With more than 500 km of laneway and unassumed roads, Toronto possesses a unique land resource for densification and an opportunity for innovative housing.
A recent CMHC report on the subject suggests that there are over 5000 potential sites for new, affordable homes in Toronto laneways.
These lanes are a result of 19th century city building. Historically, they provided secondary transportation routes, spaces for businesses and homes, and created an efficient, dense urban fabric. Until the 1950s residential and commercial use of laneways was common. Even today, hundreds of laneway dwellings are still in use. The laneway is a both a vital part of Toronto’s urban heritage, as well as its future.
Curzon Lane Terrace is a model of laneway development with proposed densities and percentage of landscaped open spaces, similar to existing coverage conditions within the neighbourhood. Peyton Lane is a serviced laneway, with existing residential, commercial and institutional uses. The site of our proposal is currently occupied by 3 concrete block storage buildings and paving.
The proposal provides six compact, affordably priced homes sensitive to their context, and actively helps to form and improve the lane-scape. The proposed building is subordinate in height, mass and scale, to the surrounding street houses but with unit widths similar to the abutting street houses in order to maintain the rhythm of land division. The building section has been developed to lower the overall height of the mass. The garden façade is stepped back and inclined to provide greater access to sunlight. The rear garden introduces greenery and minimizes overlook and intrusion of privacy.
The laneway façade is articulated vertically and horizontally. It is scaled to the width of the lane and the existing buildings on the lane. Vertical greenery on trellis work enriches the lane-scape and shades the interior.