For almost a decade David Butterworth has been parlaying his understanding of global design trends into impassioned contemporary structures that redefine the skyline. His innovative design for Westwood Gardens eschews the standard “glass box” in favour of a more nuanced envelope that will stand the test of time and become an icon on Yonge Street, in the heart of Richmond Hill.
When starting any project, the KIRKOR Architects Partner gives careful consideration to the context of the site and what’s possible within the political, social, and cultural climate.
“I’m interested in the way that spaces ebb and flow, the way that a building can change the context of the neighbourhood, the way that outdoor designs translate indoors and vice versa. Above all, I’m interested in the interaction of people and the environments they occupy, and how to enhance them to create a better quality of life.”
At Westwood Gardens he has envisioned a bold design that will see two 15-storey towers rise on Yonge Street, above exquisitely landscaped gardens and a community conservatory at the corner of Westwood Lane. The exteriors employ a mid-century grid pattern in classic black and white. “It’s a design that doesn’t shout at you, but has a deeper, more timeless appeal,” remarks Joaquin Sevillano, designer at Land Art Design, the landscape architecture firm. “We were inspired by the idea of that simple frame and mirrored it in certain elements of the landscape.”
In fact, several elements of the indoor and outdoor plans take their inspiration from Butterworth’s architecture, including the warm contemporary aesthetic found in the interiors from Tomas Pearce IDC, and the linear design elements that Land Art Design has included for the landscape plans. When viewed together, there is a sense of unity, a family of design that registers in your subconscious as part of a whole.
Butterworth is also passionate about the environment, and has incorporated an innovative geothermal heating and cooling system at Westwood Gardens that:
- is less expensive to operate and maintain, resulting in lower monthly maintenance fees
- eliminates cooling towers, saving over 5 million litres of water per year
- lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 70% compared to a conventional building
- reduces the site’s carbon footprint, helping to maintain long-term resale value for potential buyers who appreciate quality, comfort, and predictable costs.
While Butterworth may be among the industry’s greatest innovators when it comes to design, there is one area where he remains staunchly old school. “The study of design is best done through the art of the hand sketch,” says the experienced architect, “the act of putting your vision to paper creates an understanding of the interaction between space and form, one that can’t be captured through digital means alone.” It must be working, because at Westwood Gardens Butterworth has captured something extraordinary, not just a condominium, but a community, where no one will ever want to leave.