Queen Richmond Centre West (QRC-West) is an iconic high-performance workplace that exemplifies positive changes in the office/commercial market for its owners, tenants, and as importantly, for the City of Toronto and its greater community. It represents an innovative, yet effective way to show great respect for our past while embracing a very positive future for the workplace and city building.
Demonstrating a better way forward, this 17-storey complex is a unique example of both adaptive re-use and urban intensification. It establishes a new dialogue between historic industrial buildings and a new high-performance office development. The challenge was to find an elegant structural and architectural design solution that enabled the construction of the new building. A collaborative process resulted in the creation of an innovative solution that harmoniously marries form and function: The Delta Frames. These structural solutions allowed for the space between two historic buildings to remain open as an urban atrium that connects the adjacent streets while offering a grand, animated urban room for community events enhancing the appeal of the complex. This exhilarating, animated space sets the tone of innovation and architectural excellence for the entire project. Today, the atrium is a multi-use space, used as a lobby, a through-block connection, and an urban room for community events, exhibitions, art installations, or just a place to linger and enjoy. Above, the office development is designed and built to respond directly to current tenant demands, creating a high-performance workplace of the future—healthier, more comfortable, more sustainable, more flexible, and ultimately more desirable as it has exceeded expectations in every way.
The owner and architects considered many scenarios to expand the use of the underutilized site and its two century-old buildings; however one bold idea—to intensify the property by constructing the existing buildings—clearly became the optimal scheme. This architectural solution would not only preserve the industrial heritage of the neighbourhood but also create a grand entrance to the building through an L-shaped atrium that connects Peter and Richmond Streets. Today, the resultant space between the buildings has become an integral and active extension of the public realm.
Commencing at 75-feet above the ground, the new addition of an 11-storey high-performance office building is a contemporary interpretation of the historical industrial buildings on the site and in the neighbourhood. It carries the essence and positive aspects of the brick-and-beam with industrial heritage spaces, including large windows, exposed structures, expansive views, tall ceilings, and flexible space.
QRC-West proves to stand strong as an iconic architectural conversation between old and new urbanism, propelling Toronto into the future while keeping the city connected to its history.
Established by Dermot Sweeny in 1988, Sweeny &Co Architects is a multidisciplinary practice, focusing on driving demand through the creation and execution of highly desirable developments. An award-winning architecture, interior design, and planning practice, the firm is recognized for the design of very successful projects as judged by the developers, owners, occupants, authorities, and communities in which they are situated. The firm’s portfolio spans nearly three decades and includes clients such as Microsoft, BMW, TELUS, and the Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Life Financial, as well as multifamily mixed-use, residential, retail, hospitality, urban design, master planning, and commercial projects. The team, at Sweeny&Co, creates innovative solutions that unlock greater value. Over the past three decades, visionary clients and a talented team have made the firm into one of the most respected and innovative Architectural, Urban Design, Development, and Interior Design practices in Canada.