Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

This site uses cookies. By using our services, you agree to our cookie use.
Learn more here.

Competition: York and Rees Street Parks, Toronto

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation has launched an international contest for two new landmark parks overlooking Lake Ontario (Deadline: 5 April)

Open to teams of architects, landscape architects and other design professionals, the competition seeks two separate ‘high-quality, durable and innovative’ green spaces at the junctions of York and Rees streets with Queens Quay Boulevard in the city’s lakefront regeneration district.

The project, backed by the City of Toronto, will transform an 8,000m² plot of land created by the demolition of the former York-Bay-Yonge eastbound off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway and a 9,500m² existing car park south of Toronto’s Rogers Centre and Entertainment District. Participating teams must be led by a landscape architect and feature at least one member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects.

CN Tower, Toronto

CN Tower, Toronto

Source: Image by Asset Burned

CN Tower, Toronto

According to the brief: ‘York Street Park and Rees Street Park will be the two newest additions to the Toronto waterfront’s growing collection of bold and innovative public open spaces along Queens Quay, which was itself recently transformed into a unique urban boulevard.

‘The concurrent design of these two important parks offers a unique opportunity for talented and creative designers to help contribute to a comprehensive waterfront park system. Waterfront Toronto welcomes participants from a diversity of backgrounds, from local to international firms, small- to large-sized firms, and young to established firms that typically undertake complex projects in landscape, architecture, and urban design.’

The Toronto Waterfront district stretches 46km from Etobicoke Creek in the west to the Rouge River in the East. The former industrial and railway lands area witnessed massive regeneration in the late 20th century with the construction of landmarks such as the 1976 CN Tower and 1989 Rogers Centre.

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation was created by the Canadian government in 2001 to boost regeneration of the lakefront zone. The Central Waterfront area – stretching from Bathurst Street in the west to Jarvis Street in the east – was the focus of a major design contest in 2006 won by West 8 + DTAH. Key outcomes of this competition included the creation of a new recreational trail stretching the length of Queens Quay Boulevard.

Toronto Waterfront

Toronto Waterfront

Toronto Waterfront

Both parks will be expected to introduce unique recreational ‘experiences and ecologies’ into the existing neighbourhood while also integrating public art and featuring new standards of sustainability. The York Street park is expected to be heavily used by local workers and visitors to the area, while the Rees Street park is expected to have a broader range of users.

Interested teams must first complete a request for qualifications. Between four and five teams will then be shortlisted for each park and invited to draw up proposals in response to a detailed brief.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 2pm local time, 5 April

Contact details

Betty Leung
Procurement Manager
Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation
20 Bay Street
Suite 1310
Toronto
Ontario
M5J 2N8

Email: procurement@waterfrontoronto.ca 

Visit the competition website for more information

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North case study: Q&A with Barbara Kaucky

The founding director of Erect Architecture discusses lessons learned designing a new recreational zone within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

How did your competition-winning project create a new welcoming gateway and community facility for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

The hub is not so much a gateway to, but a building inside the park. An, albeit largish, pavilion embedded in the landscape. For us, the key quality of the project lies in the symbiotic relationship between building and landscape. Together with landscape architect LUC, we designed how landforms and planting conceal and reveal the building, frame views of the café, and enclose the community lawn to give a sense of privacy to the function rooms. The building is operated by a charity that offers training to disabled people. I hope this means that local people can rent the rooms at reasonable rates.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

To relate to the different landscape zones the building form expresses its two main functions – café and community rooms – in two generous, light-filled monopitch volumes with cantilevering roofs. Ancillary spaces are housed in a long, lower volume which separates the two and also zones the external space. As a visitor, you can approach and enter the building from all directions.

We wanted to minimise the contrast between inside and outside. The same materials are used, sometimes treated the same, sometimes very differently in landscape and architecture. Concrete is sculpted and shaped in the waterplay area, pigmented and textured in the building forecourt and polished inside the building. The woodland play structure uses oak in its natural form. The same oak is used, cut, sanded, rounded and oiled for the building cladding and key walls inside. Touch and textures, the warmth of wood and the general unpretentiousness of the design were important to us.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

What advice would you have to contest participants on creating a pair of compelling and memorable new parks for Toronto?

When we won the competition, the jury was impressed with how well we understood the context and how site-specific the design was. I would say the success of the project was based on the strength of our team, especially the close relationship between architects and landscape architects and a great collaboration with local artists and makers.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park North by Erect Architecture

Q&A with Chris Glaisek

Waterfront Toronto’s senior vice president, planning and design discusses his ambitions for the competition

Chris Glaisek

Chris Glaisek

Chris Glaisek

Why are your holding a contest for a new York Street and Rees Street parks?

The design competition is a method Waterfront Toronto has used successfully to solicit a rich variety of ideas and perspectives that help open up everyone’s thinking. We see a design competition as a means to engage our stakeholders and the local community in the design of a park and to generate excitement and involvement in the design process. It allows us to provide technical, public and stakeholder feedback within the procurement process. Waterfront Toronto is a public agency and our procurement is always public and open.

Toronto Waterfront

Toronto Waterfront

Toronto Waterfront

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

We welcome a diversity of participants from local to international, small to large-sized firms, and young to established firms that have the experience and capacity to undertake a complex landscape project. The concurrent design of these two important parks offers a unique opportunity to consider how they each contribute to a comprehensive system of waterfront parks. It is the intention of Waterfront Toronto to award two separate contracts for the design and construction administration of these parks.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Future opportunities to provide services to Waterfront Toronto will be advertised publicly in an open and competitive process. As work proceeds in areas on the waterfront like the Port Lands, there will be more projects that require design teams and will be available in the private and public sector.

Are there any other similar new waterfront park projects you have been impressed by?

We appreciate the diversity of experiences and integration of community uses in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates). We see Berczy Park (Claude Cormier + Associes Architectes Paysagistes) as a fine example of a park revitalization that integrates existing landscape with elegant contemporary design to create a successful and well-used public space. We see Corktown Common (Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates) as an excellent example of the deep integration of sustainable systems and extraordinary public space design. We think Campus Martius (Detroit, MI) is an example of how a small space can be activated with dense program.

Tags

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.