The Foundery

At Bathurst and Dundas in downtown Toronto, a business owner took over a worn-down L-shaped building nestled between a funeral home and a row of Victorian houses, across the street from one of the city's busiest hospitals, in order to establish a co-working and event space called The Foundery. The main objective of this project, then, was to refurbish the building exterior and devise an inviting, landscaped courtyard for it. Yet an even more important goal for us was to forge a meaningful relationship between the building and the street. 

Providing a patio and wheelchair access via a gently inclined serpentine ramp was central to the dense program achieved within this compact space. The courtyard also incorporates pipe-like luminaires, clover-shaped bike ramps, and picket fencing – playful elements that form a sophisticated tapestry. To renew the building's facade generous openings were punched into the brick, which was dyed black for a cohesive appearance. The lowest of the structure's staggered rooflines was hollowed out, its structural braces encased in wooden “shoes” and the resulting overhang lined in mirrors illuminated by fluorescent rods – an expansive gesture that opens up a handsome and well-lit canopy for entrepreneurs lingering in conversation at the door.

Photos: Steven Evans

A gently inclined serpentine ramp was woven through the courtyard, creating curved nooks for plantings to burst through in between the various concrete pavements.

To mediate between intimacy and openness, sections of picket fencing outline particular zones: wide ipe wood slats hug the rounded patio of a coffee shop on the ground floor of the L-shaped building's shorter wing, and a small array of galvanized steel pickets traces a patch of private garden where it meets the public sidewalk.

Pipe-like luminaires in weathering steel – tall enough to be spied from streetcars gliding past – were rooted among the shrubs and clover-shaped bike ramps were installed at the entrance.