The design is rooted philosophically in a search for a sense of « public space. » the nature of this quality in North American urban growth changes as intensification occurs. Certain key cues and patterns, however, seem constant.
Traditional rural and suburban places – roads, natural sites and their adjoining public works of the last century, such as bridges, picnic areas and viewpoints – have qualities of approachability and joyful spirit which are automobile related and usually lost as growth occurs. With this scheme we hope to combine some of these qualities in an arrangement which will assure intensive use of the building and civic square both immediately and as future growth occurs.
The city hall is configured with the intention of creating a sense of place with a very public quality. To this end, facilities are located as buildings which address a civic square, each having its own entrance façade. They are joined by elements having a quality in the tradition of public works. It is hoped that this will also create a clear distinction between the City Hall and surrounding private office towers. The civic square is arranged simply with gates on all four sides providing automobile drop-off.
Very large, mature, long-life trees are used in the tradition of the farm woodlot and the urban square to denote «public place» from a distance, to create an approachable scale in the square, and to provide a sense of symbolism and ceremony in their transportation to the site from their present locations in the communities which joined to form Mississauga.
Everyday and incidental public use of the square is encouraged by providing generous points of contact at the gates of the square. Short-term parking and landscape elements in the tradition of viewpoints and picnic lay-bys are to provide a taste of the square to drivers who then enter the parking garage.
The council chamber is arranged as a tier of seating which addresses the square to give it a quality of crowded occupancy in the spirit of grandstands. As a bridge over the north gate to the square, it is focal; symbolic of a link between departments, communities and citizens. In the tradition of public bridges, it is a place to meet and look out over the city in a spirit of collective joy.
A similar quality is sought in the roof experience; citizens will circulate the perimeter, stopping to put a dime into big binoculars.
Two retail passages link the road intersections with the civic square. They can be secured from City Hall facilities off-hours.
The conservatory extends the experience of the Northeast Passage and provides a shortcut around the arcade. The amphitheatre is located to maximize summer evening daylight on the stage and public accessibility from the west gate. The daycare centre and fitness centre are located at the corners of City Centre Drive in order to accommodate their relaxed atmosphere and to enclose the square. The pool and skating rink are made accessible via the east gate in order to encourage public use in sunlight. The daycare centre connects via the cafeteria terrace and affords and overlook of the pool.
Facilities in the City Hall are arranged to provide simple ease of location in the tradition of building portal entrances. All public facilities are located on the first three levels. Level three, as the top of this base, contains the council chamber, clerk and elected officials' offices. The four major departments, planning, building, engineering and parks, are configured as simple three story entities with clearly defined public entrances at level four.
(From the official competition publication)
The urban qualities of the submission were admired by jurors, as was its form of architectural expression. However, it was felt that its internal plan organization was surpassed by the First, Second and Third award winners. At the same time, it was felt that its architectural concept was less clearly developed than the first three.
(From jury report)
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- Site Plan
- Photograph of Model