Design Exchange announces winner of Orphan Spaces Charrette

This spring the Design Exchange (DX) launched a charrette series that focused on the modification of retail/commercial spaces in Toronto. This week, the judges met to review the presentations by the participating design teams and selected a winning project. It is Cliffside Slips, and the winning team includes the following individuals: Chris Hardwicke (Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co.), Fung Lee (PMA Landscape Architects), Mason White and Lola Sheppard (Lateral Architecture) and Hon Lu (Toronto Economic Development division).

Orphan Spaces: Retail/Commercial is a partnership between the DX and the City of Toronto’s Clean and Beautiful City Secretariat. Participating teams were asked to reinterpret underutilized spaces throughout the city of Toronto that are located in neighbourhoods that are economically or urbanistically underdeveloped, have tremendous cultural or historical value and tremendous design opportunities. These sites were in areas that were pre-Business Improvement Area, or newly formed Business Improvement Areas.

The team chose Cliffside Village, a postwar main street that is bisected by a large six-lane highway called Kingston Road. 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. The team used the metaphor of a marina for a new hybrid urbanism. By incorporating such devices as connecting crosswalks, pocket parks and temporary parking lot occupations to bridge the divide, and the result will be a denser public space. One of the significant advantages of this approach is that it is incremental, and can be produced over time as budgets allow.

The judges included John Kiru, Executive Director of Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Michael Karowich, Senior Urban Designer for Special Projects in Mississauga, Jeannette Krabicka, City of Toronto Economic Development BIA Office, Ian Chodikoff, Canadian Architect and Samantha Sannella, President of the DX. The winning team was awarded a cheque for $500, donated by Starbucks.

Details on this charrette series can be found at: