Skybridge-linked Toronto towers will create a community in the sky
Skybridges aren't a new idea by any means, but rarely are they used as ambitiously as for the massive Orca Toronto project from Safdie Architects. The firm envisions a collection of nine new towers, most of which will be connected by skybridges to allow people to move around and enjoy amenities without ever touching the ground. Those who do venture down to terra firma though will be able to enjoy an extensive new public park.
Orca Toronto also involves engineering firm Arup and, assuming it actually goes ahead as planned, will span an area of 16.5 acres (6.5 hectares) just west of Toronto's famous CN Tower. A total of 10.5 acres (4.5 hectares) of space is earmarked for the park, with the remaining space reserved for the nine towers.
We've no word on how tall the towers will be at this point, however we do know that they will incorporate significant greenery and that eight of them will be residential towers containing around 3,000 units of housing between them. The one remaining tower will be used to host office space.
The skybridges will connect the residential towers and contain gardens, amenities, and some additional housing. Elsewhere in the development will be hotel space, transportation facilities, and a retail arcade that will be open during the summer and covered with a glazed roof during winter to encourage year-round use.
"The design features an innovative configuration of slender residential towers connected by elevated bridges which accommodate housing units, gardens, and recreational facilities, thus maximizing the permeability of the project and the park area," explains the firm. "Safdie Architects pioneered the concept of bridging between towers as a means of creating special public and community amenities. In contrast to individual apartment buildings, the linked residential towers offer connection as well as shared indoor and outdoor amenities at multiple levels to encourage interaction among residents and foster a sense of community."
The park that will surround the towers is designed in collaboration with PWP Landscape Architecture and will involve decking over existing rail tracks and planting a substantial number of trees and other greenery. It will also offer recreational lawns, children's playgrounds, walking trails, and bike paths.
The project is being developed by CRAFT Development Corporation, Kingsmen Group and Fengate Asset Management, and is currently under review with city officials, so there's no guarantee that Orca Toronto will go ahead but we'll be keeping an eye on the project and will bring more news as we get it.
Source: Safdie Architects