Tivoli: new kid on the old block

Grand Magazine - - CONTENTS - KARL KESSLER

When a new build­ing ap­pears in an older neigh­bour­hood, it shakes things up. Neigh­bours swap opin­ions. Passersby slow down, do dou­ble-takes. There’s a set­tling-in time. But with luck, the street en­ters the next phase of its his­tory in a way that main­tains the char­ac­ter of the neigh­bour­hood, while also ac­com­mo­dat­ing its evo­lu­tion.

And some­times it’s not luck as much as care and dili­gence that bring all the pieces to­gether into a co­her­ent whole. That is, some­times it hap­pens by de­sign.

Tivoli, a two-storey multi-unit pair of res­i­dences built in 2014 on Fred­er­ick Street in Kitch­ener, was de­signed by SRM Ar­chi­tects for Blaze Prop­er­ties. Tivoli com­mends it­self to its streetscape per­haps more than most new con­struc­tion does. How? Con­sider the block of flats fac­ing Sa­muel Street.

Its scale and di­men­sions are suited to the site; its height, depth and length are well pro­por­tioned, and in har­mony with the sur­round­ings. Real brick – not pre­cast pan­els – in two sub­dued, com­ple­men­tary colours al­ter­nates with boldly coloured stucco, all care­fully se­lected to re­spond to the pal­ette of the neigh­bour­hood.

The colours and tex­tures man­age to be both match­ing and con­trast­ing. On the Sa­muel Street façade, an ex­er­cise in right an­gles, large box-win­dows project from the wall plane, off­set from each other. As a foil to all this per­pen­dic­u­lar­ity, a sin­gle low-slope roof caps it off with a slight an­gle. The play­ful com­po­si­tion is a de­light to be­hold.

Tivoli shows how a new kid on the block doesn’t need to copy an old style to fit in.

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