60 Richmond East Housing development

Teeple Architects Inc.

Jury Comments: The co-op housing project in Toronto puts a new face on a typically banal building form, and has a strong sense of social sustainability that relates to the needs of its residents. Its public spaces, mostly gardens, depend on the care and co-operation of the residents. Atriums and single-loaded corridors in a building of this type, scale and density are adventurous and forward-thinking. Credit goes to the client, the Toronto Housing Authority, for taking a risk. Rainscreen cladding, drain water heat recovery, and the clever use of windows, instead of more typical large expanses of glazing, are examples of how this project re-thinks the high-rise building.

60 Richmond East takes an innovative and sustainable approach to the design of a housing co-operative, one that strives to serve its inhabitants as well as the surrounding community. The 9,000 m2, 11-storey infill building is located in downtown Toronto and responds imaginatively to its urban context.

The unique program inspired the building design. The residents are primarily union workers in the hospitality industry, which informed the decision to design a restaurant and training kitchen on the ground floor, owned and run by the residents. An exterior terrace on the sixth floor of the building is the location of a community garden. The garden is tended to by the co-operative residents; it is irrigated with storm water that is collected on the roof in a cistern. The food cultivated in the garden is used in the restaurant on the ground floor and the compost generated from the restaurant and training kitchen is reused in the garden.

There is also an Extensive vegetated roof on the top of the building that reduces storm water run-off and provides site irrigation. This, and water-conserving fixtures, will provide water savings of nearly 60% relative to the reference building. The suites are arranged in a single-loaded configuration around a central atrium, and have operable windows for natural ventilation.
The atrium extends through the entire building allowing light and air to the living units, and creating a ventilation stack effect without the need for air conditioning. The residential units have individual heat pumps and heat recovery ventilation systems. A sophisticated mechanical system transfers energy from the warm side to the cold side of the building.

VOC-free materials were used, and other materials were chosen for their simplicity, durability and low maintenance. Brick and concrete from the original building on this site were crushed and used as backfill during construction, while the original foundations were left in place to act as shoring. The building exterior uses low-maintenance fibre-cement panels installed as a rainscreen with no thermal bridging. Fiberglass window frames act as extended thermal breaks for better thermal performance of the envelope.


  • Client  Toronto Community Housing Corporation
  • Architect  Teeple Architects Inc.
  • Structural engineer  CPE Structural Consultants
  • Mechanical & Electrical EngineerS  Jain & Associates
  • Commissioning Agent & LEED Consultant  Enermodal Engineering Limited
  • Landscape Architect  NAK Design 88′ Inc.
  • Civil Engineer  Toronto Inspection Ltd. - Geotechnical Engineer
  • General Contractor  Bird Construction Company
  • Photos  Shai Gil

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