May 13, 2013
by Canadian Architect
The Green Line Ideas Competition invited architects, landscape architects, planners, artists and community members to contribute to an overall vision for the public use of a 5-kilometre-long hydro corridor from Davenport Village to the Annex. A jury made up of prominent Toronto-based urban thinkers selected the top ideas through an anonymous competition.
Competitors were asked to propose a vision for how a piece of infrastructure could be transformed into exemplary public space (Competition A). They were also asked to propose an improved design for the intersection and railway underpass at Dovercourt Road and Geary Avenue that could be a prototype for the eight underpasses along the Green Line route (Competition B).
Seventy-seven proposals to the competition were received from around the world. The proposals ranged from poetic (creating a butterfly highway) to tongue-in-cheek (a garbage path where everyone and everything is included … literally!) to fun (transforming the entire city of Toronto into a circuit of miniature golf). Together the competition entries show the phenomenal potential for the hydro corridor as a “Green Line”.
Amongst the proposals, there were recurring themes: using the corridor for natural stormwater management; creating wildlife habitat; and food production. Also, many submissions celebrated electricity, in the very place where it makes a visible mark across our city.
The ideas proposed will not be built – not even the winners – but they are meant to start a dialogue between the decision-makers and the people who live, work or study nearby about the possibility of a unified “Green Line.” See the entries at: www.greenlinetoronto.ca/entries.html.
Local architects Brown and Storey – designers of Yonge-Dundas Square – won Competition B with a simple and beautiful solution to the underpass crossings that both improve safety and double as a public art platform. Brown and Storey describe their solution as follows, “To match a new character for the Green Line, the Dovercourt underpass prototype has been made into a positive social activator of the public realm, a linkage between the street, the bridge and the new gardens of the Green Line.” Janet Rosenberg & Studio of Toronto took second place in Competition B.
The winning idea for Competition A – from Gabriel Wulf, an architecture student studying in Switzerland – envisions the Green Line as a cycling and pedestrian artery connecting different
Toronto neighbourhoods. It was important to Wulf that a continuous path would make the corridor feel like “one connected space, but without losing the individual characteristics of local neighbourhoods along the way.” One of the jurors liked the variation this proposal allowed, calling the winning vision of the Green Line, “episodic — it’s a series of short stories.” The second-place winner in Competition A is Windmill Developments & Susan Speigel Architect of Toronto, followed by third-place winner Antti Auvinen, a student at Aalto University in Helsinki.
Together, the competition entries tell 77 stories of a possible future for the hydro corridor as a Green Line. What is great about the winning design is that it asks for the community to tell theirs.
For more information, please visit www.greenlinetoronto.ca.
green line competition A winner gabriel wulf with his design proposal.