Tributes


Journal Of Ontario Association Of Architects

Reprint from The Journal of the Ontario Association of Architects Volume 4 Number 1

Moving Storage

...This issue of Perspectives, dedicated to successful Maiden Voyages, highlights the work of architects who are taking on the task of designing a new type of building for the first time in their career... Most importantly the following pages demonstrate that there are indeed clients with the courage to create opportunity, clients that take a risk, do the unexpected, and in doing so contribute to our society's well being.....The old ways aren't working any more, its really time for all to be trying something new - Editor


Jiffy Self-Storage Building Bernard Rasch Architect has made a successful enterprise of bringing architectural design to the type of project which typically has suffered from the lack of interest and participation on the part of the architectural profession. Most storage buildings are undistinguished and ignored. However, they often cannot help but be noticed because of their size and presence in the city and they are hardly ever considered a boon to the urban character of their surroundings. Not so with the Jiffy Self-Storage Building which single handedly enlivened a dreary strip of Wilson Avenue in North York and created a landmark building by Highway 401. The building is a textbook case of how design can add value to any building project, and how in the hands of a talented architect, architecture can be injected into zones where it has been denied, the most worthy maiden voyage of all.


Client Perspective

"We purchased an industrial property with a view of using it for mixed commercial/industrial uses from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation at public auction in 1988. It is preeminently located at the junction of Highways 400 and 401. Traffic from both highways is in excess of 400,000 vehicles per day.

The mandate for the project design was to take advantage of the highway exposure in order to quickly establish ourselves in the business of self storage in the Greater Toronto Area. To meet our need, our architect Bernard Rasch, designed the mixed use dual purpose building to look like a conventional storage building from the highways.

His combination of simple, clean lines and provocative colours provided us with the instant recognition for our storage brand known as Jiffy Self-Storage. There is hardly anyone in Toronto that is not familiar with the twin peaked yellow storage building at the northwest corner of Highways 400 and 401.

His combination of simple, clean lines and provocative colours provided us with the instant recognition for our storage brand known as Jiffy Self-Storage. There is hardly anyone in Toronto that is not familiar with the twin peaked yellow storage building at the northwest corner of Highways 400 and 401.
The Wilson Avenue frontage is more like a conventional strip plaza with patron parking at both the front and rear of the building. Retail type services include licensed and fast food restaurants,
Purolator Courier retail store and Ryder truck rentals. Each service provides additional exposure for our main business, Jiffy Self-storage, and our storage business provides retail customers to our plaza tenants.

In order to increase vehicular traffic to the plaza, Rash designated the area immediately below the main pylon sign for newspaper vending boxes, public phones and Canada Post mail box.
The mail box provides service for the entire neighbourhood.

Our storage mix includes both residential and business customers. However, because of the bold design at this well travelled location between Yorkdale Plaza and the International Airport, we have a high ratio of businesses, perhaps the highest in Toronto. Whereas some storage companies depend almost entirely on residential users, our backbone has become businesses, which have proved to be more reliable and long term in this economic climate of uncertainty than residential customers,
that move in and out on a more frequent basis.

The proof of the impact of Rasch's design has resulted each year in progressively higher
occupancies for our storage business to the point where we are forced to turn new business away.
In our industry on account of turnover among tenants, 90% is considered to be full. For the past four years, storage occupancies have been in the 95% range. All commercial units on Wilson Avenue have been 100% lease since first opening in 1988. Because of continued high demand, we are planning to break ground this year to build a second yellow building on project excess land that will be used exclusively for storage.'



Allan Barkin, President
North Slope Estates Limited


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