Allenville, 2015

Toronto, Canada; Civic

In association with Sarah Obtinalla.

 

By 1976, a segment of the unfinished Spadina Expressway, later renamed Allen Road, fell upon a midtown community. Within this stretch, the Lawrence-Allen area was a neighbourhood knowingly conceived around this inhospitable infrastructure; its housing plan, road networks, and central park area were peculiarly planned around this freeway divide. Today, this has led to a fragmented pedestrian fabric, disturbed local lifestyle, diminished urban character, and orphaned open spaces. To experts, the Allen Road is the antithesis of public space: It is loud, hasty, has a stench, and unfriendly. 

 

While the Allen Road may have been an urban weakness, it has also conversely become an integral character to an otherwise typical suburban community. So counter-intuitively, perhaps the role of the new architecture should not subjugate its presence, but rather it should exonerate, embrace, and enhance this great constraint into its largest asset. 

 

[Click Images Below]

Above the Highway

Above the Highway

The Village

The Village

Townhall

Townhall

Scultpure Gardens

Scultpure Gardens

Studios

Studios

4D

Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

An Artisan Village over the Allen Road Highway

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Exterior Village Garden

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Interior Village Corridor

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Multi-purpose Hall

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Dance Studio

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Site

 

Within the site boundaries of the central park area, Flemington Park, a new cultural center will hope to draw residents together for leisure, community development, and urban advancements, via arts, education, and research facilities respectively. 

 

 

Village

 

Villages are at the root of Canadian urban heritage. They represent close-knit communities that share resources, character and opportunities for group development - many of which the Lawrence-Allen neighbourhood lacks. As such, the development center will be modelled in this spirit.

The development center bridges across Allen Road and then cradles along the edges of Flemington Park; it harnesses the resources of the highway while buffering its infectious qualities from the community respectively. The horseshoe form of the building creates a spectacle for the highway as well as a spectacle to look at the highway. While respecting the suburban residential context, the architectural character reflectively becomes an organic rowhouse of artisan studios, warmly inviting wanderers into the heart of the building as an oasis in a sea of open space. Within the artisan village, visitors trail along an accessible pathway that unfolds itself across the chasm of Allen Road. All of these private studios are adjacently stitched with the more public Community Gallery and Event Room, Lounge and Cafe, Multipurpose Hall, and Center of Innovation - its townhall. 

 

 

Particularly, the Multipurpose Hall is designed in an exposed fashion, reaping the best vantage point of Allen Road, yet, allowing the adjacent functions to expand and repurpose the space as needed. Its use is defined by the ever-changing needs of its users, or it can be that moment of pause where the individual, the community and the Allen can rest together in one space. Attached to it, the Center of Innovation flanks the Hall. As it touches Flemington Park on both sides, the building and the Park is mediated by a Performance Plaza and an Entry Plaza on the east and west side respectively. The building offers a way of occupying the Allen that is in harmony with the neighbourhood’s healing developments.

 

[Click Images Below]

 

Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Site & Ground Floor Plan

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Second Floor Plan

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Program Optimization Each of the spaces are specifically designed to meet functional needs. Criteria may include spatial versatility, acoustic separations, visual transparency, and circulatory access.

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

The Unexpected Journey The path excites the senses. It is rewarding and rich. Visitors will cross the Allen in a phenomenological experience of space, light, and life.

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Specific to the Site The program is organized to respond to the building’s overall operation, energy performance, and site conditions. But most importantly, it embodies the architectural vision of embracing the Allen.

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Material

 

The scale of the village is to invite, and so aesthetically it needs to be warm. As such, both exterior and interior walls use wood finishes in various ways, depending on the  space. The roof and the underside of the building will contrast the walls with a zinc sheet metal system. Beyond formally creating the unitized compartments of the village, the shifting form is also emphasized by a featured reveal design. This reveal provides not only clerestory openings on one side, but also a trough and water downspout on the other. Together, these design details intend to create an Architecture that is approachable and associable to the neighbours of Allen

 

 

Systems

 

The building is constructed with steel box truss systems. Along the edge of the park, the structure is anchored deep beneath the existing Allen Road retaining walls. All steel elements are fire-rated within gypsum board wall assemblies or intumescent paint: Mechanically, the long building is heated, cooled, and ventilated locally per space. A decentralized system not only eliminates ductwork, it can also improve efficiency by not conditioning unused spaces. The building is warmed by radiant floor heating, cooled by chilled ceiling panels, and ventilated by ceiling fans and concealed PTAC (Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner) units. Since these units are local, small, and specific to the programs, it is imperative the envelope system of the building is well-insulated. So, the building envelope has a minimum of R-40 insulating value. The localized conditioning cater greatly to the studios and townhall, as each program is able to have complete creative control over their environment, while still being connected to the whole centre.

 

[Click Images Below]

 

Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

(From Top to Bottom) Roofscape, Service Channels, Structural Truss System, Program Clusters, Site Situation

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Section A - Townhall Fly-Bridge

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Section B - Artist Studios

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Section C - Artist Studio

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Detail 5

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Detail 2

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Detail 3

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Detail 4

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Building Detail 5

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Model

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Model

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Model

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Culture

 

The arts engage the mind and soul of its participants to imagine and dare. It is a platform for expression, inspiration, and self-discovery. In contrast, education employs the mind to rational developments. It builds knowledge, morals, and ethics. Both of these can then inform the agenda and practice of research. These new research endeavours are intended to improve the local community, the larger city, and the even greater industry altogether. The Allen Cultural Village hopes to become an instigator for change by harnessing the energy of Allen Road.

 

The death of the Allen Expressway may have signalled the end of the golden age of automobile, yet contemporary Toronto is still struggling to advance its infrastructural network and technologies. Perhaps the first piece of research the Village can engage in is the accommodation and transfiguration of deteriorating infrastructure, namely Allen Road. Future topics can include the larger Toronto congestion issue, reclamation of highway off-ramp sites, and others. The building is a petri dish for research, and Allen Road is its specimen.

 

The aspiration of Allenville is to engage the community to the presence and energies of Allen Road. Although this incomplete expressway may have been a disturbance, the new architecture, in the form of an artisan village, will offer platforms to exonerate, embrace, and enhance this constraint into an irreplaceable community asset.

 

 

Sketch Models Explorations

 

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 1: the Spectacle

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 2: the Spiral

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 3: the Bears

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 4: the Heart

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 5: the Island

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Allenville, 2015
Allenville, 2015

Probe 6: the Village

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