Architectural Controls - Multi-family

Summary of Key Architectural Controls
  1. The intention of implementing Architectural Controls is not to control building styles but rather to reduce the potential for the visual monotony often associated with multi-family developments. This can be achieved by breaking up large volumes of uninterrupted roof planes, the breaking up the featureless planes associated with large multi-unit wall areas, the careful use of more than one cladding material, the use of trim details, and the use of several colour schemes each containing more than one or two colours.

  2. On a group townhousing site or an apartment-style building site, the buildings adjacent to the front property line is required to front onto the public street. This required layout is similar to the way a street townhouse fronts onto a street.

  3. Where possible, townhouse sites may orient garages across the street from single-family housing with front garages. It is also subject to approval during the Development Review Process addressing technical site and other City Policy considerations.

  4. Large volumes of roofs or walls need to be broken up with architectural detailing that significantly reduces large expanses of featureless plane.

  5. All buildings require, at the very least, two major cladding materials.

  6. Any building’s colour scheme needs, at the very least, four colours of which two are major colour applications. The two major colours will be associated with the major cladding materials. The two other colours will be associated with the roof colour and minor architectural detailing such as soffit, fascia, doors, door trim, and window trim. In the case of townhousing, adjacent buildings require different colour schemes.

  7. Wall cladding materials are required to extend a minimum of 1.2 metres (4 feet) alongside building elevations that do not face public streets, public parks, or adjacent developments.

  8. Any facade abutting and/or highly visible from a public street, public park or adjacent development shall receive the same architectural treatment as the “front” facade.

  9. All mechanical equipment, garbage or recycling receptacles, must be suitably screened. Chimneys or other venting pipes must be clad in chimney chase.

 

1.0 Introduction

This document outlines the general architectural design requirements for the Multiple-Unit Dwelling Districts being developed by the City of Saskatoon. Architectural Controls concern the position of buildings on sites, the proportion, scale and massing of buildings, the application of materials and colours to exterior walls and roofs, and the choice and location of windows and doors.

An architectural style is not prescribed. Instead, projects should satisfy the overall human-scale architectural vocabulary as outlined in these architectural controls. Varying architectural interpretations are encouraged.

These Architectural Controls are intended to supplement the City of Saskatoon Zoning Bylaw No. 8770. Developments are expected to be governed by Bylaw No. 8770 in combination with the Architectural Controls. In the event that there are contradictions between these two documents, Zoning Bylaw No. 8770 will govern.

The intent of this document is:

  1. To promote architectural detailing; not to prescribe style;
  2. To influence the application of more than one colour palette; not to prescribe colour; and
  3. To influence the application of more than one material; not to prescribe material.

 

2.0 Proportion, Scale, and Massing 

INTENT: New developments should be well proportioned, integrate with neighbouring buildings, and incorporate design elements that break down perceived proportion, scale and massing of building elements to create human-scaled pedestrian-environments and enjoyable streetscaping.

  • Developments should utilize existing or “natural” grade, to assist them in blending with adjacent developments. Grade alterations can create negative impacts on adjacent properties.

  • All multi-family buildings should be positioned to enhance the streetscape by creating what may be described as a street wall.

  • All building volumes must incorporate intermittent variances in plan and elevation to encourage shadow lines on the building and to assist in breaking down the apparent mass and scale into well-proportioned volumes. This includes building elevations that are adjacent to or visible from public streets, public parks, and adjacent developments.

  • Construct buildings to define the edges of, and to face onto, any public park and/or accessible open spaces.

STREET WALL

A Street Wall refers to the alignment of building facades that face the street. A well-designed street wall creates a welcoming pedestrian environment through defining a walkable, pedestrian-friendly space.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: The above image demonstrates a building facade that interfaces well with the street, creating a pedestrian-friendly space.
IN GENERAL...
  • The majority of the principal building(s) main façade should be located so it is parallel to a straight public street or tangent to a curved public street.

  • Open space is permitted between the principal building(s) fronting a public street provided that the total linear amount of building façade exceeds the total linear amount of open space as measured along the same property line.

  • The sides of groupings of principal and accessory buildings are permitted to front onto public streets, providing the total linear amount of side elevations are less than the total linear amount of principal building facades fronting the same street. Where side elevations front onto a public street, the side elevations must receive the same architectural treatment as the principal facade.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: This building demonstrates an unacceptable building facade facing a public street. Additional design treatments are required. Above: Buildings that are aligned with adjacent streets ensure a site configuration that creates streets with pleasing streetscapes and enhances the image and feel of the neighbourhood.

 

Saskatoon, multi-family

 

3.0 Walls & Materials

INTENT: To create a visually pleasing streetscape and reduce visual monotony, a variety of materials are to be used as well as materials that complement those used in adjacent developments.

  • A minimum of two major exterior cladding materials, excluding fenestration, are required for any elevation of a principal or accessory building adjacent to or visible from a public street, a public park, or adjacent development, the proportions of which must be sensitively designed.

  • In the case of most materials, except for vinyl siding or cement board siding, the use of two discernible colours, two discernible textures, or combinations thereof of the same material are acceptable as meeting the requirements. In the case of vinyl siding or cement board siding, consideration will be given to two significantly different material patterns in a case where a relatively smaller proportion of a third material (greater than 30% of a third material) is used. For example, a material application may be accepted if visible building elevations were proposed to contain 3 materials – 30% stone and 70% vinyl siding whereby straight horizontal overlapping vinyl panels were heavily accented with vinyl “fish scale” panels.

  • Required architectural detailing applies equally to all building elevations including where the side and rear of a principal building or an accessory building is adjacent to or visible from, any public street, public park, or adjacent development.

  • Walls clad in a single material are not permitted.

  • Durable high-quality materials should be utilized for cladding on all building faces.

  • Wall cladding materials are required to extend to a minimum of 1.2 metres (4 feet) alongside building elevations that do not face public streets, public parks, or adjacent developments.

  • Where properties share a common property line, each property must have different materials or combinations of materials.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Each of the above images demonstrates a minimum of two exterior cladding materials with sensitively designed proportions.

 

4.0 Colour

INTENT: Variety of colour is necessary for multi-family projects to create lively streetscapes and to prevent the creation of visual monotony.

STYLE BUILDINGS:

Colour should vary from building to building within developments. A minimum of two exterior colour schemes for each multi-family parcel must be implemented. A minimum of two major colours are required to be utilized in the colour scheme of each building facade adjacent to or visible from any public street, public park, or adjacent development (excluding roof colours and colours utilized for minor architectural components such as soffit and fascia, window and door trim etc). A minimum of four colours should be utilized on any one building colour scheme. This includes the roof colour and the colours of minor architectural components. In order to qualify, colours must be visible from any street.

APARTMENT STYLE BUILDINGS:

One exterior colour scheme is permitted per site that has more than one building. A minimum of two major colours should be utilized on each building facade adjacent to or visible from any public street, public park, or adjacent development (excluding roof colours and colours utilized for minor architectural components such as soffit and fascia, window and door trim etc). A minimum of four colours should be utilized on any one building. This four colour minimum includes the roof colour and the colours of minor architectural components. In order to qualify, colours must be visible from any street.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:
  • Accessory buildings should be treated in a complimentary fashion to the principal buildings on the same site. Where different multi-family parcels share a common property line, each parcel must have different colour schemes.

  • A minimum number of colours is prescribed to ensure more than one colour is used on each façade.

  • Readily discernible shades of one colour, when viewed from any street, may be considered two separate colours.

 

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Street townhouse utilizing a variety of colours Above: Example of colour palates meeting the minimum of four colours within a colour scheme.
COLOUR SCHEME EXAMPLE

Saskatoon Land, multi-family

 

5.0 Fenestration - Windows & Doors

INTENT: Fenestration should be oriented to streets and/or public spaces, complement the architectural vocabulary, and satisfy functional and climatic issues. Abundant glazing at street level is encouraged for community surveillance and to enhance street lighting at night.

  • Readily discernible trim must be utilized around highly visible doors and windows.

  • Blank walls without fenestration at street level or upper levels will not be permitted on facades adjacent to or visible from public streets, public parks, or adjacent development.

  • If glazing tints are used, they should reflect the choice of colours of wall and roof claddings. Reflective coatings are not permitted.

  • If imitation shutters are utilized, they are required to be proportioned to give the impression that they are functional and capable of covering the entire window.

  • Developments are encouraged to have main entrances facing public streets.

 

6.0 Roofs

INTENT: Roofs should be designed to form an integral part of any project and complement the overall architectural design. Where exposed roof surface areas are large, it is mandatory to incorporate sensitive design elements that break down perceived proportion, scale and massing of the roof to create human-scaled surfaces.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, Multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Example of dormers that break large roof plane. Above: Example of varied roof planes to break up viewing plane. Above: Example of a flat roof.
  • The exposed roof area when calculated perpendicular to a vertical viewing plane should not exceed 40% of the total projected wall and roof area. Alternatively, large roof areas should be broken down into smaller volumes by varying the roof planes, or by introducing sensitive design elements such as dormer windows.

  • Sloped roofs should have a minimum overhang of 450 mm or 18 inches. Fascia boards should be a minimum 150 mm or 6 inches. Permitted claddings for sloped roofs include pre-finished steel standing seam roofs complete with snow and ice stops, asphalt shingles, cedar shingles/shakes, granular faced aluminum shingles, clay or concrete tile roofing and glazing.

  • All chimneys visible from any street should be enclosed within a chimney chase. The form, style, materials and color of the chimney chases should be consistent with the overall architectural character.

 

7.0 Relationship to Streetscape

INTENT: Multi-unit building facades facing public streets should help define the streetscape through thoughtful design and sensitive architectural treatments.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Good examples of buildings interfacing with public street.
  • Create a street wall with the majority of the staggered main facade located parallel to straight streets or tangent to curved streets.

  • Wherever possible, front and side elevations should front onto public streets. In event that it is not possible, sensitive design treatments may be required in order to create a visually pleasing streetscape.

  • Any facade abutting and/or highly visible from a public street, public park or adjacent development shall receive the same architectural treatment as the “front” facade.

  • Property lines adjacent to streets must be fully landscaped.

  • Street or group townhousing units that are visible from a public street are required to include a significant entry treatment.

  • In general, private exterior open space in the form of verandas, porches, balconies, patios, and/or roof terraces are strongly encouraged for as many residential units as possible.

  • For Dwelling Groups, main entrances to each unit do not have to face a public street, however, secondary entrances facing public streets should be architecturally well defined.

  • In general, connections to existing public space and amenities from multi-unit buildings are encouraged (i.e. walkways linking to sidewalks and/or park pathways).

FENCING
Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Examples of acceptable front yard fencing

Fencing is not required. In the event that a fence is desired, the below guidelines should be considered:

  • If a front yard fence is constructed of wood, steel, aluminum, or wrought iron, the amount of solid area of the fence sections shall not exceed 50%.

  • Fence piers or fence sections constructed of natural stone, manufactured stone, brick, or some other masonry application may be 100% solid.

  • In the case of street or group townhousing, a front yard fence is required to have an access opening or gate to the street from each front door. Where a solid fence fronts onto a public street and encloses an open space between a principal and accessory building, the cladding materials requirements for principal and accessory buildings shall relate to the fence.

 

8.0 Variety

INTENT: A variety of architectural styles, spaces, colours, materials and uses are encouraged within the neighbourhood.

  • Where properties share a common property line or are in close proximity to each other, each property is encouraged to demonstrate architectural variety to decrease visual monotony.

  • Repetition of architectural styles on separate development sites that are in close proximity to each other is strongly discouraged.

 

9.0 Parking, Loading, and Service Areas

INTENT: Balance the need to improve the pedestrian environment with the demand for parking. Parking should not dominate the streetscape or individual sites.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family Saskatoon Land
Above: Example of parking suitably screened from public view by locating it in the interior of the building site.
  • For all developments, required parking is not permitted in front yards. Required parking must be located within or under the development or in a rear yard or side yard and suitably screened from adjacent public streets, public parks, or adjacent development.

  • Access to all multi-family parcels (not individual dwellings) is acceptable from public streets.

  • Where possible, dwelling group sites may orient garages across the street from single-family housing with front garages, subject to approval during the Development Review Process addressing technical site and other City Policy considerations.

 

10.0 Site & Building Exterior Lighting

INTENT: Buildings and sites should be illuminated for security and ambience. Night lighting encourages activity, but any potential for “light pollution” is to be avoided.

Lighting on any site and on/in any portion of a building shall be arranged and shielded such as that it does not become a hazard or annoyance. Lighting should not in any way compromise the appropriate function of adjacent properties.

 

11.0 Mechanical/Electrical

INTENT: Screen mechanical and electrical equipment that is normally left within view of the street on sites and on rooftops. Noise generated by this equipment must be considered such that adjacent occupancies are not impacted.

Excluding any existing utility, mechanical and electrical equipment on a site or on a building must be adequately screened from adjacent street level.

 

12.0 Landscaping

INTENT: To encourage professionally designed solutions to link to streetscapes and public spaces with the Neighbourhood.

  • Open space must be landscaped. All development submissions must be accompanied by general landscape concept plans (not Landscape Rendering).

  • In the case of soft landscaping that is visible from any public street, lane or park, grass may only be used for 75% of the soft landscaping provided on any site. This must be demonstrated on plan either graphically or in text format.

  • Landscapes must be designed to be self-sustaining in the local climate or an adequate irrigation system is to be provided.

  • Coniferous trees must be a minimum of 1800mm height and deciduous trees must have a minimum calliper of 50mm at the time of installation.

  • Landscaping is to be extended into the City boulevard where the site is adjacent to separate sidewalk and curb.

Saskatoon Land, multi-family
Above: Multi-family buildings front on common space that contain self-sustaining landscaping.