We will lead the design of Downsview, an expansive urban development located in Toronto’s North End. The development is led by Northcrest Development and Canada Lands Company, and will transform the site of the former Downsview Airport and surrounding land, an area comparable in size to that of downtown Toronto, into a sustainable, resilient, and healthy community.
Henning Larsen will be supported by local Toronto firms KPMB Architects and Urban Strategies Inc., Danish landscape architects SLA, and engineers Rambøll and Transsolar. A digital community engagement process which will continue through 2020 will be additionally supported by Swerhun Inc., and the Department of Words and Deeds.
“The site presents a huge opportunity to build onto the existing qualities of the site such as the industrial heritage buildings, and revitalize them into active public spaces,” says Michael Sørensen, Partner and Head of Henning Larsen’s New York office. “We see huge potential to develop a new district that builds on the biodiversity and ravines of Toronto as a basis for sustainable urban growth that brings together the local community.”
Henning Larsen will lead the team to transform Downsview into a new neighborhood in north Toronto, to form a vibrant new community. The site includes the 370 acres that comprise the Downsview Airport and is located just north of Highway 401, and is situated along numerous public transit arteries (including the Toronto subway,) offering seamless connection to and across the Toronto metropolitan area.
The first stage will be dedicated to develop the design framework for Downsview alongside the local community in a participatory process. Originally planned as gatherings at the site, the in-person engagement process has been reshaped into a digital one that locals can tap into via introductory videos, online forums, digital focus groups, community mapping platforms and several other tools coordinated by a dedicated webpage. The digital process, which will continue through 2020, allows continued project development and safe community input in spite of the social-distancing rules imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We are very excited for this opportunity to develop a framework plan with the local community,” explains Sørensen. “We see ourselves as listeners in this process, and we are looking to learn from the people closest to this amazing area, and turn it into an asset that benefits both Toronto and the local neighbors.”
We have led masterplans across Europe, Asia, and North America. In Toronto, we have been part of the project team developing the East Harbour Masterplan in downtown Toronto. Other masterplans include the regeneration of the Gdansk Imperial Shipyards in Gdansk, Poland, and the Enterprise Research Campus for Harvard in Boston, MA. Henning Larsen is also currently designing the Etobicoke Civic Center to the west of the Downsview site. Founded in 1959, Henning Larsen is headquartered in Copenhagen with offices in New York, Munich, Hong Kong, Oslo and the Faroe Islands.