Known for its nineteenth century Victorian houses, Toronto’s historic Yorkville neighbourhood is poised for the new millennium with the arrival of a metropolitan scale skyscraper and world-class hotel. The contradiction between these two eras and scales is reconciled in the landscape, where stylistic elements from the former period are amplified to fit modern day perceptions.
We deployed three key landscape elements between the contemporary complex and its elderly neighbours, a heritage fire station and library. An overscaled “urban carpet” rendered in eight tones of red cobblestones greets hotel guests, a grand cast-iron fountain stands four stories high, and a rose-less rose garden, where the swirl of petals produces pathways and shrub beds, provides a space of rest. The oversizing of these classic features creates powerful spatial experiences on the ground – and offers playful views from the towers above.