CATEGORY I TALL BUILDINGS: 2nd PLACE
Diagroup Tower





TITLE

Diagroup Tower


STUDENTS   Scott Proudfoot, Mengdie Zhang, Sarah Donaldson,
Gabriela Chorobik
University of Waterloo


FACULTY SPONSOR   Terri Meyer Boake
University of Waterloo

DESCRIPTION   Diagroup Tower brings a diverse mixed-use program to Toronto's housing projects district. These former industrial lands are bounded by rail infrastructure on the city's waterfront. Development pressure threatens to replace these low income neighborhoods with residential towers. Diagroup takes a stand in bringing business and industrial space back into these neighborhoods, with an increase in rental housing and some luxury residential to subsidize the rest. The goal is the upgrading of tired low income housing into a denser and more diverse neighborhood. The intention Diagroup Tower's massing is to mediate between local mid-scale residential and Toronto's downtown tower developments. A courtyard typology was selected to mirror the rhythm of the existing townhouses' public and semi-public spaces while still increasing density. The tower was then situated in the south-east corner of the podium as a means of mediating between the built up waterfront and neighborhoods to the west. The rotating tower form is a nod to the maelstrom of growth Toronto is currently experiencing. The imperative of environmental stewardship is challenging to embody in a dense urban tower. Diagroup responds to this challenge with an innovative whole-site thermal circulation system. Cool water begins its journey hundreds of feet below street level in geothermal exchange wells that tap into nearby Lake Ontario. The well insulated and minimally glazed podium acts as a thermal reservoir, with a methane fueled cogeneration plan augmenting winter heating. Above, Diagroup Tower is fully glazed in a concession to market forces, but the whole building hydronic system shares this heat with the podium in winter.