Homes

The view, the details, the history: Inside Echo by Uniform

With a view of the Rideau Canal — one that’s protected by UNESCO, nonetheless — and a location near notable destinations such as the ByWard Market, The Glebe, and Lansdowne, the foundations for Uniform Developments latest condo development were laid from the start. Located at the corner of Main Street and Echo Drive, it’s a location of great importance and connection.

Working with Barry Hobin, 2H, and Astro Design, Uniform has put forth a building that will intrigue those searching for a luxury condo — as well as anyone with an eye for design. At just six storeys, Echo by Uniform won’t vastly change the skyline of its Old Ottawa East neighbourhood. But for those living in the 42 units at 115 Echo Drive, Echo is bound to be a space that’s intimate yet familiar — plenty of spaces for the introvert and the extrovert, and everything in between.

In planning Echo, Uniform looked closely at the market, and saw a need for condos that catered to empty nesters and baby boomers in Ottawa and the surrounding areas, a market with developed and discerning tastes. “These are people who have established a connection to space and nature, and who want to continue to foster busy and active lifestyles,” says Emily Meyers of Uniform. “We felt we could provide that connection in a decidedly urban locale. And then, out the front door there is space, there is water, and there are outdoor activities and opportunities that span all of the seasons.”   

The building’s interior finishes were chosen by 2H Interior Design. Their design influence will bring a timeless and composed look to all the common areas of the building. In addition, the design firm helped with the layout of each suite, ensuring the spaces and would combine the modern sophistication of an urban open-concept living with practical floorplans that maximize every square foot. 

The view
Key to this project are the spectacular views of the Rideau Canal. To make the most of the location, the architects at Hobin Architecture wanted to make sure everyone living at Echo gets a stellar view. Cantilevered balconies — a design that does not rely on traditional vertical columns for support, and therefore fewer sightline interruptions — are a glamorous symbol of how this building connects with its surroundings.

Lead architect Rheal Labelle acknowledges the building design is certainly sensitive to its environment, as it visually and experientially connects with its surroundings. 

“In the past, there’s been a lack of emphasis on outdoor spaces,” says Labelle. “By extending the outdoor spaces up to three metres — almost twice the size of a typical condo balcony — inhabitants can enjoy the seasonally shifting view of the Rideau Canal.”

The end result is elegant outdoor living spaces that offer a sense of floating — of being perched, while still feeling very private with large flanking walls and thoughtful positioning.

By keeping the rest of the architecture simple, with natural tones in the stone, masonry, and metals, Labelle and his team have designed a tree-like structure. The stone anchors the building, the masonry extends like branches, and the glass is like the leaves, reflecting the shimmering sun on the canal. 

The details
Astro Design Centre took the lead in the kitchens, as well as the vanities for all bathrooms. Working with the interior design vision put forth by 2H, Astro curated a relevant selection of doors and counters in a palette of creamy whites, beige, taupe, and dark grey, in both wood and composite options.

Indeed, something as seemingly insignificant as cabinet doors represent time and thought put into every detail of Echo. Many future inhabitants will be moving from traditional big houses to smaller more modern spaces; transitional decor styles work well to soften the change in lifestyle. Other elements, such as countertops, are at once trendy and practical: four types of Caesarstone and Silestone are available to choose from. These quartz-composite materials offer the look of veined stone like marble, without the maintenance. 

The sales centre
The dream team behind this project — Uniform Developments, Hobin Architecture, 2H Design, and Astro Design — saw the opportunity to use the old church that currently sits on the site as a unique sales pavilion and presentation gallery.  It received a significant renovation, with the space being entirely gutted and new interior walls and stairs built to accommodate the new role. The second storey mezzanine also offers a place for visitors to take in that superlative view. Potential buyers can even perch on a newly built second storey deck that overlooks the Rideau Canal.

“It is amazing what can be seen just from the second floor vantage point,” says Meyers. “The church will only serve us through the sales stage of this project, but its reinvention is a nod to the creativity and spirit of the team that is behind this building” 

Once construction begins; it will be remembered in a very special way: its bell will greet residents and visitors in a unique front entry landscape detail, homage to the built history of the street.

Visit the Echo sales centre at 115 Echo Drive
Open Monday to Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Closed Dec. 23 to Jan. 3)