Toronto is getting a condo building with an exterior made out of recycled junk
Innovations like carbon-absorbing concrete, sustainable cross-laminated timber, and facades made entirely of photovoltaic cells have taken the building industry by storm, fostering a wave of green projects that will collectively reduce Toronto’s carbon footprint.
But a building exterior made primarily out of recycled materials is certainly a new one.
A condominium developer is hoping to shake up the sustainable building scene with a new project coming to the Junction neighbourhood, its exterior composed largely of salvaged construction debris and other recycled materials.
Known as Craft Residences, the eight-storey boutique condo from Gairloch Developments is planned to rise at 3200 Dundas St. W, just east of Runnymede in the Little Malta area.
Craft features a stepped design with rounded corners from architects BDP Quadrangle, though the beauty here is mostly in the details.
The building's masonry panel inlays will be made up of 60 per cent recycled material, forming a pistachio-green mosaic pattern of porcelain, concrete, and other construction debris.
The use of recycled materials not only redirects them from landfill, but eliminates the need for cladding materials like precast concrete. This further helps the planet, as about 0.9 pounds of CO2 are produced for every pound of cement manufactured.
Even recycled beverage cans make an appearance in the design, forming soffits lining the underside of the building's roof.
Recycled materials will play a prominent role in the design, while other touches like linear glass brick accents break up the walls of masonry and allow light to filter through.
"The textural quality and subtle details we are incorporating will be best appreciated when standing up close to the building," said Heather Rolleston, Principal and Design Director of BDP Quadrangle and member of Toronto's Design Review Board.
"Gairloch wanted to use non-conventional materials for this project that had an arts and craft quality to them. We found this Amsterdam brick made of recycled materials, that had a monolithic pistachio colour to it, and we are applying it in very elegant ways to create a quiet and handsome building."
Rolleston was inspired to create a visual link between the Little Malta community and the island nation it is named for, drawing from landmarks like the Valletta City Gates theatre to devise the materiality and texture of Craft.
As interesting as the design is, it is quite the departure from what was initially proposed for the site back in 2020.
The 2020 design's irregular window pattern and dissolving brick pattern did not end up making the final cut, though prominent rounded corners and a cantilever at the base have survived the design evolution.
The project is offering a minimal collection of 86 suites, available in studios to three-bedroom and penthouse suites, with prices starting around $600,000.
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