Posts tagged with "Toronto":

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Private company proposes cable-car system for Toronto

Toronto's Don Valley could be set for a cable car network connecting the downtown district to the greener area around Evergreen Brick Works. The project has private backing from a Swiss-Canadian company. Steven Dale, CEO of Bullwheel International Cable Car, sees the scheme as bridging the gap for the last leg of the journey to get to the Brick Works, which is currently only accessible via a shuttle bus on public transport or by personal vehicle. According to Next City, the Brick Works sees 500,000 visitors arrive each year by car. The added infrastructure could potentially boost the local farmers market and see an increase in use at the children's garden and event areas as well the general area itself which offers a welcome break from urban life with parks and trails. Going over, rather than around or under, appears to be the preferred solution for swift access to the environmental center that is awkwardly sprawled across one of Toronto's ravines. Dale argues that the proposal isn't about developing infrastructure. He maintains that the cable car's primary function would be recreational, viewed and used as a civic landmark, able to offer views over the ravine.  The system would also see no state interference, being privately run and funded. Dale hypothesizes that a journey would cost around $10 to non-locals with the entire scheme estimated at requiring $25 million to fund. As for the network itself, six towers, constructed on state land across the ravine will allow up to 42 cable cars to travel back and forth, travelling from the Brick Works in Don Valley down to Playter Gates in Downtown.
The company added that each gondola would come tooled with a bike rack to facilitate cyclists as well as other measures being in place to accommodate disabled access. "I don’t know why we’d reject any means of getting people around," Dale said. “We’re trying to come to grips with what kinds of ways we can provide people greater access to the ravines without being too obtrusive … The concept of a cable car that goes through some land that is beautiful and scenic is very appealing." Despite the audacious scheme, no planning proposals have yet been submitted to the city authorities. That said, the Don Valley Cable Car project will host a meeting on March 8 by the proposed station location at Broadway and Danforth to provide further information to locals.  
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Arquitectonica leads design team for three Toronto towers

Arquitectonica in collaboration with New York firm S9 Architecture and Toronto-based Sweeney & Co. Architects have designed three mid-rise residential towers in Toronto, the tallest of which will be 526 feet high. The project is being spearheaded by WAM Development Group and will occupy a four-acre plot between 245–285 Queen East and Sherbourne and Ontario Streets as well as 348–412 on Richmond. Upon brief observation, the towers look like three lowercase i's aligned in a row. This is due to a recreational floor two-thirds up each of the towers. These spaces will house indoor and outdoor amenities including a living garden patio. The tallest tower, 45 stories tall, sits in the middle flanked by the other two slightly smaller buildings, both 466 feet high (39 storeys). At pedestrian level, the towers will be connected by a retail podium and public space. According to regional commentary forum Urban Toronto the "massive redevelopment will completely change the height, density, and urban character of Queen and Sherbourne." In terms of density, the trio of towers will add 1,645 housing units to the vicinity, being divvied up into 340 single bedroom; 832 single-bedroom with "den"; 235 double bedroom; 69 two-bedroom with "den", and 169 three-bedroom apartments. Of the 1,645 units, 1,110 are currently planned as rentable spaces. As for the public realm, brick paving has been used to contrast the glazed facade of the towers, creating a much more localized place and offering an alternate sense of scale. Within the area, protection from the elements will come in the form of a glass canopy so to maintain the aspect of openness.
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Bjarke Ingels designs a pixelated mountain of residences in Toronto

Just when it seemed that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) had enough projects on its plate, it looks like the firm's gone back to the building buffet for a residential complex in Toronto. Backed by developers Westbank and Allied REIT, the as-yet-unnamed project calls for more than 500 apartments spread over 725,000 square feet. The building consists of 12-foot-by-12-foot "pixilated patterns"—read "cubes"—that are stacked and rotated at 45-degree angles. From straight above, the complex resembles a plain rectangle with a public courtyard in the middle. In reality, the apartments stack and mass to form five peaks ranging in height from 15 to 17 stories, marking a return to Ingels's favored mountain typology. The block-wide building will lift up from the sidewalk at three points to allow pedestrians to travel between blocks. Toronto–based landscape architects PUBLIC WORK are collaborating with BIG on the project. There will be around 13 different floor plans, with a private terrace for each apartment. Ingels, the firm's founder and principal, explained the design to The Globe and Mail, likening the scale of the project to "a bundle of homes rather than a big new building.” The effect, Ingels explained, is similar to “a Mediterranean mountain town.” Canadians don't need to look far for another design precedent. It's difficult not to draw a comparison between BIG's proposal and Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie's iconic Montreal apartment complex.
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Winners Unveiled for Toronto’s Second Annual Winter Stations Design Competition

Four winners and three student winners were selected to design art installations along Toronto’s beaches this winter. The concept behind the Winter Stations Design Competition is to enliven typically deserted beaches during the winter with whimsical structures. This year’s theme, Freeze/Thaw reflected Ontario’s harsh climate and elicited playful responses with installations ranging from a fur-lined pod to a fragmented rainbow-hued cavern. The jury received nearly 400 entries from both local and international designers. The seven winning designs will be built from February 10 to 14 along Kew, Scarborough, and Balmy Beaches. Installations will debut on February 15 and will stay open to the public through March 20. “Visitors will discover a feast of textures in the schemes—from vessels clad in charred wood to sailing rope to vintage furs,” Lisa Rochon, senior fellow of Global Cities Institute University of Toronto and a jury chair said in a press release. “Inventive, playful and irreverent, all of the installations can be read like pieces of poetry on the beach. “ The winning designs are: In the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee Three Calgary-based artists crafted this charred wood pod lined in thick, warm fur. Visitors are invited to climb in to get warm and enjoy the view from a round window. Floating Ropes by MUDO Described as a “rope forest,” Floating Ropes is a playful take on a permeable cube that visitors can crawl inside to reach a lifeguard chair with views of the lake. Sauna by FFLO (Claire Fernley and James Fox) Two U.K. landscape architects interpreted the “Thaw” theme literally with a tiered sauna. Transparent exterior walls allow glimpses of those within and solar powered lights illuminate it at night. Flow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh) Graduate students Fung and Huynh wanted to capture the “transitional moment between freeze and thaw.” They created digitally-fabricated 3-D stars through slot-fitting wood connections that can be easily reconfigured. For the student entries, teams from three schools participated: Lithoform by Remi Carreiro, Aris Peci, and Vincent Hui, Associate Professor, Ryerson University This structure was inspired by frost in the Lithosphere, the outer layer of the earth. The team created a polychromatic cavern around a lifeguard station. The Steam Canoe by OCADU. Toronto, Ontario Project team: Curtis Ho, Jungyun Lee, Monifa Onca Charles, Reila Park, Hamid Shahi, Lambert St‐Cyr, Jaewon Kim, Jason Wong and Mark Tholen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Design, OCADU Evacuated solar tubes place at the rear of this “upside down” canoe are designed to melt snow into steam, which creates a halo of fog around the wooden structure. Aurora Borealis by Chris Baziw, Ra'anaa Brown, Trevor D'Orazio, Andrew Harkness, Matthew Hunter, Danielle Kastelein, and Terrance Galvin, Director of Architecture, Laurentian University. Surrounding a lifeguard station, this structure is created from fabric and LED lights on an aluminum and responds to body heat. When visitors touch the illuminated tubes, they change color. “The public participation in Winter's Station's inaugural year proves that even the most overlooked winterscapes can be injected with vibrancy and life," Ted Merrick, lead designer at landscape architecture firm Ferris + Associates said in the press release. "Our ultimate goal for year two remains the same—to encourage the community out of hibernation and back to the beach."
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Downtown Toronto tower gets rooftop hockey rink

Molson Coors, the Canada-based beer brewing company has completed the construction of an hockey rink on top of a 32-story building in downtown Toronto as part of their #anythingforhockey campaign. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TST3BbW4-Us The mysterious rink was installed at 120 Adelaide St. W. in Toronto’s financial district over the last month and a half for an upcoming Molson beer commercial shoot. Building on last year’s #anythingforhockey event, which took hockey fanatics to a secluded rink on British Columbia’s Shamrock Lake high in the Rocky Mountains, hockey fans were asked to share what the sport means to them on social media. As with last year’s event, a handful of participants will be selected to play on the special rink. In a press release, Molson commented on how the rink is just the right size for a three on three game, which also happens to be the format for this year’s NHL All-Star game. https://youtu.be/cPzQl3l_D7Y Finished on January 10th, the rink is roughly one half the size of an NHL professional hockey rink. Like in the pros, the rink is has regulation height glass panels and netting surround the ice to prevent stray pucks from falling to the busy streets below. As for getting to the rink, new stairs were added to the building to provide access, but due to weight restrictions, only a limited number of people will be allowed up to the rink at any given time. Construction was accomplished with the help of cranes on neighboring building under construction, and some innovative ice and snow clearing solutions. As snow cannot be removed from the roof, the rink can be flooded with warm water to clear snow, and the ice itself when not in use. This technique is also used to smooth the ice, as a Zamboni machine is not practical for obvious reasons.
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Toronto’s ambitious plan for a linear garden under the Gardiner Expressway is made of 55 “outdoor rooms”

Toronto’s waterfront is separated from the city by the elevated Gardiner Expressway. While access underneath is relatively easy, it isn’t a pleasant transition. Torontonians, however, can expect some changes to their waterfront corridor as 10-acres of new public space and a mile of multi-use trail are being built under the highway. Project: Under Gardiner was designed by city planner and urban designer Ken Greenberg with Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin of PUBLIC WORK, an urban design and landscape architecture studio in Toronto. The new park is slated to open in 2017. The scheme is strategically placed along a portion of the expressway that connects numerous destinations—including the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, Fort York (an historic military site and museum), BMO fields, and the CNE fairgrounds—as well as a string of high-rise neighborhoods. The project is conceived as a series of 55 "outdoor rooms” formed by the structural bays of the Gardiner. While it is a continuous park, each section or “room” will have a distinct atmosphere and will lend itself to particular activities and programs, including gardens, art fairs, playgrounds, and public markets.  In addition to multi-use park space, the project boasts a 1,640 foot connection to a prominent GO train station, a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over Fort York Boulevard, and an urban theater at Strachan Avenue to accommodate public programming and year-round performances. Like the High line in New York and The 606 in Chicago, Project: Under Gardiner uses existing conditions as a catalyst for new urban engagements, while also adding significant public space to an underused portion of the city. “The re-imagination of this stretch of vacant land under the Gardiner has the potential to connect 70,000 residents to a linear spine of diverse active and passive spaces and place,” explained Paul Bedford, Former Toronto Chief Planner. “It links our past with our future and establishes a totally new way for city hall to embrace transformative city building.”
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Removal of Vancouver’s Viaducts: Making room for housing, culture, and parks

On October 27th, the Vancouver City Council voted 5–4 to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, making space for housing, culture, and parks. The viaducts were part of a proposed freeway system through East Vancouver in 1971, until residents protested, and the project was abandoned. In June 2013, the city council made a unanimous vote to study the potential impact of removing the viaducts that connect the downtown to neighborhoods on the city’s East side. Since that unanimous vote, city staff consulted communities and studied traffic. Reports show the viaducts hold six-percent of trips to and from downtown, and it would cost $50 to $65 million to make the viaducts earthquake safe. Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a written statement, "There is no decision at the city that has been more scrutinized, studied, deliberated or consulted on than whether or not to remove the viaducts, and after four years, it is time to move forward." To compensate the loss, a four-lane, at-grade road will be built, adding only one to three minutes in vehicle travel time, while the available land becomes thirteen acres of park space. Also, two city blocks will be preserved for housing, providing 300 below-market units. Although the demolition will cost approximately $200 million, the city anticipates a surplus of $100 million by the time the project is complete in 2025. Previously, Toronto leaders voted to preserve their elevated downtown freeway, prioritizing commute time.
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Perkins+Will goes back to school with new academic building for the University of Toronto

International firm Perkins+Will has unveiled plans for a new six story, 210,000 square foot scheme at the University of Toronto Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. The creatively named 'North Building Phase B' has a construction budget of $69 million and is due to be complete by the summer of 2018. The project will be home to six university departments: English & Drama, Historical Studies, Language Studies, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology, featuring student lounges, study areas and dining space. Part of a wider scheme, it is the second installment of a three-phase program replacing a not-so-temporary structure that was the campus' first building, built in 1967. In terms of its impact on the vicinity, the building will complete a circle of public space that surrounds the campus green creating a more holistic and established area for academia and university life. Notable features of the design, which was granted after Perkins+Will won a two-stage competition, include a terraced atrium that is part of a multipurpose event space, numerous state-of-the-art Active Learning Classrooms, elevated roof gardens and terraces overlooking the campus green for students and staff. The firm has also employed a sustainability focused approach using solar shading and natural ventilation in tandem with clever siting and building orientation. This isn't the first time Perkins + Will has designed for the University of Toronto. The practice has built four other buildings on the university's campus.
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UUfie Transforms Flagship Store With Icy Cool Glass Block

From Functional to Fashionable: glass blocks used to create a glowing facade in Shanghai.

Located in a high-end fashion district in Shanghai, this storefront was dramatically reclad in a custom glass block assembly by Toronto-based architecture studio UUfie. The facade is part of an adaptive reuse project, converting an old office building into a new flagship store for fashion house Ports 1961. Eiri Ota, the Director and Principal Architect of UUfie, says the design concept evokes the idea of a landform that resembles an iceberg floating freely in the ocean, “During the day, [the facade] mutes the surroundings, while subtly reflecting the sunlight. In the evening, the view is icy and crisp, and the surface illuminates with embedded LED lights integrated into the joints of the masonry.” The iceberg concept is inspired in part by the fashion brand’s celebration of the spirit of travel. The facade is composed of two types of glass blocks, a standard 12” (300mm) square block and a custom mitered block of the same dimensions. The use of corner blocks offers a seamless uninterrupted materiality. From a distance a larger grid emerges, registering the facade control joints and steel frame beyond. The grid acts as an organizing element for the building envelope, controlling the limits of the material while providing a basis for formal adjustments to the massing of the facade. At key moments, the building face pulls and pushes, establishing the main pedestrian entry and billboard displays for passersby. Ota relates these design moves to the building’s context, “the building has a sense of being undulated, expanding and contracting, as if it is shaped by its environment.”
  • Facade Manufacturer J. Gartner & Co. (HK) Ltd.
  • Architects UUfie (Design Architect)
  • Facade Installer J. Gartner & Co. (HK) Ltd.
  • Facade Consultants T/E/S/S atelier d’ingénierie (facade engineer); Inverse (lighting consultant); eightsixthree Ltd (project coordinator); Yabu Pushelberg (design producer)
  • Location Shanghai, China
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System Glass block on steel frame assembly with integrated LED lighting
  • Products 300mm x 300mm glass block, 300mm x 300mm custom corner glass block
UUfie was able to achieve a three-dimensional “corbeling” look for the glass block by carefully integrating steel plates into the design. As the facade tapers, the blocks rest on a stainless steel plate of the same dimension, which extends to a steel frame. LED lighting, inserted into the masonry joints casts light toward the interior, which is indirectly reflected back to the exterior, establishing a soft glow effect and conveying the depth of the assembly. UUfie’s Toronto-base office worked to refine the detailing of the wall system to ensure that the on-site assembly process would operate as smoothly as possible, which meant condensing the number of connections in the modular assembly down to a set of standard details. This effort doubly helped to establish a rigorously refined aesthetic and efficient construction process, reflecting Ports 1961’s approach to carefully honed craft production. The finishes selected for the facade were a thoughtful addition to the project. The glass block is a satin finish, and the underside of the exposed steel plates is shot blasted to create a soft matte finish. These deliberately “soft” finishes operate contextually to contrast with Shanghai’s electric chaos. Ota attributes the success of the project to the facade’s materiality and formal massing: “The differing geometries and changing perspectives of the facade express the transformative nature of the city and the people of Shanghai.”
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West 8 delivers dynamic Queens Quay, a complete street in Toronto

After more than a decade of planning and three years of construction, Queens Quay in Toronto has been turned into a veritable urbanist's dreamscape on the waterfront. Four lanes of traffic have been reduced to two making room for a separated bike path, separated light rail, benches, thousands of new trees, and extra-wide pedestrian promenades with pavers set into maple leaf patterns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=54&v=gIv4dCDfIlc In 2006, West 8 and local firm DTAH, won an international design competition led by Waterfront Toronto to fully reimagine the area. "Once uninviting, the opening of the new world-class Queens Quay, links major destinations along the water’s edge creating a public realm that is pedestrian and cycling-friendly," said West 8 on its website. "It offers a grand civic meeting place and an environment conducive to economic vitality and ground floor retail activity." (In April, West 8 won another Waterfront Toronto competition to reimagine the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbour Square Park.) In the video above, West 8 explains the massive undertaking, which included significant infrastructure upgrades below the new public amenities. While the long-awaited revitalized Queens Quay has been celebrated and enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists, the new configuration (notably the reduction of traffic lanes) has been confusing, and frustrating, some Toronto drivers. This learning curve should straighten out soon, though, as the Toronto Star reported that new signs and street markings are on the way to clear up any questions about who and what goes where. Check out the video below, as Toronto Star reporter Stephen Spencer Davis bikes along the Queens Quay.
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As crucial vote looms, Toronto’s leadership divided over downtown elevated highway removal

The Toronto City Council will vote on June 21 on whether to remove a one-mile elevated section of the prominent but crumbling Gardiner East Expressway in the city’s downtown. Mayor John Tory wants to rebuild the road, but his staff, including chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat, are advocating for removing the highway and replacing it with a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. It is unclear what the 45-member council will do. The mayor is advocating what he somewhat dubiously calls a “hybrid plan,” which would rebuild the road with some modifications to its ramps and structure. He told the Toronto Star that "I didn’t get elected to make traffic worse. And let’s be clear, removing that piece of the Gardiner will almost certainly make traffic worse.” Proponents of the teardown want to build a widened road along the city’s waterfront. They say that the mayor is wrong about traffic, as evidenced by Toronto’s successful removal of another section and put in a similar at-grade road. It would compliment the recent plans for the nearby Harbour Landing waterfront, designed by West 8. “It’s very clear removing is in the best interest of... [the] long-term vision, as articulated in our official plan,” Keesmaat told a group of landscape architects. “This is an opportunity for us to create a grand boulevard that weaves together the waterfront with the rest of the city, and opens up new development parcels, allowing us to create complete communities within walking distance of the downtown core.” According to polls, 45 percent of residents want to tear down the road, while 33 want to save it. Advocates of the at-grade option say that it will be 96 million dollars cheaper to build, and will save $458 million over the course of 100 years to lower maintenance costs. For the hybrid option, upwards of $100 million would need to be raised just to complete the project. Advocates of removal say that the impacts of their plan are being overhyped. According to experts, only 3 percent of commuters into the core of Toronto use the road. They say that the hybrid proposal would have similar effects on traffic as removal, because in both cases people would find other ways to go, travel at different times, or just avoid the area altogether. Construction on the project would start in 2018.
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West 8 and friends selected to give Toronto’s waterfront a “great green living room”

Hey Torontonians, your city’s waterfront might be getting a pretty exciting makeover dubbed a "great green living room for the city." The City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto have announced that a proposal from West 8, KPMB Architects, and Greenberg Consultants has won its competition to reimagine the dated Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and adjacent Harbour Square Park. In the winning design, named “Harbour Landing,” there is a new terminal with two pavilions set underneath an undulating wood canopy. The whole thing is topped with a rolling, green occupiable roof. The new structure, along with the adjacent park and revamped promenade, are intended to be used year-round and serve as an iconic gateway for the city. “The Jury was impressed by the design balance achieved between a new heavily landscaped Civic Park, an elegant, iconic Ferry Terminal whose naturalistic form echoes the landscape topography and an overarching plan which makes strong connections to the emerging public realm of the waterfront," said jury chair Donald Schmitt in a statement. Of course, the bold design is just the start of what will be a long process. According to the National Post, “Now that a design has been selected, both the board and the City of Toronto must approve it. Designers will then sit down and develop a master plan, which will sketch out the redevelopment in phases. Each one will come with its own price tag.” Currently, $800,000 has been secured for the first phase of the project which is slated to break ground next year. The project’s boosters in Toronto want to see the entire thing completed with 10 years.