SUDBURY ARCHWAY PLAN
Putting the city back in your hands!
What drew young people to the suburbs was opportunity, what will bring them back is freedom.
The Sudbury Archway Plan aims to rejuvenate the urban landscape of the city in response to its modern day needs. To mediate the current issues of social segregation and lack of urban density, this new urban design introduces a conscientious plan involving intensification of the city core by augmentation, infill and connective bridges. In addition, it brings about new building typologies and a restructuring of the transportation systems, making Sudbury's downtown not only more connected to it's suburban areas but also making it a more accessible destination for visitors from other Canadian cities.
The Archway Module is a simple unit, made of CLT lumber in various sizes and configurations. The arching form, reminiscent of the old Sudbury Welcome sign as seen in several of the city's historical photographs, is manipulated and repeated, creating an array of differently sized and proportioned spaces. Thus emerges a fully customizable set of components, easily manufacturable in nearby Ontario's Mills, made of readily available and sustainable timber. Users are able to manipulate, add, subtract and replace parts in order to create an actively growing infrastructural system. Such modules serve as flexible and multi-functional spaces, such as residential homes, office spaces, retail, and entertainment.
Sudbury comes with a history rich in the social and economic prosperity of the nickel mining industry, and plenty of infrastructure already in place to accommodate various activities in the downtown core. However, the area is lacking a population, with most of the residential neighbourhoods located in the suburbs. In order to increase the area's residents and invigilate the area, the proposal adds not only residential, but mixed use program by including office and commercial spaces, adding appeal for younger generations to transport their families to the downtown core. Rather than gentrifying the area by removing many of the area's architecture and landmarks, the Archway Plan is implemented as an infill and aggregation of Archway Modules over top existing infrastructure, in uninhabited unused parking lots, against unattractive back elevations of buildings, and bridging over streets. These minor additions throughout the city assemble to create a secondary layer of infrastructure, creating an elevated 'street' network as well as welcoming facades that face community areas on grade. These modular interventions activate not only the streets below, but also provide additional programmatic flexibility, inviting more residents to organically shape their own spaces and cities around them, creating architectural diversity.
A discernable observation of present-day Sudbury is the divide of the city due to the local railway. The railway currently confines the boundaries of downtown and creates an unfriendly environment on the west side as the residential neighborhoods are pushed away due to high traffic of trains. The Sudbury Archway Plan intends to take the immediate land of the railway as an opportunity for commercial expansion to encourage tourists, businesses and social life to thrive. In order to develop a strong identity with the train tracks and amplify their use,Transportation Hub is proposed to be the heart of the city and act as an access point to the downtown from residential areas as well as other parts of the province. Located between Elm Street and Elgin Street, the immediate context has views and access to several historical buildings with new parkettes populating current barren areas to the east while the west will consist of a large park facing the to-be renovated Sudbury Yard. This junction aims to express the poetic disparity between the past and future to all who visit the city. Dotted along these newly developed regions will also be more frequent bus stops, focusing on Cedar Street (commercial), Paris Street (community activities) and Douglas Street and Lorne Street (Hotel & Conference District).
The uninhabited land of Sudbury Yards calls for an expansion from the downtown area. This expansion hopes to allow the city to grow radially in the future so that residences on the west of the city may have equal access to resources such as malls, grocery stores and other amenities as the east of the city does. To mediate the barrier of the train tracks and the overall connectivity of the city, the Sudbury Archway Plan invites a network of bridged clusters to promote urban density and accessibility across the railway. Each of these larger clusters incorporate more global programs such as hotel & conference, transportation, commercial shopping, and community activities. The hotel & conference cluster, is located towards the south-west of Sudbury Yard and aims to house and provide amenities to visitors involving tourism and businesses. With close proximity to the transportation hub via bridging and surrounded by parks, restaurants and stores, this cluster integrates relaxation and business while providing an urban resource for local residents. Immediately to the west of the Transportation Hub, the transportation cluster, is the headquarters for all transportation related administration work and is equipped with offices, meeting spaces and commercial/culinary areas. Towards the north-east, the third cluster further develops the Commercial Shopping area. Built above the existing mall, this cluster intensifies the existing condition while providing opportunity for more commercial space in response to Sudbury's high population in the future. The Urban Core & Government cluster is located in an existing vegetated square where original government buildings exist. To bring a sense of identity to this area, the cluster anchors the centre of the city with an architectural feature and also emphasizes the community events and parks in its proximity. This cluster will hold all government related spaces including law, urban planning, the administrative offices and more. The last cluster lies in the Community Activities sector. Considering the local Sudbury Community Arena and the Sudbury Theatre Centre, this district encourages the development of an arts and entertainment area for the downtown core. Noticing its lack of support resources such as parkettes for community engagement and a plethora of shops and restaurants, this cluster hopes to bring life to the southern part of the city. Each of the clusters and the Transportation hub are also connected by bridges to mediate the barrier of the railway at grade level and provides an alternate perspective of the city from above. The 5 clusters are sprawled thoughtfully around the city, hoping to identify its unique regions in terms of hotel and visitation, transportation, commercial shopping, government landmark and recreational space to prepare Sudbury for its busy and fruitful future.
An important aspect of The Sudbury Archway Plan is the integration of the natural landscape. By raising architecture from the grade level, the proposal is able to integrate much more greenspace into the city, along with the reintroduction of Junction Creek to encourage habitat restoration. With excessive construction work in the downtown core and the strong presence of the railway line, it seems fitting to balance these spaces with the preservation of the creek's stream across the city. Renewable resources such as water energy from Ramsey Lake is also proposed to help fuel the clusters in the downtown core. Being void of residential living in this area, solar and wind renewable energy infrastructure can be explored as well in terms of panels and turbines respectively.
Observing the difficulties the City of Sudbury is experiencing in terms of the lack of street activation, misuse and uninhabited plots of land, the physical division made by the train tracks and its need for a rejuvenated urban life, The Sudbury Archway Plan proposes solutions to sustain the future of the city. Through the integration of a Transportation Hub, clusters and districts, bridges, infill modules and a new perspective of local natural resources, this urban plan provides an innovative approach to the revitalization of the City of Sudbury.
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