Downsview Framework Plan, 2020 (ongoing)

Downsview Framework Plan, 2020 (ongoing)

Architect
KPMB Architects

BA Group

Future Simple Studio

SLA architects

Henning Larsen
Location
Toronto, ON, Canada | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Masterplans

Downsview Framework Plan, 2020 (ongoing)

KPMB Architects as Architects

People, place, and nature come together in this vision for resilient new communities in Toronto. Following a year-long, three-phased community engagement process, Henning Larsen Architects, KPMB, and SLA Architects have crafted a Framework Plan that is set to transform 520 acres of brownfield into complete, connected communities that put nature and people first.

Caption

Since its creation, the Downsview Airport in north Toronto has been a military installation and the site of some of Canada’s most important aerospace innovations. With the closure of the airport imminent, the site—which is served by three major transit stations—represents one of the most significant city-building opportunities in North America.

Caption

The Framework Plan reimagines the existing 2-kilometer runway as a pedestrian spine that anchors a series of new transit-oriented communities. The runway will serve as space for gathering, play, and celebration, animated by community-led initiatives and connected through a series of new parks and open spaces, with development around the perimeter.

Caption

“Like a vine growing along a cable, the reimagined runway will organically grow to become a vibrant and resilient pathway connected to new and existing neighbourhood,” says Kevin Bridgman, KPMB partner and the firm’s leader on the project. “The Framework Plan puts nature and people first, followed by density and the built form.”

Caption

Situated at a natural high point where Toronto’s two major ravine systems meet, the site has an opportunity to be a keystone of the city’s natural and ecological infrastructure. The plan proposes a connective network of new parks and green corridors—100 acres of new open space in total. The green network will include multi-use trails, nature-based stormwater treatment landscapes, and biodiverse ecologies, facilitating the movement of people, wildlife, and water across the site. Honouring the deep history of Indigenous stewardship of the lands, the plan envisions a place where urban and natural systems are intertwined and mutually supportive.

Drawing from KPMB’s deeply rooted knowledge of Toronto’s local context, the project highlights the firm’s broad experience reimagining brownfield sites in cities across North America—envisioning healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities that make space for creativity and commerce, nature and culture.

Caption

Guided by landowners Northcrest and the Canada Lands Company, the Framework Plan creates a strategic vision for an incremental development of the Downsview site that is expected to take decades. Downsview Park, the existing 270-acre centerpiece of the diverse and vibrant north Toronto community, will not be developed. Instead, new connections will increase access to the park from all directions.

At the core of the Framework Plan are 10 key principles that underpin the design team’s commitment to sustainable and equitable growth, inspired by the concept of the “15-minute city,” in which residents can walk or cycle to fulfil all their daily needs with the need for a car.

Caption

Listening to and collaborating with the community—including local Indigenous rights-holders—the design team’s vision incorporates community-led initiatives like markets, maker spaces, and urban farming; innovative adaptive reuse of existing military and industrial buildings; construction of a new community centre; a diverse range of new housing aligned with the City’s ambitions; and thousands of new employment opportunities.

KPMB is a member of the core design team that also includes Henning Larsen (Lead Urban Designers), Urban Strategies Inc. (Planning), Copenhagen-based SLA (Lead Landscape), and engineers Rambøll and Transsolar. The digital community engagement process was led by Swerhun Inc., and the Department of Words and Deeds.

Caption

Architects
Design Team: Henning Larsen (Urban Design); KPMB Architects (Architecture); SLA Architects (Landscape); Urban Strategies (Planning)

KPMB Team
Kevin Bridgman (partner, team lead), Shirley Blumberg (founding partner), Bruce Kuwabara (founding partner), Geoffrey Turnbull (KPMB LAB), Laurence Holland, Sahana Dharmaraj, Jonathan Graham (KPMB LAB), Nellie Jalal-Zadeh, Andy Barat

Consultants
BA Group (transportation), Arup (municipal infrastructure), Transsolar (energy), Ramboll (sustainability), Purpose Building (sustainability), Swerhun Inc. (public engagement), Department of Words and Deeds (public engagement), Nbisiing Consulting Inc. (Indigenous engagement), Monumental Projects Inc. (equity advisors), StrategyCorp (communications and design), Future Simple Studio (communications and design)

Caption

 

 

Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
Austria, France, and Spain lead Mies van der Rohe Award shortlist with five nominations each
20 Jan 2022 News
Austria, France, and Spain lead Mies van der Rohe Award shortlist with five nominations each

A seven member jury, consisting of Tatiana Bilbao, chairwoman, Francesca Ferguson, Mia Hägg, Tr... More

25 best architecture firms in New York City
20 Jan 2022 News
25 best architecture firms in New York City

New York City is defined by its energy — but also by its buildings. A city of creators, it is... More

Ca na Riera apartment renovation creatively develops a narrow floor plan to meet contemporary needs
19 Jan 2022 News
Ca na Riera apartment renovation creatively develops a narrow floor plan to meet contemporary needs

A renovation of a flat in Barcelona’s Eixample, Ca na Riera is located on a chamfer, resulting... More

Center for Maine Contemporary Art engages in a dialogue with the urban realm while recalling an industrial seacoast past
19 Jan 2022 News
Center for Maine Contemporary Art engages in a dialogue with the urban realm while recalling an industrial seacoast past

Located in the City of Rockford, the new Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) by Toshiko Mori Ar... More

Magnificent Ghent Altarpiece takes centre stage as part of Saint Bavo Cathedral Restoration
18 Jan 2022 News
Magnificent Ghent Altarpiece takes centre stage as part of Saint Bavo Cathedral Restoration

After years of scientifically based renovation, the world-famous Ghent altarpiece by the Van Eyck Br... More

JLG designs highly sustainable buildings using SketchUp and Sefaira
17 Jan 2022 Sponsored Articles
JLG designs highly sustainable buildings using SketchUp and Sefaira

*Explore these topics and more in SketchUp’s webinar series about connected design workflows f... More

Cave-like Zolaism Café  offers a sensual and perceptual feel of returning to nature
16 Jan 2022 News
Cave-like Zolaism Café offers a sensual and perceptual feel of returning to nature

In Aranya-Qinhuangdao, China, Zolaism Café by B.L.U.E Architecture invites visitors in to esc... More

Playful atmosphere of Fuego Camina Conmigo Barcelona emphasizes art and creativity
16 Jan 2022 News
Playful atmosphere of Fuego Camina Conmigo Barcelona emphasizes art and creativity

On the third floor of a building located in the industrial neighbourhood of Gracia, Barcelona, the n... More