Sugar Mountain Exhibition opens in Warkworth, Ontario

The Arts & Heritage Centre in Warkworth, Ontario has been transformed into a fictional Subdivision Sales Pavilion to showcase Sugar Mountain: a hypothetical housing development on the periphery of the small town.
The project offers more housing per acre than the conventional subdivision by focusing on architecture, managing the impact on the land, and utilizing a variety of housing types.

Created by Dimitri Papatheodorou, visual artist, musician and architect, in conjunction with his students in the Deparment of Architectural Science at Toronto Metropolitan University, the exhibition aims to show that it is possible to “create a cohesive and beautiful development reflecting the character and compactness of smalltown Ontario.”

Sugar Mountain offers several housing types: starter terrace housing, lofts for live-work, villas for those who can afford more gross floor area, co-housing, and a small ‘palazzo’ housing multiple units with a collective southern view of the agrarian landscape.

In addition to the fifty-four dwelling units, there is a reforested sugar bush, a barn, a small greenhouse, a daycare, and a modest community workshop.

The conventional subdivision is not a design type that fosters community, nor is it oriented towards building beautiful places for people to dwell. It is the most efficient model for the development industry, only, says Papatheodorou. The roads and infrastructure that service the switch from agricultural land to subdivisions are paid for by the us, the public. Developers prefer ‘leap-frogging’ over more expensive serviced land, near existing communities, and speculate on land that is purchased before it becomes serviced by roads and utilities,” he continues. “This is precisely why we get subdivisions and not communities.  It is easier to build where no one lives, as change to established communities is often met with resistance by the communities that need housing.”

The architecture student collaborators include Caleb Culmone, Arsalan Hosseini, Hunter Kauremszky, Wincy Kong, Nuvaira Tahir, and Sara Vitti. The exhibition receieved generous support from the Centre & Main Chocolate Co, Authenticity Antiques & Folk Art, Ah! Arts & Heritage Centre, Warkworth Ontario, and the Toronto Metropolitan University Department of Architectural Science. The team extends their acknowledgements to Scott Sorli, TMU, Roberto Chiotti Architect, Mark Gorgolewski, TMU, Jordan So, TMU, Jason Ramelson, TMU, Filip Tisler, TMU, Judy Kaufmann, Warkworth, and Atom the Pug, Warkworth.

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