Sherbourne Park Pavilion

ARCHITECT Teeple Architects Inc.
LOCATION Toronto, Ontario

This pavilion will provide services for Sherbourne Park–a significant new public space on Toronto’s waterfront. Working with landscape architects, artists and civil engineers responsible for stormwater purification for the entire waterfront, the pavilion was conceived in relation to an overall vision for this park that focused on public interaction and connection to water, specifically Lake Ontario and its history. The park itself is conceived as a memory of the waterfront’s long history. It is an abstraction of the condition of a pure stream, running through the landscape, into the lake.

Playing a significant role in the purification process, the pavilion interconnects the various elements of the park. It houses washroom and changing facilities for the rink/water feature as well as a concession for food and beverages. It also accommodates the rink chiller equipment, fuel storage for the zamboni, as well as UV filtration equipment for the waterfront as a whole. It is designed as a year-round facility to help service and activate the park at all times. The arch itself forms a covered seating area overlooking the rink/water feature.

The pavilion is conceived as a casting, an intersection between the various elements of the park. It interrupts the channel of water that it helps purify and forms the edge of a year-round water feature–splash pool in summer, rink in winter. The pavilion frames a view from the rink through the glade to the lake. Rather than placing a discrete element in the park, the elements of the park are joined together by this urban connector.

We believe the pavilion presents a kind of dualism. It can, on one hand, be read as an iconic form, an exciting sculpture that one experiences along the waterfront. But it can also be perceived as an urban moment, a framed connection between the park and the lake. The pavilion sets out to demonstrate that striking sculptural form and good urban design are not antithetical, but complementary, especially in the case of important civic monuments. As it functions both as an iconic moment in the park–an abstracted arch that frames views to the lake–as well as an urban connector that fuses the elements of the park together, the Sherbourne Pavilion will become a key urban feature of Toronto’s new waterfront.

Environmentally, the pavilion’s approach is two-fold. It plays a key role, as does the park as a whole, in purifying the stormwater from the adjacent area and displacing its return to the lake. It houses UV filtration equipment and interacts with the purified stream by bridging over it, affecting its course and creating ripples in the stream. It also uses this water as a medium to assist in heating and cooling the pavilion. The pavilion, largely through these energy efficiency measures, will achieve LEED Gold status with nine energy points.

As a year-round building, the pavilion employs sophisticated rain-screen zinc cladding applied over a durable backup to achieve its complex three-dimensional form. Zinc roofing is also employed as the building will largely be seen from new housing situated around Sherbourne Park. Durable skate-resistant materials are employed in the interior, contrasting with the exterior surfaces of the pavilion, which have a soft, patinated texture. The polished underbelly will ensure that the space under the arch is bright and welcoming.

Finally, the project takes the straightforward necessities of the public realm and turns them into a civic monument of significance to the city of Toronto as a whole.

GH: This is a beautiful park pavilion which is both elegant and sheltering. I really like imagining it in the winter surrounded by ice skaters. It could be a very large snowflake slowly melting. If every park washroom aspired to such greatness, I think I may go to the park more often.

JPL: Although the building seems a little small for its program, it constitutes an amazingly elaborate structure for such humble functions as public washrooms and change rooms. It is a sculptural object that will grace Sherbourne Park and its surroundings. Highly visible due to its contrasting zinc cladding, the pavilion gives the impression of a strange shimmering vessel having landed gently on the ground.

PR: We want to reward the architectural ambition of a modest public amenity structure that makes a healthy contribution to the potential vitality of the waterfront and to a significant public space. There is room for improvement in its relationship to and articulation of the landscaping, but the remarkable curved volumes are a wonderful, appropriate response to the spatial flow of the site.

Client Waterfront Toronto
Architect Team Stephen Teeple, Bernard Jin, Allan Wilson, Mark Baechler
Structural Quinn Dressel Associates
Mechanical Cobalt Engineering LP
Electrical Cobalt Engineering LP, URS Canada Inc.
Civil The Municipal Infrastructure Group
Landscape Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg Studio, The Planning Partnership
LEED Consultant Cobalt Engineering LP
Contractor Eastern Construction Co. Ltd., MJ Dixon Construction Ltd.
Area 143 m2
Budget withheld
Completion Spring 2010