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2006 05 29
Fostering Orphans - 1
By Chris Hardwicke


The Clean and Beautiful City (http://www.toronto.ca/cleanandbeautiful/about.htm) initiative was adopted by City Council in 2004 with the goal of raising the bar on urban design and architecture in the City of Toronto. The initiative identified “orphan spaces” across the city as sore spots in need of attention. An orphan space can be characterized as an overlooked urban moment that is seriously underperforming in its potential.

The Orphan Spaces Series 2006: Retail/Commercial (http://www.dx.org/orphanspaces/) is being presented during the ongoing city-wide Festival of Architecture & Design by the Design Exchange in co-operation with the City of Toronto's Clean and Beautiful City initiative and Canadian Architect Magazine (http://www.cdnarchitect.com/). Eight teams of multi-disciplinary designers were invited to participate in the series. The two-week challenge was an intense design exercise that asked participating teams to reinterpret underutilized spaces throughout the city of Toronto in areas that are not currently represented by Business Improvement Areas (BIA) but which are located in neighbourhoods that are economically or urbanistically underdeveloped, have cultural or historical value and tremendous design opportunities. Designated orphan areas included spaces in outlying areas such as Wexford, Albion Road, Malta Village and Danforth at Victoria Park.

One of the most alluring aspects of the Orphan Space Series 2006 was the involvement of local neighbourhood and business representatives. Working directly with local representatives, the design teams were able to identify the issues and opportunities quickly while building real relationships with the community. All of the proposals have the opportunity of being realized through partnerships and fund raising efforts.

Our team’s entry called Cliffside Slips was selected as the winning proposal and over the next few days we will describe the project and highlight some of the challenges of working in these transitional neighbourhoods.

Our team chose Cliffside Village (http://www.cliffsidevillage.org/), a postwar main street that is bisected by Kingston Road, a large six-lane highway. Currently there is significant open space that separates the north and south neighbourhoods, discouraging shopping, strolling, and main street vitality. The residents of the community believe the area is healthy and increasing in value, enjoying close proximity to the Lake and bluffs.

Design Team: Lola Sheppard + Mason White (Lateral Architecture (http://www.lateralarch.com/)), Chris Hardwicke (Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co (http://www.ssfandco.com)), Fung Lee (PMA Landscape Architects (http://www.pmalarch.ca/)), Hon Lu (TEDCO (http://www.tedco.ca/)) & Daniel Rabin.

Stay tuned: Tomorrow we will describe the proposal and some principles we used to approach the project.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/29 at 10:39 AM

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