Toronto’s new Parkside Student Residence has won an Award of Excellence from the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO). The project, which involved transforming a 23-storey structure that was previously a hotel into a student residence building, provides a new urban model for student housing in a way that facilitates active learning, interaction and independence.
“Working with – rather than eliminating – the previous architectural character of the building presented both a challenge to integrate the past and present as well as an opportunity to formulate a design dialogue between contrasting styles,” said Bryan Chartier, director of interior design at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release.
The updated space features several types of residential options and offers some amenities that are rarely available in student accommodations, such as food service, recreation and conference space. The plan for this residence, developed by Knightstone Capital Management Inc., was to elevate student accommodations above traditional levels.
The building achieves this by featuring a two-storey atrium on the ground floor that serves partly as an open lounge, partly a study hall, with a fireplace, games lounge, bicycle storage and printing room. The second floor is Parkside’s hub, featuring student amenity, study and recreation space.
“Colour is used as a repeating element throughout accent walls, custom millwork, selected furnishings and sound attenuation treatment,” said Chartier. “These elements extend the versatility of active learning where individual study occurs in upholstered glass boxes next to moveable seating with portable power towers to accommodate flexible group sizes.”
The facility approaches finishes with minimalism, contrasting the existing exposed concrete structure with natural wood and textile elements. Wool carpet tiles bring to mind the appearance of concrete in a softer finish. A student lounge features soft wood finishes with bold red accents, and a concrete porte cochere brings pedestrians and a retail component to the intersection.
The ARIDO award of excellence will be presented in Toronto during a gala in September.