Harbour Plaza embodies a ‘vertical community’ typology that has transformed a commercial site near the Toronto waterfront, formerly abandoned after 5 PM, into a vibrant 24-hour neighbourhood occupied by approximately 9,000 residents, workers and visitors. Slender, iconic residential towers are stacked above a four-storey podium programmed with retail above-grade and local services that animate the street. A bright white skin of pierced aluminum wraps the towers, inspired by the rippling reflection of sunlight on Lake Ontario. More conceptually, the woven texture expresses the meshing of social, cultural, professional and recreational activity on this intensified downtown site, and the interlacing of pedestrian pathways through and up the retail program into the residential buildings and neighbouring commercial tower (completed by another architect).
Harbour Plaza slips 104,414 m2 of mixed-use programming, representing 19.3x density, onto a site wedged into a complex network of urban infrastructure. The towers appear suspended above a transparent ground plane populated with services, cafés, and amenities shared by residents, local workers and visitors. Major retail tenants anchor ‘billboard’ locations on the podium’s upper floors, visible from the elevated expressway to the north. A planted and paved terrace on the podium roof welcomes residents, shoppers and workers from the adjacent office tower. A glazed walkway along the south edge of the podium connects to the downtown PATH pedestrian network. Banksy street art, discovered during demolition and authenticated by the artist’s representative, was preserved and now animates the walkway.
Harbour Plaza is integrated into the EnWave district energy system, resulting in energy savings of +35% compared to MNECB. The pierced, powder-coated aluminum balcony screens represent innovative use of recycled material, thus far unique in the city. Sustainable transportation features include proximity to transit and the PATH network, extensive bicycle parking, car share, carpool and EV-charging stations.