Market Insights

Q&A with CORE Architects Inc., Toronto-Based Architectural and Interior Design Firm

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

We recently sat down with Deni Poletti from CORE Architects Inc., a Toronto-based firm that specializes in multi-residential, commercial, retail, entertainment, and interior design, to discuss their inspiration and vision for Corktown – our design forward, mixed-use condominium project located in the heart of downtown Hamilton, Ontario.

We partnered with CORE to realize our transit-oriented development, creating design-forward suites and best-in-class amenities just minutes from the Hamilton GO Station. Read our question-and-answer session below to learn about the creative beginnings behind Corktown.

How would you describe your architectural design philosophy?

We’re urban designers – most of the work that we do is in urban cores, so city living is something we always consider in terms of the surrounding area context. Our philosophy is to produce a memorable piece of architecture in any type of environment that is identifiable to the end users and is a place that they can be proud to call home. Affordable luxury is at the core of our design approach at Corktown and we’re not willing to give up on highly crafted, beautiful, and quality design – we’re always working to find creative solutions and methods to provide this.

How does the City of Hamilton’s history, culture, and community impact your design?

Our initial design concepts for Corktown borrowed from Hamilton’s traditional industrial facades while imposing modern urbanism into that vernacular. Celebrating the history of a property and honouring the surrounding neighbourhood presents a unique opportunity to create something really special, which we feel we’ve accomplished by salvaging and reusing historically significant materials like former building bricks and incorporating them into the interior design. Hamilton has a defined history, culture and industrialism which conjured up images of very clean, simple, efficient, rhythmic facades that are robust yet composed in a way that appeals to modern style and architecture.

From the onset, we have been aligned with Slate to incorporate local artists work into the project. As the design was evolving, this was a way of engaging the community and integrating them into the architecture, making them a part of the building and experience that the user would have. As the project progresses, it will be exciting to see the community engaged in a variety of ways. We have a long-term vision for impactful growth and development that will support the community and add texture to the project to make it personal and a more interesting project overall.

What was your initial vision for Corktown? How did you draw inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood?

Our vision for Corktown has always been to highlight the natural gateway to and from the escarpment into the downtown core, and we wanted to play off the topography and history of the city. Hamilton is a living city and we wanted to get people up into the air so they have this exposure to their environment. The location provides access to transit, amenities, top educational facilities, natural green spaces, and urban amenities. We’ve maintained the context and texture of the surrounding neighbourhood bringing in retail at grade to create a vibrant, multi-use community.

In terms of the interior homes and amenities, we kept the needs of the end users in mind throughout the design. We are pulling modern urbanism together with Hamilton’s small-town charm to provide dynamic communal spaces for relaxation and social interaction. Our amenities go beyond Hamilton’s standard offering by introducing a speakeasy, impressive gym and yoga studio, and an outdoor terrace on the uppermost floor of the tower with cooking and dining options, further connecting residents to the neighboring natural and urban landscape.

What goals do CORE Architects and Slate share for Corktown?

Slate is a community builder and, like CORE, takes great passion in what we’re designing and building. It’s part of our legacy as architects and part of Slate’s legacy as builders. I think we both strive to do our absolute best to make great places to live through efficient suite design, and great spaces to walk around and engage with. It’s at the core of urban building – making great places for people to live by taking a long-term approach and developing impactful architecture. Both recognize how important design is and see the value in design which emphasizes synergies between the two companies.

The unit mix tailors to a variety of investors and end users. We’ve worked collaboratively listening to what the market and community needs to thrive, so we have designed efficient suites that are comfortable to allow for families to live there as well as individuals or couples. We have a variety of suite types so there’s a lot of selection with great amenities and outdoor spaces. A lot of focus was put on providing luxurious amenities for the residents that take great advantage of the built form – especially on the midrise that has beautiful expansive roofs that give you great freedom to design interesting outdoor spaces where you have stunning views from any height. The project will appeal to a lot of different people, creating a unique community within the block.

What part of the Corktown project is the CORE Architects team most proud of?

I’m excited to bring this product to Hamilton because I think it embodies design-forward suites and best in class amenities that offer best value – I look forward to seeing this project transform the block. Our objective is always to bring good design to areas that will help people appreciate the growth and investment in a community which I believe the collaborative relationship we have with Slate has allowed everyone to be a contributor to how this project has progressed. At the end of the day, you’re getting a better building when you listen to multiple perspectives that help inform the project vision.

The openness of the site, even though it’s bringing some density, is still extremely welcoming for people to wander through the breezeways and courtyard, interacting with the landscaping components and variety of materials and built form. We put a lot of weight on how people perceive their surroundings, so we ensure that we provide places where people feel they belong, not only inside their suites, but as they go about their lives utilizing amenity space, appreciating efficient suite design, and interacting with the open, bright, and green space within and surrounding our project.

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