The City of Toronto’s King Street Parklets
In addition to last year’s King Street Transit Pilot, the City of Toronto launched Everyone is King, a Design Build Competition which provides an opportunity for businesses, design professionals, and the city’s community to reimagine its busy street.
“The intent of the competition was to create a series of attractive curb lane public spaces on King Street for all to enjoy,” states the City of Toronto’s website.
The competition was divided into two streams: temporary public space installations that encourage people to gather and sit; and durable destination parklets with accessible seating areas, or green spaces, placed in the curb lanes.
Out of 96 entries, the City selected 12 winners — 10 public space installations and two durable destination parklets — to build new public spaces:
STREAM 1 – TEMPORARY PUBLIC SPACE INSTALLATIONS (PSI)
Public Space 5
Team: Plant Architect Inc.: Lisa Rapoport, Christopher Pommer, Mary Tremain, Eric Klaver, Patricia Joong in collaboration with Poet Ronna Bloom and Arrow Graphics & Signs Inc.
ASPHALT POETRY is a ground mural and performance collaboration. The poem, The City (by Ronna Bloom), is presented on the ground – able to be read from the North and the South, at different speeds, words intermingling.
Public Space 9
Team: Urban Minds Urban Minds in collaboration with All Custom Carpentry, RevelHouse Architecture, Hamann Engineering Structural Consultants Ltd, Rachael Ng Graphics, Iris Li Graphics
#WouldYouRatherTO is a physical-digital interactive art experience that brings people together through friendly banter. Pedestrians are encouraged to engage with this installation by answering a “would you rather” question by spinning one of the two-coloured buoys to the colour of their choice.
Public Space 10
Team: Andrea Bickley, Edvard Bruun, Alex Flash, Alice Huang, Camille Kauffman, Michael Laanvere, Tudor Munteanu, Éamonn Pinto, Rebecca Shaw
This installation harnesses pedal power to illuminate the space. Through the power of their hands or feet, users will work together to bring the installation to life — creating a shared experience that can last as long as the users want. Only when all four bikes are in use will the full effect be revealed. This project hopes to inspire discussion about how Toronto is powered, and how the community can increase production of clean energy.
The Present Moment
Public Space 11
Team: Hello Kirsten
The Present Moment is an invitation to pause in the midst of a bustling city. Beginning with an eye-catching road mural that draws attention away from inner thoughts and outer chaos, this installation attracts those passing by to stop and relax in a country chair.
Public Space 13a
Team: Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster
Fabricated by Christine Dewancker and Naomi Soares
‘Ziggy’ is an invitation to linger on King Street. Simple and playful, this painted tubular steel frame is a ‘social infrastructure’ – a piece of urban furniture that provides potential shared moments. As an analog prompt in a digital age, this structure hopes to connect and bring people together.
Facing the street, the crown-like continuous zigzag provides a clear identity for ‘Ziggy’ with V-supports that open up to allow access on the sidewalk-side. The two sides are tied together by a series of occupiable bars at different heights, allowing people of different shapes and sizes to find their ideal place to lean on and hang out.
Public Space 13b
Team: VPA Studio: Victor Perez-Amado (lead designer), Anton Skorishchenko, Michael De Luca in collaboration with Make Studio: Dina Sarhane, Mani Mani
Set within the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, the Woggle Jungle is a squishy mini-park amongst a forest of glass towers. Hundreds of colourful foam noodles are clustered together to create a cheerful and immersive environment that encourages play and relaxation in Toronto’s busiest district.
Seating benches made from foam noodles are scattered throughout to create opportunities for rest and social interaction for adults and children alike. The Woggle Jungle is designed by VPA-Studio and built as a collaboration between VPA-Studio and Make Studio, a Toronto based custom design and fabrication studio.
Everyone is (a) Kid
Public Space 13c
Team: Anthony Renditya, Chelsea Alexander, Ian Kendall, Iva Mihaylova, Jeffery Kwong, Katrina Beaudette, Krysia Bussiere, Ryan Guiricich, Sam Spagnuolo
Everyone is (a) Kid aims to engage the child in all of us to rediscover King Street. Every kid needs a place to play and every adult needs a place to feel like a kid again. Everyone is (a) Kid integrates a light-hearted splash of childhood into the public realm. Through a simple medium – milk crates.
WATCH YOUR STEP!
Public Space 14
Team: Stephanie Boutari
WATCH YOUR STEP! is an abstract geometric road mural composed of brightly coloured triangles that appear to fold in and out of the road’s surface. The tiled format of the design takes its cue from concrete pavers. Here, the use of colour visually transforms an ordinary two-dimensional surface into a three dimensional one by creating a sense of movement and visual depth.
The King \ St
Public Space 16
Team: BRENS North America in collaboration with O2 Planning + Design
The King \ St exhibits the city’s first modular urban green park, showcasing a unique material made from recycled automotive textile waste and enabling real grass to grow. Pockets of occupiable spaces are created from individual letters that collectively spell out “KING ST”. These letters are highlighted in bold yellow, creating a vibrant place-making sign when viewed from above.
At ground level, the letters act as “rooms” with seating and benches of various heights as well as places to relax on the newly formed grass. Users can also charge their phones using Canada’s first smart bench while enjoying the space. The benches have a Photovoltaic (PV) panel on the top so that it is fully self-sufficient and does not require power.
King’s Buried Treasure
Public Space 18
Team: Karen Roberts in collaboration with Cindy Scaife and Marg Cresswell
During the formative days of Toronto, multiple creeks traversed the land along King St from Bathurst to Jarvis. Cathedral Creek owed through St. James Park beneath the site of The Cathedral Church of St. James, from Jarvis and King to Church and Adelaide. At least eight more creeks crossed King Street. They are now buried or dried up.
This road mural depicts a stream, edged with rocks, pebbles, mud and brush; resurrecting the lost creeks of King St. It will be painted in blues, greens, browns, greys, white and reds. The mural meanders along the public space, adding colour, beautifying the street and providing an infusion of nature in the heart of downtown. Animal footprints will be painted onto the road using a super hydrophobic solution. This animated feature will be invisible in dry weather and visible when it rains. Horse, deer, moose, rabbit, fox, beaver, racoon, squirrel and bird tracks will surround the stream when wet. As the sun shines and dries the sidewalk, their existence will fade from sight, just as the creatures did. The ghostly images will encourage passersby to return during wet weather.
Photo descriptions courtesty of toronto.ca
STREAM 2 – DURABLE DESTINATION PARKLETS (DP)
King Street Causeway
Public Space 12
Team: IBI Group in collaboration with PCL Construction
The King Street Causeway is a durable destination parklet, which celebrates the pedestrian experience along King Street. Comprised of interlocking hexagonal modules at varying heights, these formations accommodate a diverse program for both individuals and groups. During the day, it is a place for pedestrians to sit and relax while taking in the bustle of the city. By sundown, it becomes a beacon in the Entertainment District, catering to Toronto’s vibrant nightlife. The illuminated crystals have a dichroic quality, reflecting and transmitting an infinite colour spectrum. No two views are the same, creating a dynamic user experience while animating Toronto’s urban streetscape.
Face to Face/Tête à Tête
Public Space 15
Team: PLANT Architect Inc.: Lisa Rapoport, Christopher Pommer, Mary Tremain, Eric Klaver, Lisa Dietrich, Vanessa Sokic, Isabel Ochoa, Leela Keshav, René Fan, Patricia Joong in collaboration with Oriole Landscaping Ltd: Peter Guinane, Ianos Czika, Stefan Fridfinnson
Face to Face/Tête à Tête creates a place for shared conversation along the street. With two unexpectedly long tables, flanked by continuous benches and wrapped with planting, this is a place for concentrated community conversation – animated inside the words Face to Face/Tête à Tête dynamically projected over all of the street furniture surfaces.
Shaped like boomerangs, one table angles toward the street, and one toward the sidewalk, subtly inviting participants to the table angled to watch the passers-by on the sidewalk, or to hail to those on bikes and the streetcar.
Photo descriptions courtesty of toronto.ca
Team: PUBLIC CITY
FLATPARK is an 11 square metre/120 square foot outdoor public living unit (about the size of the smallest ‘flats’ in some cities today). As private living spaces in Toronto become more restricted and the city continues to densify, there will be increasing pressures on public space.
FLATPARK is a question posed: how much private and public space for urban living is enough? Located on King Street West, within the first block east of Spadina Avenue. FLATPARK was designed and fabricated in Winnipeg and transported to Toronto until December 31, 2019.
Photo description courtesy of PUBLIC CITY