Parkside ushers in a new urban model for student residences, and is designed to facilitate active learning, interaction and independence.
A 190,000 square foot precast concrete structure that was once a hotel in downtown Toronto is now an animated student residence providing a full suite of amenities, including food service, recreation and conference space. Working with – rather than eliminating – the previous architectural character of the building presented an opportunity to formulate a design dialogue between contrasting styles.
Parkside’s proximity to post-secondary institutions serves a student population whose prior options included renting substandard housing far from campus. The reconfigured space features a variety of residential options, from single and shared rooms to large suites.
A concrete porte cochère is now pedestrianized and a retail component was added at the corner of the building to enliven the intersection. By replacing the precast concrete panels on three sides of the second floor volume with glazing, the design creates visual interest and connection to the surrounding urban activity. The project reveals an expansive open student lounge with a bold interior of wood finishes and red accents.
The renovated ground floor includes the main reception, a gathering place that is part open lounge, part study hall complete with a fireplace, a games lounge, bicycle storage and printing room. Contemporary furnishings further enhance this versatility, creating an atmosphere for both public and intimate gathering. A new slab opening on the second floor creates a double-height atrium connection and oversized floor-standing desk lamps imbue a level of drama to the public space.
The second floor is the hub of Parkside, with student amenity and recreation space. A gym, laundry facilities and glass-walled meeting and reading room are bathed in natural light from the new lounge that overlooks the street.
The high-ceiling basement was originally the cafeteria, kitchen, staff areas, and storage rooms. This program largely remains where pre-existing compartmented spaces now have an open floor plan that allows for better circulation.
Throughout the building, circulation and services were reconfigured to create a visually engaging environment.