Toronto’s post-war suburban expansion has lead to a car-based urbanity that consists of two extremes in terms of density: the mono functional high-rise apartments and the unsustainable single family housing. “The Missing Middle*” is a term that refers to the absence of an in-between scale in Toronto, a missing scale, when countered well, believed to be the key to strengthen its under-built avenues.
After “the great inversion”, a period where the industry started leaving Toronto, the white middle class society got replaced by a poorer multicultural society, that are more reliable on public transport. This is one of the reasons that Toronto made a multi-billion investment in an LRT system along its avenues, in order to improve the poor transport-network and intensify the sub-urban fabric. These investments also induces new transit-oriented development to anticipate the expected demographic growth. This is envisioned by the city as profitable, rather oversized mid-rise buildings that further highlighted the separation between the avenues and the suburbs.
This graduation project proposes to counter this mid-rise strip approach with a housing strategy that envisions this transit investment as a unique opportunity to rethink the suburban tissue towards a post-sub-urbanity. An urbanity that wants to evolve towards denser, more affordable and more resilient suburbs, using local post-industrial plots (like the Golden mile), which will act as a catalyst to revitalize the suburban landscape.
This urban strategy will be demonstrated through a design proposal on a site suffering from profit development pressure, situated on Eglinton Avenue. The project/process rethinks the over-sized mid-rise envelope, releasing pressure by spreading the density with a certain porosity scaling down towards the residential fabric. Not only the urban form, but also the architecture of the facades tries to define this transition. It becomes a very dense interplay amongst compact, yet adaptable typologies, in order to find the true limits of a stronger and more affordable housing community.
Publication: https://issuu.com/nikvdw/docs/mp_vandewyngaerde_nik_r0367280_jun2 & A+ Magazine