Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Station, the terminal station of the Toronto York-Spadina Subway Extension was completed and opened to the public in December 2017. This exciting addition to Toronto’s Line 1 offers a memorable commuter experience that’s also responsive to the emerging urban centre in the City of Vaughan. Connecting riders to downtown Toronto and points beyond, the new station creates new connectivity and increased transit options for a fast-growing part of the region. Working under Arup, Prime Consultant, and alongside Architect of Record Adamson Associates and artist Paul Raff, Grimshaw has developed a unique design that’s both artful and functional.
Working with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), City of Vaughan, and other stakeholders to develop an appropriate plan, the VMC station was conceived as a transit mobility hub and precursor to expanding mixed-use development at the site. Grimshaw was challenged to imagine a new city around the station and create an iconic head house that would become a focal point and organizing element. The station is an important link for residents, creating connectivity and offering transportation alternatives across a rapidly growing region.
The subway operates over three levels – platform, concourse, and the at‐grade entrance building sited within a north‐south linear park that defines a key axis within the new city. The entrance pavilion responds to the future park and envisioned urban circumstances with the subway providing maximum voids for daylight and views down to both concourse and platform levels.
The design of the station is underpinned by a desire to bring daylight deep inside and provide intuitive routes into and out of the airy headhouse structure. To achieve this, a dramatic X-shaped bridge at street level connects the building’s four corners, creating voids that reveal glimpses of the platform and trains below. Routes to the stairs, elevators and fare gates beyond are easily discerned from every entry, eliminating bottlenecks while taking advantage of clear sight lines across the station and through glazed portions of the exterior. Beyond convenience and ease of use, the geometry and transparency creates a safer, more secure transit environment. Space earmarked for future retail opportunities will bring additional amenities to the station.
A brilliant installation by artist Paul Raff soars across the station’s ceiling, utilizing mirrored surfaces to redirect light and create a constantly kinetic environment activated by station’s users. Capturing the drama of pulsing trains, moving passengers and changing light conditions, the collision of art and architecture creates a distinct sense of place.
“We are always looking for opportunities to create high quality places with real character,” said Juan Porral, Partner at Grimshaw. “By elevating a functional building to something artful and full of life that people will remember and enjoy, we can have a greater impact on the urban space and user experience.”
VMC is the terminal station of the six-station, 8.6km extension of Toronto’s Line 1 from its current terminus at Sheppard West Station. It is the TTC’s first subway expansion project to connect the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York.
Grimshaw was founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980. The practice became a Partnership in 2007 and operates worldwide with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Doha employing over 500 staff. Grimshaw’s international portfolio spans all major sectors, and has been honored with over 200 Design awards for its commitment to excellence and innovation.
The company’s work is characterised by strong conceptual legibility, innovation and a rigorous approach to detailing, all underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring and sustainable design.
The practice is dedicated to the deepest level of involvement in the design of its buildings in order to deliver projects which meet the highest possible standards of excellence.
Grimshaw was awarded the 2016 AJ100 International Practice of the Year Award for the firm's breadth of work around the globe.