Burst of ingenuity in student contest

26 Apr 2011

Semi-permenant sports bubble inspired by namesake of Ontarian capital

On July 10th, 2015, the Pan American Games will take place in Toronto. For two weeks, the Pan American Village, located in Toronto’s waterfront district, will serve as a central hub of sports, celebration and international friendship. Located on the site of the Pan American Village, the Awards Ceremony Pavilion will literally and figuratively be the stage by which the world views the success of the athletes and the host country.

This semi-permanent structure will function as a multi-purpose platform during the Games and must remain flexible for future uses post-Games, such as an outdoor theatre, a musical performance stage and social gathering spot. In developing an efficient and creatively designed facility, the Pavilion will serve as an icon for Toronto and the Games.

Winning architects in a student competition for the scheme Manuel Gross, Patrik Staub, Yannick Vorberg and Stefan Vetsch located their design at the Lower Don Lands right next to the Victory Soya Mills Si¬los. This area is separated from the city by the railways, the Gardiner Expressway and the Lake Shore Boulevard. The selection of the waterfront as the Pavilion site is very sustainable for an urban environment, and the concept has been designed to bridge the physical and psychological barrier of these transport axes. The Pavilion becomes a starting point for the further development of the Lower Don Lands.

The design is inspired by the Name of Toronto, originally tkaronto, which means ‘place where trees stand at the water’ or ‘meeting place’. The architecture team really liked the idea of a meeting place created through a couple of trees, and the final Pavilion design works simply through this concept. A huge ‘balloon-roof’ creates an interesting and protecting place, where people can meet, relax or entertain themselves. Under the roof there are some boxes, which contain the different programmes. Their form is inspired by the image of supported logs in the wood.

The Victory Soya Mills Silos connect the site visually with the city - projections on the silos lead the people to the site. The bar on top of the silos attracts people, even after the games. This sustainable intervention supports the further development of the waterfront. We reevaluate the underpasses of the railways with the same balloon structure of the pavilion. Also we reevaluate the Queens Quai, our main bike and pedestrian path, with ‘balloon trees’.

It was requested to use the sustainable material vinyl. Therefore the structure of the Pavilion consists of standard, vinyl based and helium filled weather balloons, supporting a PVC PES membrane. A PVC net holds everything together. Wire ropes with a PVC coating anchor the construction to the ground. The Helium and the weather balloons are reusable, therefore the construction is very sustainable.

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