Revitalization

Eco-Lofts and Eyes on the Street

By Ben Bull
Published October 16, 2006

The Toronto Star reports that another cool sounding eco-loft is slated for construction in Toronto's High Park neighbourhood later this year(Lofts with an 'eco edge').

Toronto-based architect David Peterson has recently returned from a schooling stint in Holland and he appears to have brought some of his lessons learned over here.

Heated sidewalks, recycled rainwater and an all-season courtyard are just some of the innovative features in the rookie architects design.

The building is being constructed on Ritchie Street, across the road from one of the houses my wife and I toured during our recent house search. As with many of Hamilton's streets, Toronto's Ritchie St. is a curious mix of shopping, residential and brownfields.

It's hard to know what to make of it. I understand what the developers mean when they say working out what to do with the lot was a "challenge."

Not everybody likes the infill. The lofts are replacing an old industrial space so you'd think the neighbours would be happy, but at least one resident is considering an OMB appeal.

Looking at the plans myself, I don't quite know what to make of the inward facing aspects of the design. "Eyes on the street" and all that...

Still, the developers have resisted the temptation to throw up yet another bland row house and the design certainly has its strong points. In Toronto at least, it appears that some developers are beginning to understand the benefits of building green.

Here's hoping more of them start to pay attention and follow suit.

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Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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