ARIDO Award: SQ2

ARIDO Award: SQ2

SQ2 is the second tower in the first phase of a master planned revitalization of the Alexandra Park public housing complex by our developer client, in partnership with The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Located in Toronto’s bustling, culturally rich and diverse Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue neighbourhood, this 14-storey condominium expresses a stylish and contemporary retail boutique aesthetic. Inspired by the exterior façade’s 'cubist' appearance, and an overall minimalist approach, we employed geometric design elements in the lobby entry and lounge.

Interior Designer: Kelly Cray, ARIDO; Neil Jonsohn, ARIDO; Margaret Stagg, ARIDO
Design Firm: U31
Design Team: Christina Yoo, ARIDO
Photographer: Jac Jacobson

To achieve an upscale aesthetic and add a touch of drama in the lobby space, we layered multiple marble slabs in a polished finish on feature walls and elevator corridors, with black panels to add visual interest and movement. Large format porcelain floor tile is used throughout most areas exuding a sense of luxury, while also being durable and long-lasting. 

Elevator lobby walls are covered n marble and black panels to add interest

Geometric sensibility carried from the building’s exterior into the lobby interior is expressed in the faceted concierge desk, columns, and the ceiling’s origami- like design, offering residents and visitors a dynamic and exciting welcome. The lobby design accentuates the outdoor courtyard at the opposite end of the entrance, encouraging residents and visitors to step outside during warmer months to enjoy the peaceful landscaped oasis. 

Geometric origami-like black columns, and ceiling details and the faceted security desk in the lobby

Our client requested that we incorporate as much natural light as possible in the lobby area. As such, we designed a lobby with entrances and large floor to ceiling windows at each end, and access to the outdoor landscaped courtyard. This courtyard was strategically positioned to animate one’s visual experience when entering the lobby or sitting in front of the fireplace. To expand the lobby experience, we incorporated a 20’ linear double-sided glass enclosed ‘vapour’ fireplace that provides glimpses into the adjacent social lounge, making the spaces seem more open and more connected to each other.

A big statement geometric light fixture hangs above the lounge area in the social lounge room with ample seating throughout

The magnificent social lounge showcases a large statement light fixture, ample lounge seating, and luxurious finishes was positioned to benefit from the natural light coming through the glass door leading to the courtyard. To round out the amenities on this level, we designed a private dining room in a modern monochromatic aesthetic off the social lounge with a separate entrance. This provides the flexibility for residents to enjoy the social amenities together in larger gatherings, or to reserve the spaces for more intimate, private functions. Lighting selections echo the boutique retail experience we envisioned for this property, with the dining room chandelier mimicking the geometric thread from the exterior façade.

Private dining room on main floor in black and white and geometric chandelier

The amenity plan was designed to appeal to a wide demographic. Apart from the ground level social areas it also includes fitness and wellness amenities on ground and P1 levels. Residents can enjoy a spa with sauna, steam rooms and change rooms in a contemporary contrasting black and white colour scheme with wooden accents. 

The fitness area is designed as a professional gym, with zones tailored for cardio, strength training and yoga.The combination of teak and white cedar mingling with light toned marble and quartz surfaces, creates a tranquil environment, as does the botanical wall covered feature walls in the changeroom. All these spaces are  characterized by elegant curves, contemporary streamlined forms, and timeless material selections that bring in a sense of luxury and will surely be enjoyed by the residents and their guests for years to come.

Black and white contrasting tile in the changeroom with green leaf accent wall at the vanity

SQ2 is a home to many satisfied residents who truly appreciate the enhanced amenity offerings, such as the spa, which is unusual  for a mid-rise downtown Toronto condominium. The property continues to attract diverse local residents who could thrive in a modernized, stylish, and highly functional residence. According to the client, the success of the first phase, which included the completion of SQ2, contributed to being awarded another partnership with the TCHC for phase two of the master-planned community, and creating  a well-connected, racially diverse, mixed-income community in Alexandra Park.

Kelly Cray

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