Diamond Schmitt’s Vaughan Metropolitan Centre wins urban design award

The first office tower to be completed in the emerging Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) has won the Award of Excellence at the Vaughan Urban Design Awards. The 15-storey KPMG Tower designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects anchors a new urban precinct that emphasizes pedestrian access and transit mobility. The building is connected by underground passage and street-level plaza to the TTC subway station that opens in December.

The LEED Gold project for SmartREIT and Mitchell Goldhar, SmartCentres, accommodates a 300,000-square-foot office tower and 65,000 square foot retail/office podium. A double-height glazed lobby links the building to a future nine-acre urban park and civic square.

Diamond Schmitt's KPMG Tower, VMC. Photo by Tom Arban
Diamond Schmitt’s KPMG Tower. Photo by Tom Arban

The jury cited the project as “an example of innovation and creativity that reflects and commands its site at a modest height.” The jury praised the public realm design with its iconic shifting patterns and introduction of a new flexible street typology for the City of Vaughan and for setting a high design standard in the VMC. The jury indicated a quality of lightness had been achieved through the seamless design and transition of the building’s concourse with its surrounding public realm.

Diamond Schmitt's KPMG Tower, VMC. Photo by Tom Arban
KPMG Tower interior. Photo by Tom Arban

“This porosity creates an instant urban quality in a changing context that reflects the civic character of the core mobility hub and begins to mark the VMC as a place that supports multi-modes of transportation,” the jury said.

The building, which opened in 2016, previously was recognized with the Office Development of the Year Award from The Commercial Real Estate Development Association Greater Toronto Chapter (NAIOP).

Diamond Schmitt's KPMG Tower, VMC. Photo by Tom Arban
Street-level view showing the central public plaza. Photo by Tom ArbanDiamo

Diamond Schmitt Architects also developed the VMC master plan and designed its first key projects, including an inter-regional bus terminal for York Region Rapid Transit, the PwC-YMCA mixed-use building and the Transit City residential towers. The VMC’s extensive landscaping plan — framed by a central public plaza — is being appointed by Montreal’s Claude Cormier + Associés.