JCI Architects to expand Toronto Zoo’s cultural offerings

JCI Architects Inc. and Terraplan Landscape Architects have begun work on the Schofield Memorial Garden at the Toronto Zoo. The memorial, funded by both the South Korean and Canadian governments, is a tribute to Dr. Frank Schofield, an advocate for Korean independence during its occupation and the only non-Korean to be buried in that country’s national cemetery. The project includes a memorial hall, exhibition spaces, statue, water features, and public plazas, and expands the type of facilities offered by the Zoo to include more cultural and multi-use amenities.

The Schofield Memorial Garden seeks to create something analogous to Schofield’s work and mediate between different cultures to promote the uniqueness of Korean arts and that country’s close friendship with Canada.

The initial client request was to reproduce a 16th-century style Korean pavilion, using all the traditional techniques and materials. This became prohibitively expensive, and failed to embrace the Canadian component of the project. The current design team suggested embracing the idea of a cross-cultural scheme, basing itself on traditional Korean principles and aesthetics while incorporating Canadian materials and technologies such as oak timbers, louvered cedar roofs, passive heating and cooling systems, and stormwater and filtration strategies. In the end, it is this cultural and architectural hybridity which lends the project its richness. Phase One of the project is scheduled for completion in 2012.