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“The Well” Urban Project and Office Building at 8 Spadina Avenue

A new take on urban architecture

Hariri Pontarini Architects

“The Well” Urban Project and Office Building at 8 Spadina Avenue
By Diana Carta -

Located in Toronto’s central-west Wellington Place neighborhood, a short distance from the banks of Lake Ontario and the financial district, The Well provides its residents with easy access to the city center. Flanked on one side by the large green spaces of Clarence Square and the Victoria Memorial Park on the other, this new development brings urban density and vitality to create a new destination in this rapidly growing metropolis.

Designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, the district revitalization masterplan includes an articulated series of pedestrian walkways – including elevated passages at double and triple heights – through the lower levels of the major new block. The backbone of the new urban area, this central, three-level covered walkway stretches the full length of the podium on which the seven residential and office buildings stand. A large glazed canopy shelters pedestrians from the elements, while the sides of this ground-floor thoroughfare remain open to allow for natural ventilation and year-round access to and from the street. Light streams down into the pedestrian areas ensuring both visibility and livability for local residents, office and retail workers, and visitors. Clearly aimed at creating new links and public spaces to generate a sense of community, the promenade hosts a variety of “outdoor” activities, cultural and community programs amidst natural vegetation.

The Well’s site plan also includes a mid-19th-century tree-lined avenue along the south side of Wellington Street that will link Clarence Square on one side of the project with Victoria Memorial Park on the other. The area encompassing the King Spadina Heritage District, the city’s Financial District, King West, and nearby Draper Street has a long history as an industrial hub – as evidenced by the rows of brick and timber-frame buildings whose large interiors once housed the cumbersome machinery of...

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