A billion-dollar plan to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront is moving forward, Mayor John Tory announced
Toronto tendrà nueva isla en la desembocadura del río Don
Un plan de mil millones de dólares para revitalizar la línea de costa de Toronto se está moviendo. El alcalde John Tory anunció el 14 de julio de 2015 que transformaría Port Lands, creando miles de nuevos puestos de trabajo y nuevas viviendas econòmicas.
Pero primero la zona debe ser protegida de las inundaciones y los estudios y evaluaciones ambientales son el primer paso para el ambicioso proyecto..
Actualmente, 715 acres (unas 290 hectàreas), incluyendo partes del sur de Riverdale y Leslieville, corren el riesgo de inundaciones.
El alcalde John Tory anunció $ 5 millones para financiar los estudios y evaluaciones, diciendo que son el "siguiente paso necesario" en un proyecto que será financiado por los tres niveles de gobierno. "Creo que esta nueva etapa va a transformar la ciudad", dijo el alcalde.
El plan busca "tomar tierra subutilizada y transformarlas en un activo valioso para la vida de la ciudad," subrayó Tory, diciendo que "liberarà el potencial ambiental y económico de estas tierras."
Se espera que los estudios concluyan antes de noviembre, y la construcción del proyecto comience en 2017.
Los planes finales incluyen una nueva isla urbana que se crearía en la desembocadura del río Don, cerca de Cherry Street y Lake Shore Boulevard East.
La nueva isla urbana se llamarà Villers Island y ayudaría a desviar el agua, ofreciendo protección frente a posibles inundaciones.
La zona se ha visto reurbanizada masivamente en los últimos años, al impulso de la creación de la Villa de los Atletas de los Juegos Panamericanos y Parapanamericanos 2015. Esos edificios, parte del Distrito Canary, se convertirán en condominios. El proyecto también incluye viviendas asequibles, y residencias para los estudiantes de George Brown, proyecto de YMCA.
The 21st century is the Era of Ecology, according to James Wines of SITE a long-time proponent of ecologically-driven architecture, who says “the era of monument-building is coming to a close,” and with it ends the architect's pole position. “Architects who want to build a sculpture in the middle of space live in an antiquated world of endless resources,” he said. “Urban agriculture is the way forward. You can turn a place around based on a vegetated environment.”
COURTESY MVVA [CLICK TO ENLARGE.]
As designers across the profession are increasingly faced with challenges that don't have a precedent and don’t correspond to traditional disciplinary boundaries, such as rising water levels, post-industrial cityscapes, waste, and a crippled climate, practices are repackaging and restructuring themselves in response. But the prospect of another professional group— particularly landscape architects—ascending to a decision-making role in the built environment still makes some squirm.
In a Wall Street Journal interview earlier this year, British architect Will Alsop accused landscape architecture of institutionalizing public space. And last fall at a New Urbanism symposium in New Orleans, the constant pot-stirrer Andres Duany announced in a provocation that quickly exploded on the blogosphere, “It’s not cool to be an architect. It’s cool to be a landscape architect. That’s the next cool thing.”
Deborah Marton, executive director at Design Trust for Public Space, believes it's a substantive shift rather than a trend. “It is about professional maturity,” said Marton, who believes the hierarchical structure of traditional design practice is redundant. “Each discipline brings something to a project...it should be about which team is working well together and doing the best job of seeing the whole picture.”
Indeed, the rise of landscape urbanism hasn't escaped public interest with interviews and articles in the national papers as well as on blogs. This kind of attention has propelled it from an academic discussion into a wider discourse, which, says Marton, is important to changing the very structure of design practice and ultimately municipal authority processes as well. Though the change is slow, there are solid examples of it happening. Philadelphia's long-awaited waterfront redesign recently shifted gears as it dropped plans for multi-story blocks and moved away from using a signature project to jump-start the city's master plan. Instead, the massive plan focuses on a string of parks as a stimulus for continued development.
Landscape architect James Corner of Field Operations is fitting his practice to the new mold. And while he had to struggle to get credit from architects on the immensely popular re-imagining of the High Line in New York, he is now leading a $569 million project to reconnect Seattle to Elliott Bay and create nine acres of new public space, a kind of prototypical antidote to the narrow commercialized waterfronts so common to many other U.S. cities. “There is a desperate need for a different kind of professional who is capable of seeing a bigger picture and choreographing a bigger team,” Corner told Metropolis in 2008.
Meanwhile at the GSD, Waldheim's newly appointed staff in the Landscape Architecture department is dedicated to building a trans-disciplinary faculty including ARO architect Cassell, who will be teaching this year alongside Susannah Drake of dlandstudio.
COURTESY ARO/DLANDSTUDIO [CLICK TO ENLARGE.]
Cassell and Drake have partnered before at the “Rising Currents” exhibition last year at the Museum of Modern Art. That path-breaking exhibition challenged architects to respond to an environmental catastrophe and called for “soft” infrastructures and ecological design solutions, bringing architects and specialists in ecological design together in close and productive collaborative efforts that attracted the close attention of developers and city officials alike.
For his Rising Currents project, Eric Bunge of nArchitects composed his team of designers with various skill sets including Mathur/da Cunha as water specialist. Like the other collaborative teams that were formed for the exhibition, his suggests that in the future it won’t take a constructed disaster scenario to make architects realize the value of landscape designers.
Bunge said that he still sees landscape architecture and architecture as having different trajectories that need one another at points in the design process. But whether or not they are complete equals on the job, Bunge possibly speaks for many architects today when he said, “It is too early to say.”
Gwen Webber is an architectural critic and writer for Blueprint. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in architectural history and theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London.