Merchants' Wharf ODA

Merchants' Wharf

Competition Entry

The bayside proposal seeks to redefine waterfront building typologies by investigating historic building geometries through interpretation and implementation of formal gestures for contemporary living. Toronto’s architecture has seen an increase in vertical living, yet fails to deliver a sense of community and provide legitimate access to vertical outdoor spaces. The cityscape is ubiquitously filled with extruded geometries sprinkled with small, uninviting balconies.

Merchants' Wharf

Observations of geometrically stepped communities like Machu Pichu and structures like Mesopotamian ziggurats, illustrate the geometric potentials of vertically layered architecture. Stripping these historic sites of design implications (power, religion, necessity) and observing them on a purely formal level, it is obvious that these communities inhabited the vertical sphere as much as the horizontal. Daily life was extended beyond typical horizontal planes and into cascading arrangements of vertical moments.

Merchants' Wharf

Interpreting these formal gestures into a clear and simple, contemporary architecture is a nonlinear task. Structural, mechanical, and spatial necessities constrict the breadth of formal movement yet provide opportunity for innovative interpretation. Efficiency and formal desirability is achieved by rotating, staggering, and tilting these parameters toward the waterfront within module dimensions. Employing these manipulations, the building creates 211 apartments with terrace space (97%) totaling to 68,550 square feet and 163 units with water views (71%).

Beyond staggering statistics, these formal maneuvers create façades that are activated by life and thus deconstruct typical static façades into dynamic thresholds of vertical living where residents, neighbors, pedestrian, and wildlife experience the building in novel ways. It is not the tectonic achievement that matters, but rather the uniting of indoor-outdoor experiences for Toronto where the boundary between urbanism and nature are stretched. The bayside proposal exists as paradigm for future living in Toronto and growing city centers.

Merchants' Wharf
Merchants' Wharf

Project Details

Toronto, Canada
Tridel , Hines Development
260,000 SF


ODA Design Team
Eran Chen AIA Kyriakos Kyriakou, Steven Kocher, Emma Pfeiffer, Christopher Esper, Juan Roque Urrutia
Encore (Renderings)