Monday, August 1, 2016

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – July 2016

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, and to specific projects with sun/shade issues in particular. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Toronto's Buildings are Designed for the Sun | Torontoist

Photo by Chris Toms from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Developers must prove to the City their buildings still let the sun shine.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment: imagine Toronto without zoning regulations. In particular, imagine it without the “built-form envelopes”—essentially, invisible 3D forms that rise above every plot of land in the city—within which developers and architects must constrain their designs and ambitions.

It’s hard to know what wonders and monstrosities such a carte blanche would permit...

The need for natural light (and even the occasional cheek-warming blast direct from our nearest star) doesn’t generally require a lot of justification. For our collective wish to avoid a purgatory of darkness and to often have a good excuse to wear sunglasses, the City offers the phrase “pedestrian comfort,” which is a broad piece of lingo that also encompasses wind tunnel effects and accessibility. Clearly, pedestrian comfort is its own reward, and the rationale for sunshine needs no more nuance than that; instead, all the subtlety goes into implementation...

City planners start to care about sunlight and shade at exactly the same moment when everyone else does— as soon as the time we spend outside isn’t spent rushing to go back inside. Whenever a developer brings a design for a new building to the City for approval, they have to show how the extent of the building’s shadow on three specific days [PDF]: March 21, June 21, and September 21—the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer solstice. The former are the two days in the year when day and night are equal, and the latter is the longest day of the year...

Not all shadows are created equal. “They are all site-specific and context-driven,” says Parakh. In parts of the city reserved for tall buildings, a long shadow might not add much to the overall penumbra. But if a developer wants to throw shade on Nathan Phillip’s Square, for example, as was the case with the proposed 90-storey Sapphire Tower near Bay and Adelaide, City councillors might just put the kibosh to it.

Outside of the tall building zones on the city’s avenues, the primary purpose of shadow studies is to ensure that light reaches the opposite sidewalk when it’s traveling toward the earth at a 45-degree angle, which guarantees sunshine at noon. Practically, that means that the building can’t be taller than 80 per cent of the width of the right-of-way, a technical term that includes the street and both sidewalks. So the height limit varies, but usually it translates to about four or five storeys tall. Developers can build higher than that if they want to, but in order to continue to allow the light past, they have to step back each successive storey by three metres.

But it’s not like sunshine is an unmitigated good. Personally, I don’t like the way it makes my face scrunch up. For people like me, Parakh offers this reassurance: “Don’t forget that people always have a choice,” he says. “When it’s an east-west street and you don’t want sunlight, you can always walk on the opposite side of the street.” In most of Toronto, the sun is a decision you make at the crosswalk.

My early shadow studies were done using a handheld programmable calculator, protractor, scale ruler, and pencil.

Oh, and an eraser.

59-Storey Mixed-Use Tower Proposed at 100 Simcoe Street | via @urban_toronto

100 Simcoe, Toronto, by Sun Life Assurance, Diamond Schmitt

Another high-rise tower has been proposed for Toronto's Entertainment District, with a rezoning application submitted to the City to allow a 59-storey building at 100 Simcoe Street…

Submitted on behalf of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, the proposal features a design by Toronto's Diamond Schmitt Architects

13th and Lonsdale tower goes to public hearing |  via @NorthShoreNews


A 190-foot tower slated for the west side of the 1300-block of Lonsdale Avenue is heading to public hearing, likely this September.

The Hollyburn Properties project breezed through council recently – despite misgiving from at least two councillors.

“I think the impact, in terms of the 18-storey request, is too high for that particular site,” Bell said…

While there are concerns over height, the tower would have very little shadow impact on the city plaza, according to a staff report...

Most residents who have weighed in on the development “were not supportive” of anything taller than 15 storeys on the site, according to a staff report. “Generally, staff find the proposed height and density to be suitable in this location though note that there is significant public concern with regard to the application,” wrote city planner Michael Epp...

RT TalkCondo @TalkCondo These are the best new condos at Yonge & Eglinton. @FreedCorp well represented here

The Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood is one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in Toronto.  The Eglinton LRT is currently under construction and when it opens in 2020, the line will intersect the Yonge Line to make Yonge & Eglinton a major transit hub on par with Yonge & Bloor.

Both commercial and condo developers have been quick to jump in and the pending developments will completely transform the neighbourhood in what we believe will be one of the most sought after areas to live for years to come.

Yonge & Eglinton also attracts a number of families, primarily because of the excellent schools in the neighbourhood (and some of the best in the GTA) including North Toronto Collegiate Institute.

Below are our top new condo projects coming to Yonge & Eglinton...

RT Eric Fischer @enf First shadow study? Jan '61 rezoning denied for 105' bldg that would "make the neighborhood arctic in climate"

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Cheers, Ralph

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