TWOFOLDS, TORONTO, CANADA

A Ja Architecture studio project in Collaboration with Arta Design and Build.

Located in the active neighborhood of Queen Street West in Toronto, Twofold is a restoration project that reimagines an existing 3-storey storefront structure, transforming it into a building of many uses: a store, a residential unit, an office space and an outdoor gallery for local artists to display their work.

The project provides new purpose to a once stagnant space, draws the public through the passage to access the entrance of the restaurant which is strategically located at the end of the breezeway, maximizing the foot traffic of the gallery and providing the restaurant with a more intimate entrance. Furthermore, it successfully utilizes areas of the property that were previously unoccupied by the original building and inserts two additions into these infill spaces along both the main and west facades. The naval brass cladding of the intervention and its geometry stands in contrast with the aged brick building. The marriage of the two facades, the old and the new, required careful study in order to successfully add to the dynamic textures already present along Queen Street. The flat lock seam connection detail common in the roofing details of the buildings in the same era was used to connect the panels.

The breezeway gallery structure on the side is designed to use the setback of the building in plan and create an oblique frontage for the gallery. In section the asymmetry of the structure is the result of distributing the load of the roof to the side wall of the building both to avoid carrying it onto the neighbor’s wall as well as to be a subtle formal index to the ownership of the strip of land caught between the two buildings.

Twofold potentially becomes a prototype for a new methodology for restoring old buildings with noticeable additions in a way of dovetailing a front address to the rear side of a main street lot. JA Studio’s own workspace is located on the third floor of this building.

Photo By: Riley Snelling
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