What will (might) happen in 2016

Woman sitting on couch at Quadrangle reception.
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Dan Seljak
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Woman sitting on couch at Quadrangle reception.

It has been four years since people were convinced a Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world. Eight since the market crash. And sixteen since the change from ’99 to ’00 was supposed to cause a digital catastrophe.

As of this year Quadrangle will have been around for 30 years. We’ve weathered market changes, technology “disruptions” and at least one purported apocalypse. Yet here we are, at our largest and still growing. This staying power and growth, in part, relates to the foresight and stewardship of our people. Our staff has always had a keen sense for what will happen next, and that’s helped us bring clients proactive solutions.

What’s next?

Last month we decided to run an informal poll and ask some of our people what they saw happening in 2016, both in our markets and in architecture as whole.

Come December we plan on having some fun and teasing our colleagues about what they got wrong, but in the meantime here are a selection of our predictions and some of the ways we are already responding to changes in the built environment.

Toronto’s Ascension of “Cool”

Toronto will top an internationally recognized list of the fast-rising/cool places to live (ED: It wasn’t a list, and it was technically about all Canadians, but this has essentially already happened this year).

The Variable Dollar

The changing value of the Canadian dollar will see an increase of development activity from primarily US investors and developers, offsetting domestic caution.

Wellness & Comfort

Interiors will concentrate more on comfort and wellness factors than the black and white open versus closed debate.

Wood Construction: Here to Stay

Wood construction will continue to gain popularity. For instance, the change to allow 6-storey wood construction in Ontario will not only result in an increase of these moderately scaled buildings throughout the urban and suburban landscapes, but will also be a catalyst for industry-wide innovation in related building sectors from window manufacturing, to wood component prefabrication.

Heartwood the Beach FaçadeHeartwood – The Beach is on course to be the first six-storey wood residential building in Toronto since the code change


New Carbon Metrics

Measuring a building’s performance base on carbon impact will become more mainstream.

The Digital Retail Breaches Reality

Retail environments will evolve to a point where digital experiences and physical products co-exist.

Urban Challenges, New Solutions

The next year will see increasingly innovative mid-rise buildings taking advantage of small sites in urban cores like downtown Toronto, reinventing the way that we think of complete communities along the avenues.

Façade of Abacus Lofts
Design: Raw Design (Richard Witt, Principal in Charge); Construction Documents and Review: Quadrangle Architects Limited

The unique shape of Abacus Lofts responds to an irregularly shaped lot – it represents responsive densification along the rapidly developing Dundas corridor. 

Crowd Funded Buildings?

The shared economy mindset for crowd funding will shift traditional norms for real estate development process across many sectors.

Rental Properties will Flourish

Applications for purpose-built rental properties will increase across large condo-focused cities to meet demand.

Mixed-Use projects will go Mainstream

Sub-components of cost (retail, office, land) in what has been a primarily residential market in large urban centers will finally change the equation of building occupancies causing mixed-use to cement itself as the development norm.

Bird's-eye view of Yonge Sheppard Centre.

Street-level view of the retail space and residential towers.Yonge Sheppard Centre will be a new mixed-use development combining retail, commercial offices and residences – a place where opportunities to work, play and live co-exist.