A Tangram in Grey: Pedway in Toronto
Client: GWL Realty Corp, BCIMC
Concept: Jennifer Marman und Daniel Borins mit James Khamsi/FIRM a.d.
Architect: Page + Steele/ IBI Group Toronto, Mansoor Kazerouni
Structural Engineer: CH2M Hill
Light Design: Mulvey & Banani Lighting Design
Building Firm: Ellis Don
The South Core district is in central Toronto, near the shore of Lake Ontario. The area was unused for many years: the land belonged to the national railway company and was cut off from the centre by the railway lines of Union Station, Toronto’s largest train station.
Those days are over. Real-estate investors have taken an interest in South Core; over the past five years, several high-rise office buildings and a hotel have been erected. As a connection between the hotel and neighbouring Convention Centre, artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins collaborated with New York architect James Khamsi to create the SFC Bridge. This pedway acts as an extension of the Skywalk, which was built in 1989 to connect the Convention Centre to the downtown area just beyond the train tracks.
Dark aluminum sheeting winds itself in a zigzag around the pedway, like a larger-than-life ribbon adorning a present. The arrangement of the sheets corresponds almost exactly to the steel framework that can still be seen inside the bridge. By all appearances behind the black aluminum band, but actually on the same level, the more regular horizontal structure of the glazing can be seen. Its design was inspired by the shell of the older Skywalk.
The spatial impression inside the SFC Bridge, however, is completely different from that of Skywalk. Here the designers added a third, irregular layer to the overall look. The insides of the opaque exterior walls have been painted in shades of grey with a pattern designed using a computer. This arresting pattern winds its way around the steel framework and the triangular window apertures.