Shared photos

1 - 0

Stacked and Stepped Back  

The design of this proposed building is perceived as two masonry blocks–one hovering above the another–with a glazed clerestory sandwiched between. A transparent top at the roof level acts as a lantern; its glow visible from afar.

St. Catharines, ON

A Cornerstone for the Community

Situated along the main street of downtown St. Catharines, this corner lot at St. Paul and James Streets has been vacant for over a decade. The site is part of the main street cluster where historical buildings and architectural landmarks in the vicinity reveal the stories behind the downtown development of the city. To revitalize and redefine this prominent lot as a contemporary cornerstone of the business district, a seven-storey commercial building with retail component at grade is proposed.

Program for the People

The proposed mixed-use building is a response to St. Paul Street’s intimate commercial and retail experience. While the upper floors of the proposed building house office spaces for prospective tenants, the ground floor offers various retail opportunities that attract people to the site. The storefront at the corner opens to extend the retail space into the public realm.

Carved Massing

The design massing explores the idea of carving to reduce the visual impact of a seven-storey building in the vicinity. The massing is first stepped back to establish a podium height that fits with the neighbourhood. The mass is then carved in the middle, aligning the podium to the historical roofline along St. Paul Street. The mass above is also pushed to further reduce the visual height impact, while creating a rooftop terrace. Lastly, the corner of the mass is carved away to highlight a unique sense of arrival at the intersection.

Main Street Vernacular

While the proposed colours draw inspiration from the materials of the historical buildings that once stood at this intersection, the rhythmic pattern of the contemporary window openings mimics the symmetry and equal spacing of vernacular windows on the street. As the brick facades on St. Paul and James Streets approach the corner on the upper floors, the smooth brick pattern gradually takes on a sculptural quality to create a special moment at the intersection.

Green Character

The minimalist rooflines, traced with vines and planter boxes at the podium and the top of the building, promote green character along the two streets; echoing the vision of the Garden City Plan of St. Catharines. As one travels along St. Paul Street, the curves and meanders of the street reveal various view experiences of this new landmark.

Project facts

Client: Private Client
DIALOG Services: Architecture
Size: 35,00 sq ft / 3200 sf m
Anticipated Completion: 2020