60 Richmond 

Toronto, Ontario

Photo Credit: Teeple Architects

CASE STUDY

Initial Research by: Desiree Theriault

Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2017

 

 

Project: 60 Richmond

Type of Urban StrategyPermaculture, Sustainable Design

Type of ProjectUrban Infill / Housing Cooperative 

LocationToronto, Ontario 

Date Designed/Planned: 2008

Construction Completed 2010

Designer: Teeple Architects 

 

With the rapid growth of urbanization across the world, there has been a necessary need for cities to address their diminishing resources, exploitation of the environment and its extensive population growth. How can architects and urban planners begin to address this issue? How can they provide a sustainable solution that begins to reconstruct the earth’s bounties?

 

60 Richmond Housing Cooperative designed by Teeple Architects, acts as a catalyst for the future of urbanism and living architecture. The project marries both the functionality of urban structure and the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the environment providing a new architectural expression that addresses the issues of rapid urbanization and the diminishing of earth’s resources. 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative becomes a full-cycle ecosystem asking its residents to be a part of its ecological processes. The project features multiple outdoor gardens at different levels that provide the residence with passive design cooling and cleansing, rainwater harvesting and storm water management. Additionally, the gardens also provide the residents with fresh, local food creating a more sustainable self-sufficient community. The project also features a restaurant operated and owned by the residents of 60 Richmond Street. The result of these elements fosters a resilient, self-sustaining village within a building – a revolution for the demands of social housing.

 

CONTEXT


60 Richmond Housing Cooperative seeks to expand the notion of future urbanism by creating a fully functioning village within a building. The 11 storeys, 85-unit building provides homes to hospitality-industry workers and their families who were displaced by the redevelopment of Regent Park. While the project establishes an interesting and dynamic public realm for the ground floor of Richmond Street, it also provides the residence an opportunity to cultivate greenery, cool and cleanse the air, and absorb the stormwater. 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative then becomes a new form of social housing by utilizing architecture as an ‘extension of the natural environment’ (Archdaily, 2017). The project questions how we can begin to address the rapid growth of our cities?

How do we preserve the Earth’s finite resources? What about the inevitable destructive path of urbanization? 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative answers these questions by providing a unique urban strategy that utilizes architecture and people to fulfil a fully self-sustainable mini urban ecosystem. The project does this pushing and pulling portions of the architecture at different levels to create vegetable gardens, greenery and social spaces. This void and space also act as a cooling system for the building while simultaneously providing daylight to every unit. The vegetable gardens provide a sustainable local food market to the residence of 60 Richmond, while the restaurants and markets below provide careers for the residence of the building.

60 Richmond Housing Cooperative becomes a condition of ‘urban permaculture’- design that creates a sustainable cycle responding to both the ‘urban form of the city and the environmental condition of the site’ (Canadian Architect, 2017).




FUNDING


60 Richmond Housing Cooperative were forced to work with very minimal funds. The project was funded by the Toronto Community Housing Cooperation, Unite HERE, Local 75, and the Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto. The partners that helped fund the project wanted to ensure that affordable housing and a sustainable community for the hospitality workers of Downtown Toronto and the displaced residences of the Regent Park redevelopment (ArchDaily, 2017).




SITE ANALYSIS


60 Richmond Housing Cooperative designed by Teeple Architects is found on the corner of Church St and Richmond St. E. The building is bounded by four roads: Church St to the East, Richmond St. E on the South, Berti St. on the West and Ditty Ln on the North side of the building. The architecture of the building provides views on every street, overlooking Downtown Toronto, Old Toronto, Financial District and the Garden district.




PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY


The proposal of 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative originally began as an infill project. The project would address the low-income housing for displaced residents of the Regent Park re-development and provide a new public identity of the corner of Richmond Street and Church Street. However, the City Councillor Pam McConnell urged to push the design further by asking Teeple Architecture to ‘demonstrate what co-op housing can and should be’ (Hospitality Training Center, 2017).

In 2008, Teeple Architecture took this opportunity to provide a LEED Gold standard building that provides its residents with a multi-use, mixed-income building that pushes the boundaries of architecture. The project would feature multiple gardens and social spaces that provide the residence with ample outdoor living area, fresh and sustainable food sources, and better views of the city. It also aimed at providing low-cost living and maintenance for the residents by utilizing green roofs to reduce the urban heat island effects and provide passive cooling to the building. In addition, the project would also utilize storm water management and rainwater harvesting to provide fresh and clean to the gardens with no costs to the residents. Lastly, the ground floor of the project would feature a large restaurant monitored and operated by the residents themselves – creating a responsive, sustainable and fully functional community within a building (Canadian Architect, 2017).

The project was completed in 2010 and has since seen a number of awards including the Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award, LEED Gold certification for environmental stewardship, and Canadian Architect Award of Excellence (ArchDaily, 2017).




THE CHALLENGE


One of the major problems that Toronto communities face is the rapid urbanization and redevelopment of the city. Communities become displaced due to revitalization projects and are often gridlocked within the site context and short-term housing units. Teeple Architecture addresses the displaced residents of the Regent Park re-development by creating a stable social housing co-operative: 60 Richmond East Housing Development. The project provides residents with a dynamic new home that animates the surrounding area, incorporates the residents, and brings a new innovative approach to the ideas of social housing projects. Residents are invited to join into an ‘urban permaculture’ - a sustainable full-cycle ecosystem that allows the residents to work for the building itself. The residents become involved in the economic, social, and cultural flux of the building.




GOAL OF THE PROJECT


The goal of 60 Richmond East Housing Co-operative is to create a unified movement between urban and social. Some of the key goals of the project involve:

-Restating the importance of architecture within social housing projects

-Utilizing ‘urban permaculture’ as an exploration of the potential of the co-op as a social organization appropriate for the provision of affordable housing.

-Activating and composing the street connections, creating a dynamic public realm

-Creating a unique building experience that serves as an example of innovative sustainable social housing

-Providing residents with a stable home that creates a relationship between the architecture world and the social world.

(Archdaily, 2010)




DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS


The building design of 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative needed to be innovative and strategical in order to stretch the minimal funding and provide residents with low-cost, affordable housing. The building itself is designed with three stack modules that push and pull from the streetscape creating voided and protruded areas. The building is design with a 60/40 ratio of walls to windows providing ample daylight to all residents of the building while also acting as a passive design strategy to achieve a LEED Gold rating in energy savings. Each window uses a fibreglass glazing with Low-E, argon-filled, warm edge spacers that optimize thermal breaks and provide a passive design strategy that easily heats and cools the building.

In order to eliminate thermal bridging and ensure a durable maintainable exterior, the entire building is wrapped in a ‘highly insulated rain-screen cladding’ in grey and neutral cream colours. Pops of bright red, yellow and orange appear within the voided spaces created by the playful push and pull of the building modules. The building also recycled the original foundation walls of the previous building as shoring (reinforcement) for the construction of the building.

One of the biggest aspects of the project are the gardens perfusions and voids on many levels of the building. Each garden insulates the building, absorbs and manages stormwater and diminishes the heat island effect. The voids within the architecture provide natural ventilation to all units of the building, while also supplying natural daylight to each unit. The 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative has provided its residents with a sophisticated, innovative and sustainable building that generates and responds to all the needs of the residents and the environment.




ROLE OF DESIGNERS


The roles of the designers for this project was to employ the innovative techniques of urban permaculture and showcase architecture as an answer to the diminishing resources of the Earth. Teeple Architects were required to work with a minimal budget to create a fully sustainable, self-sufficient building that responds passively to the environmental conditions of the site and the residents within it. In addition to this, the designers were also faced with the role to address the lack of identity and public realm on the street corner of Richmond St and Church St. As a result, 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative was designed to become not only an iconic street corner but also a type of human settlement or village, a self-sustaining, social, and vibrant community.




GENESIS OF THE PROJECT


With the rapid growth of urbanization across the world, there has been a necessary need for cities to address their diminishing resources, exploitation of the environment and its extensive population growth. How can architects and urban planners begin to address this issue? How can they provide a sustainable solution that begins to reconstruct the Earth’s bounties?

60 Richmond Housing Cooperative designed by Teeple Architects acts as a catalyst for the future of urbanism and living architecture. It marries both the functionality of urban structure and the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the environment providing a new architectural expression that addresses the issues of rapid urbanization and the diminishing of earth’s resources. 60 Richmond Housing Cooperative becomes a full-cycle ecosystem asking its residents to be a part of its ecological processes. The project features multiple outdoor gardens at different levels that provide the residence with passive design cooling and cleansing, rainwater harvesting and stormwater management. Additionally, the gardens also provide the residents with fresh, local food creating a more sustainable self-sufficient community. The project also features a restaurant operated and owned by the residents of 60 Richmond Street. The result of these elements fosters a resilient, self-sustaining village within a building – a revolution for the demands of social housing.




CITATIONS


Canadian Architect. "60 Richmond Street East Housing Co-Operative - Canadian Architect." Canadian Architect. n.d. Web. 18 May 2017. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/features/60-richmond-street-east-housing-co-operative/ David Hayes. "Living at 60 Richmond: ‘I love this place’ | Toronto Star." thestar.com. 30 Jul. 2010. Web. 22 May 2017. https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2010/07/30/living_at_60_richmond_i_love_this_place.html Dani Alexander. "60 Richmond Street East Housing Co-operative | foodurbanism.org." Foodurbanism.org. n.d. Web. 22 May 2017. http://www.foodurbanism.org/60-richmond-street-east-housing-co-operative/ ArchDaily. "60 Richmond Housing Cooperative / Teeple Architects." ArchDaily. 2 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 May 2017 http://www.archdaily.com/85762/60-richmond-housing-cooperative-teeple-architects/ N.a. "." Arch.mcgill.ca. 4 Feb. 2008. Web. 22 May 2017. http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/mellin/articles/teepcoop.pdf Teeple Architects. "60 Richmond East Housing Development." Teeple Architects. 19 May 2015. Web. 22 May 2017. http://www.teeplearch.com/portfolio/60-richmond-east-housing-development/ David Hayes. "Living at 60 Richmond: ‘I love this place’ | Toronto Star." thestar.com. 30 Jul. 2010. Web. 22 May 2017. https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2010/07/30/living_at_60_richmond_i_love_this_place.html




PROGRAMMED ELEMENTS


Green Terraces at various levels that provide fresh local foods for both residents and restaurant

Kitchen Gardens – drawing daylight into the building interior

Ground Floor Restaurant activating the public realm

Playful voids and protrusions that act as social gathering spaces




PROJECT IMPACT


The project is one of the first co-op social housing projects that Toronto has seen in the past 20 years. The project addresses the growing needs of the urban fabric and has won multiple awards for its originality, sustainable design and innovative techniques.





 

EDITOR

 

Samantha Miller

Nicole Brekelmans

Zoe Goldman

Desiree Theriault

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