue to occupy the site well after the workday is over, and by opening apartments to the street and placing vibrant commercial spaces below, we can create more continuous activity in this area. The extra-wide sidewalk contributes to this idea, providing character to the street and allowing visual extension of the ground floor commercial space. Opportunities for ‘spill-out activities’ are endless and will be taken advantage of with high levels of transparency, operable windows and residential balconies just above.

1649 Bedford Row is designed to fit into the established context of the street, with existing buildings ranging in height from 2-storeys to the east and 15-storeys to the west. On a compact lot, the small building footprint was limited to 12 storeys with the stepback at the 7th floor. Articulations are designed in the lower façade, with indentations at residential units creating depth and variation to the streetwall. A horizontal reveal exists at the fourth level to pay respect to the height of adjacent historic buildings. At the 6th floor podium, deep exterior balconies are provided creating more depth and a subtle ‘top’ to the podium façade. We envision a soft nighttime lighting system to further enhance this aspect of the design. 

Above the podium, brick is replaced with modern metal panelling to create a distinctive tower aesthetic, pulling some smaller complimentary elements upwards from the podium. A landscaped rooftop creates a cap to the overall design, with 360-degree views. At the harbourside of the building, a zero lot line condition creates three facades with minimal options for visual intervention. We have articulated metal paneling at the rear in three different sizes in an alternating pattern to create visual interest from the water. This vertical elevator/stair tower will also receive a subtle lighting element at the top.

Overall, this development is set to create 33 new residential units on a small lot in a desirable downtown neighbourhood. There will be 11 two-bedroom, 16 one-bedroom and 6 studio apartments. There is no required vehicular parking, but there are 14 indoor and 6 outdoor bicycle parking spots. The design provides Barrier-Free access to all units, as well as two dedicated Barrier-Free designed suites. On the ground floor there is a residential lobby and 1150 square feet of commercial space.

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