Through a language of urban origami, our proposai captures the character of Dundas Square, creating both a stage and a viewing area for the spectacle of city life. Articulated by planar surfaces and organic topography, our design creates a unique landform and signature logo for the site.
The initial concept began with a rectangle folded in one corner as a response to the irregular polygonal nature of the site. We developed this idea, conceiving of the ground plane as an expansive surface which yields an adaptable concept which evokes the play and complexity of origami and the intrigue and magic of carnival.
The dynamic, infolded plane is neither architecture, nor pack nor public art in the traditional sense. We sought to generate a crisp, lively, three-dimensional form which paradoxically operates as a center of cairn and openness within the vortex of activity of its neighbouring streets. The site hamesses the energy of its environment in a tactile way that is sufficiently non-specific and abstract to allow for a variety of social uses and interpretations.
The sculptural shape of the square with its specific edge form and vertical elements will dramatically signal a sense of place to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. A bisection of the site is suggested by a diagonal line from the Ryerson Campus to O'Keefe Lane, which in tum extends south to Massey Hall and the theatre district.
The west section of the site features a grand plaza for large-scale gatherings; the eastern portion is an elevated surface plane, likely featuring softer landscape elements. This elevated plane would form a vantage point for viewing the square, the vista east along Dundas and the view north-east towards Ryerson. A diagonal folded-up corner at this edge makes a dramatic gesture to Dundas Street and allows entry to the site while acknowledging the Campus, Devonian Park and the school's pedestrian mail north of Victoria Street.
A colonnade of trees defines the southern edge and provides shaded areas for people in the square.
The energy of the scheme is admirable. It clearly attempts to extend the kinetic world of the surrounding streets and buildings into the space of the square. However, the intention and significance of the folds remains unclear. The plate rises to the east and cuts off passage across the site thus creating the impression of a space with a single frontage. The wall divides the site, it is also quite unclear as far as its actual function and material. The scheme is simply too complex. rhetorical and idiosyncratic. It does not convey the impression of public space.
The folded planes of the surface of the square evoke an appealing image - inviting at the edges, offering a sense of welcome separation from 'the cacophony of the edge buildings, and giving varying aspect on the world around. Controlled light and water features introduce sound and light separation, a hint of natural forces, yet untouchable in this hard urban square. The energy of the "water prism" at the subway entrance invites the visitor, the student, and the shopper to the symbolic 100% corner of Toronto's commercial life. At the same time, the water wall results in an unnecessary barrier in what is a small urban space that must serve varied populations in all directions. The rise to the cast with benches above is particularly troubling, suggesting a back door to the eastern neighbors and creating an unappealing, potentially unsafe catchall space below the "bleachers" above.
The scheme shows a lack of cohesiveness and collective whole, like incomplete sentences. It is overly programmed and furnished and could be confusing with too much activity. It was another heavy-handed, sci-fi version of a space-port square. It seemed forcefully inappropriate given the size, the location and the uses of the square, and tended to fetishize large and flashy design events like the over-arching and technically improbably encased waterfall. The angular slab - concrete roofs were inhospitable, heavy, demanding. This scheme was - how can one put is - the easiest to deny, given the role of the eventual urban space for which it was proposed.
The scheme was an interesting concept as an abstract idea and had some exciting attempts at using light. However, the water sculpture blocks views, there was too much 3 dimensional structure - concrete seems inappropriate material for "origami" effect and massing generally blocks views to the east.
(From competition documentation)
16 scanned / 2 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel