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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Norwegian firm Arkitektgruppen Cubus AS has conjured up a subtle design intervention for a small stretch of Norway's fjord coastline. Located in Mo i Rana, a town North of the studio's Bergen headquarters, the plan reshapes portions of the waterfront through the placement of modular seating, shelters, and walkways. The components of the scheme are to be realized in steel and concrete that has long been-manufactured in the area. The stark, industrial aspects of the competition-winning proposal evoke the character of the region where the project will be built. These structures are to be installed directly on the coast and will require minimal interference to the natural landscape and native flora. The inland section of the plot is to be more heavily manicured in terms of vegetation, acting as a green buffer between sand and nearby gardens. A larger park space with paths, lawns, and lighting is planned for the southernmost tip of the waterfront. The choice of concrete and steel as materials suggests that the question of comfort might have played a secondary role to aesthetics in the design process. Yet the steel and concrete found in the plan are more than just a figurative nod to the manufacturing legacy of Mo i Rana as they also ensure that the entirety of the design will be crafted in nearby seafront factories. Beyond creating a new waterfront landscape, many of the structures also help combat erosion plaguing the town's sandy beaches. There is the thought that enterprising skiers and snowboarders might make creative use of the plan's metal rails and walkways come wintertime.
The "reconquest" of the Seine's riverside expressways will be ushered in by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, following a long battle with Nicolas Sarkozy's recently ousted right-wing government. Continuous two-lane motorways have severed Paris from the banks of the Seine, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, since Georges Pompidou opened them in 1967 under the slogan “Paris must adapt to the car.” Delanoë has made it his mission to reverse Paris' auto-centric planning mentality, increasing the number of bicycle and bus lanes in the city while implementing bike- and electric car-share schemes. The pedestrianization of the Seine also follows Delanoë’s Paris-Plages program, started in 2002, that transforms small stretches of riverbank into sand-covered beaches complete with palm trees and deckchairs for one month each summer. Starting next month, a stretch of road on the Right Bank starting at the Hôtel de Ville and running eastward a little more than half a mile will be narrowed and additional speed-controlling traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will be installed. Pedestrian corridors and bicycle lanes will be added to the road, along with bars and cafes (some of them on floating barges and islands). The next stage, to be unveiled next spring, will replace the road completely for a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of the Left Bank between the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont de l’Alma, creating an 11-acre park with volleyball courts, sundecks, and floating gardens. This corridor will be connected to the Right Bank by new pedestrian crossings at Debilly (adjacent the Eiffel Tower) and Jardins des Tuileries (adjacent the Louvre). It is expected these modifications will add only six minutes to the average commute while restoring access to the riverfront to Parisians and tourists alike.