One of the key problems with the Atkinson’s Co-op/Alexandra Park (hitherto referred to as the “Site”) is its incongruity with surrounding typologies and city grain (namely Chinatown, Kensington Market and West Queen West). Reflected in building typology as well as thoroughfare (foot and vehicle), the divergence of the Site’s fabric perpetuates its so-called isolation, inaccessibility, and subdued role as a vibrant residential community in Downtown Toronto.
Addressing the Site’s urgency to reconcile with the Downtown grid, for example, as a strategy to liberate its constituents (ie. Allowing Augusta street to penetrate the Site in entirety, or Grange to meet Spadina going eastbound) is not the only driving force behind proposals. It would be a drastic oversight to ignore the commercial implications of increasing the density of the Site by upwards of 200%, such as in the current proposal for the Site where nearly 5000 new market value units will be developed (currently there are less than a thousand total RGI units). What is ironic about this economic drive to inject the Site with a blossoming community of first-time condo-buyers aka “Annex-graduates-weary-of-King-street-elitism” is that it is premised on a belief that downtown residents would prefer to live close to many local, family-owned businesses, as well as access the entertainment districts spilling over from Ossington and Richmond onto Queen West.
That is, to what extent are the family-owned, storefront-home living typologies stimulants to the culture of local shopping and entertainment that characterize the thriving districts surrounding the site? If the bordering zones of the site possess a disproportionately large number of families living in the same buildings as their businesses, and further acknowledge that they are either profitable, reputable or popular role players in the community at-large, is there sufficient grounds to explore this living typology as a strategy for reinvigorating the Site?
Even if the statistics state otherwise, the sectional qualities of this arrangement are interesting in terms of how public and private spaces are reversed if a storefront-houseback typology were extended south from Kensington Market and North from Queen West onto the site.
Light It Up is a studio project for a building that would be an arts centre for transdisciplinary research at University of Toronto, Canada. The site is across from Robarts Library – an icon of brutalist architecture and one of the largest libraries in Canada. My proposal explores the idea of transparency through material and social organization. Structurally, I propose a building made entirely of glass. In terms of my approach to the program of mixing studio, dining/social, gallery and library spaces, the notion of transparency drives the focus on visibility of the gallery from all public spaces.
The interior environment is driven by play of light through varying levels of translucency. The close up of cast glass reveals the change in orientation of the glass paneling, so the thickness of the glass is exposed, strengthening the structural ambition of the material and exploring the varying degrees of privacy obtained through the use of layering.
The following is the proposal submitted for the ULI Urban Design Competition 2012. The site was downtown Houston, and the challenge was to design 16-acre master plan with an interdisciplinary team of graduate students within two weeks. Our team (5191) consisted of students completing their Masters degrees in Planning, Finance, Landscape Architecture and Architecture.
Our proposal was about ReDiscovering Downtown Houston – facilitating renewed interest in living and playing downtown, where there is currently an exodus outside of office hours. Our submission included six 11″ x 17″ panels and a Pro Forma, which breaks down the costs and anticipated revenues from purchasing, developing and maintaining the site over a 10 year period.
Much love to my teammates Anthonia Ogundele (Captain!), Josh Warkentin, Riaz Nathu and Noah Shumate for their hard work and dedication to pull off this competition in two weeks!
The question that drives this proposal for Riverdale park is: how can we provoke a program that synthesizes the users’ engagement in the view of the cityscape with the desire to move down a steep slope?
One possible synthesis is found in the prevalent cultural activities of youth in the urban context. For example, graffiti and skateboarding are both activities that are direct responses to the forms presented by the urban landscape – the walls as canvases in alleyways; the stairs, railings and ramps are runways and props. Parkours is another mode of urban expression that recontextualizes “play” in the urban landscape. While the city of Toronto indulges in the zoning of such recreation, the park as a public realm provides opportunity to celebrate these subversive forms of street art.
In the context of Riverdale park, where the existence of the urban landscape sandwiches the park – the city of Toronto to the West and Broadview Avenue to the East – the proposal bifurcates the site to connect the urban landscapes in a blatant gesture. Yet this project proposes anything but one path: the pathway dissolves into multiple-detours, leading the user to intimate and open spaces, stairways of varying cadence, exterior and interior rooms as well as elevated platforms and balconies.
As the diagram to the right indicates, this projects proposes to rewrite the definition of a pathway, to provide a nuanced experience that is representative of the urban will to embrace difference in dynamic forms.
These are drawings from my first architectural project. The program for the building was to develop space for a fashion institute, namely to be used as a permanent site for Toronto Fashion Week.
The proposal was part of the first year studio course for Masters of Architecture I at Daniels, U of Toronto ALD.
The concept for the space is creating a runway that has private as well as public viewpoints, built within a structure that is exposed by translucent glass walls.