A venue of everything
Dundas Square must be able to accommodate a range of activities, often contradictory.
Surrounded by the glitter of intense new media and retailing, Dundas Square should be both a space of repose and meditation as well as a space from which to allow the senses to be overcome by the energy of The City.
We anticipate that there will be planned public events as well as predictable and unpredictable moments of spontaneous revelry and celebration. We propose that in contrast to the scale and sensation of surrounding metropolitanism, The Square present the citizen with a finer increment of material awareness. We propose using a series of small units to comprise the ground-scape. These units will serve to create texture, negotiate smooth contour changes and precinct definitions. On the other hand, due to the nature of both planned and unplanned events in The Square, we anticipate that this small scale be tempered by a strong simple set of robust elements.
There isn't likely anybody, resident or visitor to Toronto, who will not at some moment make an appearance at this intersection. It is a place where all will have an opportunity to see and be seen. At the moment, we are considering a seamless integration of a Public Art component, which will use the ground plane and its material composition to play on ideas of personal identity and representation within the anonymity of the collective population.
It is anticipated that the building surrounding Dundas Square will be awash in video walls, commercial signage and other various Iighting affects competing for our attention. Our design will intentionally provide a counter shade to these effects. The Square will not try to present itself as another spectacle within the shower of light that is anticipated. Instead it will concentrate on low level and tactile effects providing a serene ground from which to partake in the spectacles of Yonge and Dundas.
Our design will resist the temptation to become a permanent source or receiver for gratuitous spectacle. Instead, we wish to acknowledge the pleasure in the potential transformation of the space. For example, rather than proposing that resources are allocated for a permanent projection screen and attendant technologies, we propose that the space is able to accept the type of temporary stage and screen structures which are erected on occasion. We feel that the "event" surrounding the erection of such temporary regalia carries with it its own magic.
The scheme creates an enclosed space that invites people through and provides excellent possibilities for performance. The subway entrance is prominently placed, light and inviting. The scheme does not engage the perimeter conditions or activity on and off site and the wall w the north side of the site is problematic, especially opposite the entrance to Metropolis. Even worse is the treatment of Dundas Square, turning its back on the row of buildings there. The attempt to escape from urban life is mistaken, like defying gravity.
This is a thoughtful scheme with a layered approach to the site, which would at times be a gathering space, and at other times a piece of water sculpture itself — with approximately 50 water jets ridded through the site. A pathway through invites use from the east and west with a permanent amphitheater space in the center. The concept of a black box, flexible, theater without walls is just the right concept for this space, which must take on many different personas over time, and space. The drawbacks of the scheme are in its undeveloped nature, never really moving beyond the initial diagram and concept to convince us of the its practical use. In addition, the raised area to the southwest corner once again turns its back excessively to the east, something a new 21" century view of this part of downtown must avoid at all costs.
The scheme internalizes and "introverts" the square to such a degree it eliminates connectivity to the north and southern boundaries of the site and creates great problems from a lack of visibility for security and control.
The scheme seemed to define itself within an accumulation of negatives. It lived (for a while by subtraction, being inoffensive (on first inspection) in its rudimentary design qualities and generally undetermined In the end, the square could not get out of its own way, perversely blocking any logical approach to the fluidity of the triangular plaza space The destination seem overly arbitrary and conceptually fussy.
The land mounding concept could have been interesting and the fountains and lighting could create beautiful effects, along with the strong subway entry concept. However, the scheme seriously obliterates views to the east and unduly cuts up area into awkwardly shaped zones.
(From competition documentation)
18 scanned / 2 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel