Toronto || Canada Ontario
The late Prof. Will Alsop’s practice, aLL Design, in collaboration with The Spadina Group Associates (TSGA), a joint venture of IBI Group, LEA Consulting and WSP, designed and completed Pioneer Village. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Project will provide a critical extension for the existing Toronto Transit Commission subway system across the municipal boundary between the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York.
Pioneer Village station straddles the border of York Region, beneath the intersection of Steeles Avenue West and Northwest Gate, anchoring a corner of York University Campus. The station will serve as an integrated regional transport hub serving up to 20.000 subway passenger trips daily, providing 1.881 commuter parking spaces and two separate regional bus terminals. The location is otherwise underdeveloped and it is intended that the station entrances and bus terminals will create a public focal point that will serve the future development of the surrounding area, beginning with Steeles Avenue West.
The subway station’s entrances were designed as a pair of sculptural structures; their height exceeding that necessary, to increase their visibility – “We learn a lot from cathedrals” said Will Alsop. Rendered in weathering steel, these two structures mirror each other in shape and scale. The bus station canopy – also Corten steel – has a huge cantilevered roof, the surface of which is planted with meadow grasses, to create a “green-roof” and to provide shelter for waiting passengers. Pioneer Village comprises beautifully executed concrete work – the interior walls are faceted, highly-polished concrete and the supporting columns along the length of the platforms are angled and ovoid in section.
LightSpell, designed by realities:united, is a “super sculpture”; a hybrid between art and the lighting of the subway station. The interactive installation consists of a suspended array of 40 light elements that run along the ceiling throughout the station. Each element produces the alphabet; special characters and numerals, enabling passengers to send messages that appear on the display. Pioneer Village station incorporates cool and green roofs, short-term bicycle parking spaces and water and energy efficient fixtures and systems.
Of Pioneer Village, Will Alsop said, "I have to assume that on one of those really cold, miserable January mornings…there will be people down there travelling to a job that they'd probably rather not do. What I want them to feel is a little bit of cheer, a little bit of joy”.
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Completion Date: 2017
Client: Toronto Transit Commission
Gross Floor Area: 16.200 m²
Costs: 109.675.500 Euros
Architect: aLL Design, The Spadina Group Associates (Joint Venture: IBI Group, LEA Consulting, WSP)
Civil and Structural: LEA Consulting
Structural: WSP (Halsall Associates)
MEP: HH Angus & Associates
Landscape Design: Janet Rosenberg & Studio
Artists: Bruce McLean, realities:united
Photography: © Wade Zimmerman