Brunswick-College Parkette Design Competition
Semi-Final Design Announced
Brunswick-College Parkette Design Competition
In the spring of 2011, Harbord Village Residents’ Association mounted the Brunswick-College Design Competition, which received 27 submissions from eight countries.
In 2012, PMA Architects of Torontojoined a committee of representatives of Kensington Health Centre and City Parks (co-owners of the site) plus representative of Harbord Village with a goal of producing a single design. Two sets of winning Design Competition submissions (one chosen by a panel of environmental architects, the other by residents of Harbord Village) were examined, along with the most popular features of other submissions.
PMA produced three potential designs of which concept 3, was chosen, almost unanimously, by members of HVRA who attended its 2012 Spring Meeting. This design was then refined by PMA to incorporate community inputs to produce concept 3B. That design is the basis of the semi-final design that was exhibited at a second parkette meeting that was held on June 11, 2012.
That “semi-final” design, to which certain details will be added before the plan can be given to the parkette’s builders, is presented here.
Features of the semi-final design include:
Safety: the new design reduces opportunities for concealment to a minimum, principally by widening the sunken footpath to the W of Kensington Health Centre to a maximum, by lowering walls to bench height and by placing benches on top of them rather than in front of them – where they catch garbage.
Access: will not require steps from North or South.
Portuguese paving(google it to see patterns) will cover the main walk way to the West.
Three canopy sails: of perforated metal to provide shade, painted in different colours.
Lightingwill, if possible, be wind- and solar-powered with mains backup to ensure reliability year-round. The popularity of columnar lighting (in the overall winner of the Design Competition and in one other well-received entry) has been noted.
Vegetation: a mix of native trees will eventually provide a dense canopy with clear sight lines between their trunks over low perennial vegetation. The aim is to produce a safe, easy to maintain compromise between intimacy and openness. All vegetation will be protected at its base by a low surrounding curb. Irrigation will be automatic.
“Harbord Village” will be engraved in bold letters on the SW corner of the curb.
Benches: to be of rot-resistant ipe wood. All benches will have low backs and armrests, for the comfort of older users, with the exception of the benches on either side of the central island, which will have no backrest and no armrests.
Tables with attached bencheswill be circular and fixed in place with chess boards embossed or painted on their surfaces.
Sculpture: the central island will be a low (about 1m high) vegetated mound with a central mount for a sculpture. Rather than a permanent sculpture it has been proposed that the mound be occupied by a temporary sculpture for a maximum of one year. The sculpture will be chosen by an HVRA competition, with the help of OCAD or some other representative of Toronto’s art community. (For sources of inspiration, google the fourth plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square and Toronto’s Sculpture Garden.)
Concession stand: (which might resemble those beside Sanderson Library on the S side of Dundas St, E of Bathurst St) is proposed for the SE corner of the parkette, on College St. Installation will depend upon receipt of a viable application from a business or an institution that will be able to run it, ideally seven days a week and year round, to provide a service that will attract a diversity of users to the parkette. If no suitable application is received, it is proposed that essential services be installed (water, electricity, sewage) but not the stand itself.
Communications: the new design requires removal or re-location of the three existing payphones. Removal is recommended – and the provision of WiFi.
Kensington Health Centre sign: to be removed and relocated or replaced by a new sign at a different location.
Drinking fountain (for humans and dogs): will be installed in the mid-point pedestrian opening along the W edge of the parkette.
Garbage can: one will be installed, likely at the S end of the parkette where it may be easily accessed by those who will use it and those who will clear it.
Stage: originally proposed is not recommended owing to concerns regarding the obstruction it might cause. (A permanent stage will be a feature of the re-designed Margaret Fairley Park after it is rebuilt in 2012.)
Naming of the parkettewill follow consultation with the neighbourhood.
Brunswick-College Parkette Design Competition criteria, submissions, winners: http://harbordvillage.com/bc-parkette