Middle City Passages Toronto: Infrastructures of Continuity in the Horizontal Metropolis

Middle City Passages Toronto is a dual-phased international competition that is part of the IVM international program “Passages, Transitional Spaces for the 21st Century.” Similar competitions are occurring in Barcelona, Shanghai, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires and Tours, followed by a rotating exhibition.

Toronto’s competition is organized by Metrolinx and the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in partnership with the City of Toronto. It is open to young professionals and emerging practices in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, urban planning and related disciplines.

The multi-billion-dollar investment in the expansion and improvement of Toronto’s public transport system, including portions of Eglinton, Finch and Sheppard Avenues, provides an opportunity to combine a series of small, high-impact interventions with major infrastructure projects. The Sheppard East Light Rail Transit (LRT) line is part of this investment and aligned with municipal plans that call for growth less dependent on the automobile.

The Middle City Passages Toronto competition is an opportunity to investigate how new transit infrastructure along Sheppard East might interweave with existing local small-scale pedestrian networks. It is also a chance to test how forging connections between local paths and transit infrastructure can further support development and improve local living conditions. Can the design of new types of passages aid in producing a more urban condition in suburban Toronto?

The competition will focus on developing strategic design proposals for two test sites that exmplify typical conditions—Palmdale Drive and Agincourt Drive. The jury consists of a group of international and local experts including Henri Bava, Andres Borthagaray, Harold Madi, Marcel Smets, Richard Sommer, Leslie Woo and Mirko Zardini.

The selected teams will receive an honorarium of $1,000 CDN for participating in a workshop in Toronto to elaborate their ideas and produce strategic projects with the assistance of local and international coaches. Travelling expenses will be covered up to a value of $3,000 CDN. The prize-winning team will be retained as a special advisor to Metrolinx’s Senior Manager of Design Excellence to advance the design of walking and cycling access to transit stations and corridor rapid transit projects up to a value of CA$25,000.

The deadline for applications is April 30, 2015 and six teams will be selected in May 2015 to participate in the Design Workshop in Toronto to be held from July 2-9, 2015. Final submissions are due and the announcement of the winning team will be made in August 2015.

For more information on the competition, please visit www.daniels.utoronto.ca/middlecitypassages, and for more information about the overall Passages program, please visit www.passages-ivm.com. For additional inquiries, please e-mail passages@daniels.utoronto.ca.