Teeple Architects’ 60 Richmond Street East Housing Co-operative wins ArchDaily Building of the Year Award

After more then 30,000 votes in the last round, the winners of the ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards have been posted. Teeple Architects’ 60 Richmond Street East Housing Co-operative is the winner for the Housing category selected from hundreds of projects around the globe.

60 Richmond Street East was completed in March of 2010. This 11-storey, 85-unit mixed-use building is among the first new housing co-ops to be built in Toronto in recent years. It won the Ontario Association of Architects Design Excellence Award (2010) and the Canadian Architect Award of Excellence (2007). It has achieved LEED Gold certification for environmental stewardship.

The client program – a housing co-op for hospitality workers that would be economical to build and maintain – was a key inspiration for the design which incorporates social spaces dedicated to food and its production. The result is a small-scale, but nevertheless full-cycle ecosystem described as “urban permaculture”; the resident-owned and -operated restaurant and training kitchen on the ground floor is supplied with vegetables, fruits and herbs grown on the sixth-floor terrace. The kitchen garden is irrigated by stormwater from the roofs. Organic waste generated by the kitchens serves as compost for the garden.

Unlike the myriad of condominiums that populate the downtown landscape, 60 Richmond was conceived as a solid mass that was carved into to create openings and terraces at various levels. The deconstructed volume creates interlocking and contrasting spaces stepping out and back from the street. This visually dynamic solution was instrumental in achieving several key objectives: creating the kitchen garden, drawing light into the building interior, and providing outdoor green space. The garden terraces created in this process also help cool and cleanse the air thus limiting heat-island effect in the urban core.

The client’s requirement for low maintenance costs also inspired many of the design and sustainable innovations. Durable materials were combined with energy-saving strategies such as insulating fibre-cement panel cladding, high-performance windows, a sophisticated mechanical system, heat recovery, as well as drainwater heat recovery from the common laundry facilities. A reduced carbon footprint is further achieved with a low-maintenance green roof and rainwater collection for the terrace gardens. 

60 Richmond is an iconic design that showcases an innovative approach to urban infill.