LOCATION: Gananoque, Ontario
ARCHITECT: LINEVISION Architects
DESIGN LEADERSHIP: Michael Poitras, Principal-in-Charge
DESIGN COMPETITION: Invited design/build/finance competition – Second Place
CLIENT: Corporation of the Town of Gananoque
- No. of storeys: 7
- Total area: 44,100 ft2 (4,097 m2)
- Total height: 75ft (23m)
- Grade level parking: 48 stalls (including 6 barrier-free)
- Below grade parking: 77 stalls (including 2 barrier-free)
- Poured-in-place concrete
- Textured dolomite limestone
- Patinated copper balconies
- Glass guardrails
- Composite wood decking
- Medium grey precast concrete pavers
- Flamed black granite flooring
- Outdoor landscaping
- Total no. of units: 42 (mixture of 1 & 2 bedroom residential units) + 7 retail units at ground floor & main entrance lobby
- Public courtyard
- Amenity area
- Lounge areas
- Pool + change rooms
Cost: The Maxion Group
The site for this residential condominium sits south of Gananoque’s downtown core, on a small peninsula adjacent to the St. Lawrence River, called “Lowertown.” Home to the famous Gananoque Boat Line, the gateway to the 1000 Islands, this riverfront site is steeped in history, the most notable being a battle that took place during the War of 1812. With that in mind, along with modern urban design tenets, we looked at numerous military fortifications left behind from the War of 1812 built along the Saint Lawrence River, as inspiration. The more noteworthy of these structures tended to be built out of local grey dolomite limestone and were cylindrical in shape. As such, these soft circular shapes began to resonate with us, until we eventually adopted an oval (a modified circle) as our chosen form.
As such, the exterior of the condominium became expressed as a massive, curving textured limestone mass, complete with a courtyard on its inside. With that, we returned to our military aesthetic and developed the exterior windows, adjacent to perimeter circulation corridors, as long vertical slots. These long windows, reminiscent of the “gun slots” typically found on the military buildings of 1812, have more refined proportions, better able to take in natural light. Further, these windows are arranged in a staggered pattern, more conducive to modern architecture.
Capping the top of this oval shaped stone building is a ring of planting, complete with deciduous trees. This greening of the building’s perimeter not only provides the penthouse suites with foliage next to their outdoor decks, it also abstractly gives our condominium an aging effect, much like an overgrown “ruin”, as if it has predated “Lowertown” right from the start. Vegetated roofs can also be found on top of the “public lounges”, which randomly protrude from the sides of the condominium. Here, in an effort to promote impromptu meetings with neighbours, these lounges allow for casual conversations and unplanned social interaction.
The top side of the building houses the public amenities, complete with an indoor pool, offering magnificent 270-degree views of the Saint Lawrence River.
The ever-present white boats of the Gananoque Boat Line (established in 1950) also works its way into the design of this condominium, as the building’s interior courtyard is expressed with a distinctly nautical aesthetic. Primarily composed of stepped glass facades with white structural members and protruding white shading devices (brise-soleils), the architecture of the courtyard is imagined as two white lakers docked side by side.
Balcony textures and colours, within this white nautically inspired courtyard architecture, were purposely contrasted. Using green “patinated copper” to stand out against the primarily white background, the balconies add a welcome colour, while visually alluding to the green copper roofs of older Lowertown buildings. Further, the private outer decks of penthouse suites above are surfaced in composite wood decking, very similar to the walking decks on the Gananoque boats.
The condominiums’ tree-lined courtyard was strategically positioned so it would align with the relocated 1000 Islands Boat Company, in Lowertown’s public park. At grade, the courtyard is a mixture of retail and landscaping. Inspired by the diversity of nature found within the “Frontenac Arch Biosphere”, the courtyard’s landscape design mixes water, rocks (relocated to this site), trees, grasses, trellises and foot bridges, with numerous areas of repose, offering the most to shoppers and those that tag along.
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