Adaptive reuse to renew aging TO hotel building for a fresh purpose

Cambridge Suites Hotel as it appears now. Photo courtesy WZMH Architects
The hotel after the proposed adaptive reuse transforamtion. Photo courtesy WZMH Architects

WZMH Architects has proposed retaining and altering the structure of an old 21-storey hotel building in downtown Toronto and convert it into a 230.85-m (757.4-ft), 71-storey residential tower.

The development, titled Cambridge Suites, will provide 565 residential dwelling units on more than 40,557 m2 (436,500 sf) of residential space, in addition to 126 m2 (1356 sf) of retail space at grade. The project will expand the 21-storey base to 23 storeys and add a 48-storey tower above it. The resulting density is almost 38 times the area of the lot, which complies with the provincial policy, requiring intensification of underutilized sites in those built-up urban areas well-serviced by public transport—the site is within walking distance of six subway stations, including Union Station.

The tower structure will have a slender footprint of 546 m2 (5877 sf) to minimize the shadow on Nathan Phillips Square to its northwest and St. James Park to its southeast. The project aims to be sustainable and environmentally friendly in its new construction approach. The green design features of the project will be:

  • Following The Toronto Green Standard (TGS), a thermal facade will replace the current one to create higher levels of thermal resistance and prevent heat loss.
  • The old electrical and mechanical equipment will be replaced with a modern and efficient system housed within the penthouse. It will be fully incorporated into the design of the building and will contribute to the skyline within the area. It will also be detailed with a pattern of tall, vertical aluminum columns, and spandrel glass panels, creating a tower top and screening the rooftop mechanical elements.
  • To encourage an active lifestyle and promote eco-friendly modes of transportation, helping lower the overall environmental footprint, the redevelopment will provide a total of 571 bicycle parking spaces, including a bicycle parking elevator.
  • Approximately 41 m2 (441 sf) of the available roof space will be occupied by green roofing elements, and a bird-friendly vision glass will be installed above the mid-level to reduce the risk of bird collisions.