Safdie Architects has shared its design for ORCA Toronto, a proposed mixed-use development in Downtown Toronto that weaves together the surrounding neighborhoods with a new 10.5-acre park.
By decking over the 100-meter-wide, 800-meter-long rail corridor leading to Union Station, the project looks to reclaim a 16.5-acre site just west of CN Tower. Of the 16.5 acres, 10.5 acres are available for an urban park with six acres that feature residential, office, hotel, retail, and transit facilities.
Safdie’s design features a configuration of slender residential towers connected by elevated bridges that accommodate housing units, gardens, and recreational facilities. Pedestrian bridges will connect the towers and create special public and community amenities. The shared indoor and outdoor amenities will exist at multiple levels and encourage interaction among residents, fostering a sense of community.
The design will also activate 65% of the site’s area through a multilevel park. The park, designed in collaboration with PWP Landscape Architecture, will feature open lawns, playgrounds, walking trails, and bike baths that are accessible by ramps, escalators, and elevators interwoven throughout the development.
Shops, restaurants, and cafes will be directly connected with the park’s outdoor areas on several levels. The retail galleria seamlessly integrates with the park and is designed to be opened to the park in good weather and enclosed during the winter months. Direct access for pedestrians and bicyclists will be provided on all North-South cross streets to allow free movement from the surrounding streets to the park without requiring entrance through the retail galleria.
The project incorporates nine towers in total, including a corner office tower and eight residential towers that will provide approximately 3,000 housing units.
Safdie Architects developed the project in collaboration with Arup Engineering.