Led by Agency and DAVID RUBIN Land Collective, Park Vert is a competition proposal submitted to Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto for a two-acre park in Downtown Toronto. Serving as both a place and a connector, Park Vert grows the renowned Toronto Waterfront toward Downtown Toronto. Our competition entry team included Toronto-based practices MEP Design (landscape), Batay-Csorba Architects, GHD Engineers and Pelican Woodcliff (costing) and global experts Applied Ecological Services (ecology), Cameron Cartiere (public art), The Gehl Institute (public life), HLB lighting, and Fluidity Design Consultants (fountains). Our team was formed to enact a humanist approach to the design of the 21st Century park.
“Park Vert” celebrates the community’s desire for a green oasis and its love of Toronto’s urban forest. The park is conceived as a series of layers that unfold for the visitor – both from the ground up and the outside in – revealing new experiences in every direction. From sky to ground, the park’s three vertical layers are:
An Immersive Green: The Urban Forest
Toronto’s urban forest serves as vital urban infrastructure, capturing water, offering summer shade, and providing critical habitat for local species. Park Vert reinforces that critical canopy, creating a diverse and layered forest within it that is planted, over time, for maximum diversity and climate resilience.
A Platform for Experience: The Tree Walk
Perhaps the most defining design element of the park is the Tree Walk, a light walkway that encircles the site, offering at once a meditative walk through the city and a series of programmed moments. The Tree Walk incrementally lifts people a level up from the busy ground plane of the city and into the realm of the tree canopy, where they can appreciate the sounds of birds and capture a long view into the serene, blue water of the Inner Harbour.
Ground Plane: The Forest Floor
The ground plane uses surface material changes to reinforce the sense of transition from the city outside, through the planted frame, into the central Clearing and arriving at the park’s water feature – the Ephemeral Fountain. While changes in surface treatment softly define spaces, customizable furniture allows flexibility throughout.
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