Downtown Toronto is full of back lanes, and some of them have old commercial buildings on them that creative architects want to reuse. It is always a struggle with the zoning bylaws, the neigbours, the building code limitations on openings at property lines. For something that is so sensible as intensification using an existing infrastructure, the authorities almost conspire to make it almost impossible.
But Andre D’Elia and Meg Graham of Superkül pulled it off in a trendy part of midtown Toronto, in a building that I was in four years ago, looking at doing a prefab addition and just shaking my head.
This is it before. It is an interesting back lane; the middle used to be a roofers factory where they squeezed in four townhouses, near the subway and a block from the most expensive stretch of shopping in town. It is remarkable that such a piece of junk could survive this long in one of the hottest and most upscale parts of Toronto.
This is the cringeworthy explanation of how they manipulated the rules, adding up to the height limit, opening up the middle to bring light in (you are not allowed to enlarge windows that are on the lot line, windows facing the lanes are subject to rules on limiting distances)
The after, putting back on the corrugated, rusted steel.
The bright interior, lit mainly from above;
More Superkül in TreeHugger:
Taking Back the City: Superkül Live/Work