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Axe falls on Heatherwick’s Toronto timber city

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Google’s sister company Sidewalk Labs has scrapped plans drawn up by Heatherwick Studios and Snøhetta for a futuristic all-timber 3,000-home mixed use development next to Lake Ontario

The urban design technology firm – which is owned by mega-corporation Alphabet – said global economic uncertainty had made the ambitious Toronto scheme unviable.

Thomas Heatherwick’s London-based studio, working with Oslo-headquartered global practice Snøhetta, unveiled the Quayside proposals in February 2019.

As well as the homes – 40 per cent of which would have been offered below market value – plans included space for 4,000 workers as well as eye-catching infrastructure, such as an underground waste system run by robots.

But now Sidewalk Labs has pulled the plug on the scheme as Covid-19 continues to rip up architecture plans around the world.

Chief executive Daniel Doctoroff said last week: ‘For the last two-and-a-half years, we have been passionate about making Quayside happen. Indeed, we have invested time, people, and resources in Toronto, including opening a 30-person office on the waterfront.

‘But, as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with [public sector delivery body] Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community.

‘And so, after a great deal of deliberation, we concluded that it no longer made sense to proceed with the Quayside project.’

Heatherwick Studio has been contacted for comment.

Quayside, credit ôçô sidewalk labs

Quayside, credit ôçô sidewalk labs


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