Strip Mall redesign / Toronto, 2011

West Toronto Strip Mall redesign

For a one-storey strip mall at the western border of Toronto, we developed a mixed-use plan to increase density and improve the urban realm. The mall is a late modernist building with a flat roof and storefront glazing facing Burnhamthorpe Road. The low density building and car-oriented site do not make the best use of an attractive location. Despite having a clear front and back, the building’s site condition is undifferentiated—asphalt parking on all sides.

Since there are many competing commercial spaces with similar-sized units in the immediate vicinity, our design looked to offer something different for prospective businesses. By removing 20% of the building, the typical amount of vacancy in this mall, we created an interior courtyard and a range of retail unit sizes. Any potential loss of revenue would be made up in the higher value of the remaining spaces and the increase in amount of storefronts.

The open space is designed to be programmed for events that could generate revenue and public interest: specialty food markets, street hockey tournaments, and performances. Half the site’s asphalt is replaced with porous paving and native planting to increase natural drainage and improve the pedestrian experience. A proposed second phase will add a second floor with a restaurant and five residences.