The mixed-use rental, family residence at One Oak Street is one of the first new projects in the revitalization of Regent Park. The project began in 2003 when the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation approved the Regent Park transformational plan.
Kearns Mancini Architects was selected to design the TCHC owned, rent-geared-to-income, mid-rise apartment building at 1 Oak St. The project site fronts on to the east side of Parliament St. with Cole St. to the south and Oak St. to the north. The eastern boundary is defined by a new city lane. One Oak St. plays an important role in the redevelopment of Regent Park, while providing 84 affordable, sustainable midrise homes for Toronto families, a City of Toronto Daycare and generous amounts of retail space facing Parliament St.
Consisting mostly of 2 and 3 bedroom family units, the decision by TCHC early in the design process – to not provide balconies to most apartments, enabled the design to draw inspiration from Toronto’s best known building type – the midrise industrial loft. Accordingly, red Toronto brick is used to compose elegant proportions and massing of volumes with large, multi-paned, black mullioned windows, relating to the scale of the streets and buildings that surround the site. Windows are grouped into oversized patterns of glass and coloured spandrels which add visual vitality and a generosity of scale which blurs the floor to floor height of the building.
The green roof with community garden plots combine with the communal terraces to give residents outdoor social and leisure spaces without having to leave the building. The roofs and terraces are also harvesting rainwater to supply the freshwater needs of the residents. The extensive use of brick assists in achieving a window to wall ratio of 38 – 62, thereby providing residents with a highly efficient, affordable, thermal enclosure with low heat loss while still admitting ample daylight and extraordinary views of the Toronto skyline in all directions.