How Top Canadian Architects Designed a Pan Am District From Scratch

By Alex Bozikovic
The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2015

Image: Most of the buildings in the Pan Am athletes village have units that open directly onto the street and a network of pedestrian passageways. Courtesy of the Canadian Press, photo by Frank Gunn(Image: Most of the buildings in the Pan Am athletes village have units that open directly onto the street and a network of pedestrian passageways. Courtesy of the Canadian Press, photo by Frank Gunn)

Take a crowd of Canada’s top architects, put them in a room and ask them to design a dense city neighbourhood – working with a 1,000-page book of rules and requirements. This was how the Canary District in Toronto, which will be the athletes’ village for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer, was created.

Surprisingly, this city-by-committee is coming out well. The $514-million, 14-hectare complex is walkable, sustainable, contemporary but respectful of history, and economically diverse. It will efficiently house 10,000 people for Pan Am and then serve different users, in about 1,650 units, over the long term.

If that sounds like a recipe for virtuous blandness, it is. These are seven buildings in 50 shades of grey. But the four architecture firms involved – KPMB, architectsAlliance (aA), MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller (MJM) of Toronto and Montreal’s Daoust Lestage – set out to build an ensemble. Read more…

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