Built in 1913 and 1929 respectively, the historic Hermant Building at 19 & 21 Dundas Square anchors the southeastern edge of downtown Toronto’s bustling Dundas Square. Restoring the facades and illustrious bronze doors reinstated the prominence of these heritage buildings, even amongst the clamour of the square.
After decades of accumulating layers of materials and finishes, the interiors became lacklustre spaces. These layers were removed to reveal a heightened ceiling and expansive floor space, exposing and expressing the building’s raw textures. As one of Toronto’s earliest concrete structures, the heritage buildings are reimagined with refreshed spaces and renewed amenities.
HNR Properties Limited
19 & 21 Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada
Phase 1 Complete
Phase 2 Ongoing
The project focus for phase 1 was the restoration of the 19 façade and the renovation of the lobby. For phase 2, a reimagining of the 90,000sqft interior was undertaken to develop a renewed aesthetic and accommodation of future full floor tenancies, in addition to restoring all façades at 21.
At the outset of the project, Giaimo worked with the client to understand the brief for the building, significance, and project goals. For the interior reimagining, Giaimo worked to assess the existing conditions of the building, as well as potential opportunities, and collaborated with the client to develop the vision for the building. Working within the restrictive confines of the upper floor plates, we delivered an efficient and tightly coordinated mechanical package, simultaneously maximizing the rentable area, while providing a universal washroom at each floor level, providing an exceptional level of accessibility within a challenging heritage building.
For this project, Giaimo created a three-phase REVIT model reflecting an Existing Phase, A Base Building Phase, and A Fit-out Phase. We are using BIM in coordination with all consultants, allowing for the client to use the models for future maintenance and operations.
The renovation is designed following LEED principles and prioritizing efficiency and tenant comfort. Removal of existing ceilings up to concrete re-expose the existing windows, maximizing daylighting as 50% of the floor plates are within 20 ft. of a window. New mechanical and electrical systems offer better user comfort and are less energy intensive. Sustainable design features include: a light coloured roof to reduce urban heat island, bike parking and showers to promote cycling, maintained and reused materials as much as possible, and a developed tenant fit-out standard to reduce material going to land-use during tenant turnover.
As one of Toronto’s earliest cast-in-place concrete buildings, the interior spaces were approached in an economically sustainable fashion, demolishing interiors to expose the board-formed concrete ceiling and columns, adding character to the interior spaces, and attracting significant tenant interest. This scheme was developed through intrusive investigation while the building was fully occupied, carefully exposing select areas to understand the building conditions.
Giaimo worked to challenge the project’s original brief of window replacement, by exhaustively documenting the condition of each the individual existing original steel windows and instead showing how they could be upgraded and maintained. As destructive masonry testing was not an option during the assessment phase, Giaimo worked to develop a bid scheme that allowed for cost control when unforeseen conditions were encountered. The scope of work was then refined upon the installation of swing stage for construction, with the architect, structural engineer and contractor collaborating to determine the final scope through intrusive investigation. The façade work was undertaken with a largely occupied building, in which communication with building tenants were engaged to understand the scope and process of the project. As the building is heritage designated, this scope of work was also developed in close consultation with Heritage Toronto and City of Toronto’s Heritage Planning.