End of the Yellow Brick road, err buildings

The NCC wanted a different look and feel for the LeBreton neighborhood. They wanted a neighborhood that was distinctive. To this end they chose a particular palate of colours that all bidders had to employ. Predominate in this palate was yellow brick. It was always in the plan that as the buildings approached the south edge (I thought they meant Albert Street…) they would become two tone brick, employing the traditional red brick common to the older neighborhoods, to form a transition zone.

I am not sure whether the lack of enthusiasm for the look of the recently constructed condos comes from their isolation, the bombed-out-Beirut surroundings, the clutter on the glass tower, the pattern of windows, or the yellow brick. Or all of the above, in combination.

Actually, walking around the towers and seeing them up close reveals them to be quite pleasant.

Nonetheless, there is Good News for critics. The next phase, starting shortly and due to be completed in fall, 2013, will have only a smattering of yellow brick. The two low rise condo buildings plus a sort of ‘stacked townhouse’ row, will be a brown-red brick on the north (Fleet Street) and west (Lett Street) facades:

On the south façade, facing the aqueduct, the block is curved, faces the bike path, and the courtyard opens southwards (each block of the new LeBreton is arranged around internal courtyards with a number of cut-through pedestrian paths). This façade is almost all brushed aluminium finishes, ie shiny silver, like the accent bits on the first phase buildings:

 The building shown above was shown as being four stories when the project was first being “sold” to the public, and indeed is still only four stories high on the other model in the sales office. However, betwixt the public showing and the write up, the zoning became six floors. Claridge recently asked for, and got, eight floors.

Only on one apartment building wall, facing south, shown here on the far side of the outdoor swimming pool, will there be some yellow brick:

 They also appear to be proposing some vines to be planted on those bizarre roof top screen walls that don’t screen the mechanical equipment on the roofs. I don’t expect they will go back to fix those already put on the roofs of phase 1 & 2.

Here’s an image from their site showing it at night:

They have a sales office on site, with a number of furnished models. However, the nicest units in phase 2 are “sold out” and you have missed them. The ones remaining are obviously the runts of the litter. But there is always the future phase 3…

7 thoughts on “End of the Yellow Brick road, err buildings

  1. I hope it’s half as nice as those models. Now that they’ve opened up the bridge and the bike path between the bridge and booth I take my dogs along it, and it really is beautiful, if you face away from the moonscape.

  2. I wish they would consider putting some commercial space along the aqueduct. The ground floor of that curving building would be perfect for cafes and bistros, with a view of the heritage pump house and Pooley’s Bridge, plus the backdrop of the downtown skyline. I’m sure there will be enough people living there to support a coffee shop at least, given there are really no amenities around. When the bike path gets fully restored along the aqueduct, this could make a nice unique spot to stop and relax

    1. This is a mixed-use neighbourhood! Four different kinds of condos, and three different kinds of Green Open Public Space! There! Mixed! Stop complaining!

  3. I don’t think there will be enough traffic along a minor bike path to support a pop machine, let alone a cafe. When the transitway station is built at LeBreton, there will be a lot more people coming and going, and business opportunities will arise, including some at Booth and LRT/aqueduct station. The second last building for this phase of the Flats will be built along Booth, running north from the aqueduct, when Booth is raised up about 15′ above its current elevation. The entire bottom floor of the building is to be storefronts, a sort of main street. When something is finally built on the west side of Booth, it might become a two sided main street. Can bureaucrats design a successful main street/commuter arterial combo?

    1. Can bureaucrats design a successful main street/commuter arterial combo?


      They can’t design a successful main street, period. You can only “let” a successful main street.

      They can, however, successfully kill them.

    2. The aqueduct pathway isn’t a minor pathway — before the route was closed for the LeBreton site clean-up and the circuitous route around the War Museum was constructed, it was the main route from downtown to the western pathway. The RMOC at the time invested a good amount of money to reconstruct Pooley’s Bridge as part of the cycling network. I suspect once the corridor is fully reopened, and especially if a grade separated crossing of Booth is done, this pathway will once again be the preferred choice for most westbound bicycle commuters, especially because it is more of a direct route.

      When the LRT comes online, I also imagine that quite a few commuters who work/live in the western edge of downtown will opt to walk towards a station on Booth rather than the Downtown West station.

      I’ve been along the pathways in Vancouver that pass close along the waterfront condos. The ground floor drapes are always gloomily drawn shut, and pedestrians and cyclists aren’t comfortable pausing lest they appear to be peeping. An awkward situation for either side.

      That spot where the aqueduct widens to feed the pumphouse is a rare spot in the city, and should be done up so that more people can appreciate it. Right next to it is a wide “bridge” ( http://maps.google.com/?ll=45.414861,-75.712102&spn=0.00139,0.001943&t=h&z=20 ) where the Canada Atlantic Railway used to pass at an angle to the aqueduct. I’ve always imagined this would make a nice public space (once the Transitway is replaced by LRT a few dozen metres farther south), perhaps a sloped grassy area conducive to small performances like place Émile-Gamelin in Montreal (http://maps.google.com/?ll=45.515062,-73.559249&spn=0.001972,0.003887&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=45.515062,-73.559249&panoid=oxaUjTlzF75Dj2cQeTHWng&cbp=12,311.26,,0,0.56). Yeah, I’m dreaming.

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