The team consisting of Henning Larsen Architects, Adamson Associates Architects and PMA Landscape Architects has been announced as the winners of a competition to design the new 500,000-square-foot (46,500-square-meter) Etobicoke Civic Centre, beating out proposals from three other top teams.
Located in Etobicoke Centre, one of four mixed-use districts marked by the City’s Official Plan as a “vital” community, the new Civic Centre will feature municipal offices, civic function and gathering space, a community recreation center, a branch of the Toronto Public Library, a child care center and an expansive outdoor plaza.
Organized by Build Toronto with the City of Toronto, the competition jury weighed the four proposals under the following criteria:
- Environmental Sustainability – This proposal demonstrates an ability to achieve a net zero target, and the implementation of a progressive wellness standard for the future workforce occupying the new facility.
- Flexibility – The design of interior and exterior public spaces and related programs enables a broad range and size of community activities. As well, the proposed office floor plate offers the greatest flexibility in support of achieving the City’s office modernization program.
- Community Identity – This design builds its story upon the context and diversity of Etobicoke, creating an animated visual signature of “a place of many homes” that is both welcoming and dynamic. The resulting integrity of design concept will frame future neighbourhood growth with its distinctive landmark presence.
- Pedestrian Scale – The design has sculpted a large program into a contextsensitive cascade of articulated smaller built forms and spaces, resulting in an inviting interior and exterior pedestrian scale and animated street presence. This approach also enables ease of phasing development over time. As well the landscape architecture’s promise of a spectrum of public outdoor activity spaces has the potential to infuse the poetic yet pragmatic building design story throughout the site.
The proposal by Henning Larsen, Adamson Associates and PMA was selected by the jury for best satisfying these guiding principles, as well as for showing “flexibility and an iconic design well suited for the community.”
“This proposal sensitively reinterprets its context of place and possesses a depth of design story beyond the skin of its built form. It showcases a unique ability to openly welcome and engage everyone in a setting that is both civic and communal,” said Jury Chair Gordon Stratford.
The winning design has been organized into volumes of a myriad of scales, each topped with a unique roof condition, creating microclimates and a variety of spaces that encourage people to engage in the public realm.
“We have utilized careful site analysis and local thermal studies to propose a dynamic and coherent design, with a streetscape designed for comfort, microclimate and the human scale,” explain Henning Larsen architects. “The comfortable outdoor season is prolonged by up to five weeks. The structure will protect and gently guide the wind above the urban spaces.”
“There is no civic initiative more important to the Etobicoke community than the redevelopment of the Westwood Theatre Lands,” said Councillor and Build Toronto Board Director Justin Di Ciano. “This exciting development will become the new heart of Etobicoke where residents can join together to celebrate civic, cultural and seasonal activities.”
See the runner up proposals below:
Diamond Schmitt Architects (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A)
KPMB Architects (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Moriyama & Teshima Architects (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and FORREC Ltd. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)