The raw treatment

Friday 03 Sep 2010

Pierre Poussin's Mitosis Courtyard installation to save Gardiner Expressway

The Gardiner Expressway in Toronto has been a bone of contention for some years. The City of Toronto has discussed the possibility of removing the expressway and beautifying the waterfront and public space surrounding it but in spite of this there has been no progress to date. Artist Pierre Poussin has decided to take the initiative and, instead of joining the rally to get rid of the Gardiner, has created developments that utilise the neglected expressway.

Now complete, raw design's Panorama Tower is the latest in a series of developments in the area, by developers Concord Adex, collectively known as CityPlace. The location of Panorama gave architect Roland Rom Colthoff, formerly of Quadrangle Architects, the impetus to revamp the dead space under the expressway into a large outdoor vestibule for residents. This is the first building to use the space beneath the Gardiner as an urban room and currently features light installations by public artist Pierre Poussin. The design aims to incorporate the Gardiner as a fluid part of the city’s design for the future.

The biological cell motif serves as an abstract expression of the city’s constant state of growth and movement, complementing its waterfront location and paying tribute to the city’s 1900 shoreline, which once spanned this current space. The courtyard is comprised of a series of laser-cut light columns, ranging in heights from 6ft-14ft tall, large public benches with incorporated LED lighting systems and organic hand-outlined ground shapes highlighted by vibrant and colourful asphalt traffic paint.

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