The Toronto Design Review Panel has been advising the city for close to 12 years on projects large and small. Its mission, according to founding member and current vice-chair, Michael Leckman, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects, is for projects to strive for design excellence.
“We look for ways that proposals are fulfilling the highest ambitions of the city, and what is possible for liveability, walkability, quality of life and a high standard of design,” Leckman tells the Toronto Star in an article on how the Design Review Panel operates.
At monthly meetings at City Hall, the 17-member group of architects and urban designers review submissions before the city’s planning department and weigh in with critiques and comments for improvement. These can relate to a proposed building’s form, materials and how it engages with the street.
“To make a good city you have to stay focused on the public realm,” says Leckman, noting a key mandate for the group is providing input, through city planners, to developers on ways to improve designs that affect public areas — streets, sidewalks, public parks and open spaces.
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