Diamond and Schmitt’s re-design brings Toronto’s cultural Renaissance underground
Diamond and Schmitt Architects’ innovative and dramatic redesign of the Museum Subway Station on the Toronto Transit Commission’s University Subway Line was unveiled this week. The acclaimed Canadian firm’s new design of Museum Station re-imagines the subway platform as a hypostyle Hall supported by archeologically inspired columns. With a major cultural renaissance taking place above-ground through the renovation and expansion of the Royal Ontario Museum and the George R. Gardiner Museum, the redesigned and revitalized Museum Subway station reflects this new energy and spirit underground.
Based on artefacts from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Gardiner Museum, five column designs are repeated throughout the station’s platform representing Canada’s First Nations (“The Wuikinuxv First Nation Bear House Post”), Ancient Egypt (“The Osiris Pilaster”), Mexico’s Toltec Culture (“The Toltec Warrior”), China’s traditional culture (“The Forbidden City Columns”) and Ancient Greece (“The Doric Columns”). Updated ceiling lighting and a new monolithic wall finish create a contemporary backdrop for the column designs. The new station design helps to orient subway riders to city above, providing visual clues about the activities above ground.
Diamond and Schmitt Architects also worked with the Toronto Transit Commission to streamline the way-finding and other signage in the 45-year-old station. This includes the re-design of the station’s Designated Waiting Areas, locations in the station where an intercom, map, fire extinguisher, safety procedures and a bench can be found. Benches throughout the station were also custom-designed by the architects. A dropped ceiling above the platform was removed giving a greater sense of volume to the space and new lighting fixtures accentuate the new architectural features.
The opening of the redesigned Museum Station represents the completion of the first stage in the Toronto Community Foundation’s “Arts on Track” initiative and reflects the commitment of the Foundation to the idea of beautifying and invigorating public spaces in the city.