DESIGN OF DISTINCTION - Congratulations to The Braided Strands

Discussion in 'Pedestrian Bridge Design Charette' started by 3Dementia, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. 3Dementia

    3Dementia Senior Member

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    DESIGN OF DISTINCTION - Congratulations to The Braided Strands

    Design submitted by: Office for Responsive Environments


    .... more to come.......
     
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  2. marcus_a_j

    marcus_a_j Senior Member

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    Final Scores

    The final scores from the public polls (50%) and jury scores (50%). Each score is out of 20 based on the average scores from the public polls, plus the average score from the Jury.

    1st - Submission 16 (17.9)
    2nd - Submission 14 (17.6)
    3rd - Submission 6 (14.8)
    4th - Submission 15 (14.4)
    5th - Submission 12 (14.1)
    6th - Submission 11 (13.9)
    7th - Submission 13 (13.1)
    8th - Submission 5 (12.8)
    9th - Submission 8 (12.1)
    10th - Submission 9 (12.0)
    11th - Submission 1 (10.7)
    12th - Submission 10 (10.6)
    13th - Submission 3 (8.8)
    14th - Submission 2 (8.3)
    15th - Submission 7 (6.7)
    16th - Submission 4 (incomplete)

    Comments from Jury

    Submission 16


    -- This design was the richest for me; I loved the braided theme and its implementation. Not sure about the protruding tower with horizonal panels –the ratio of its height to the bridge seems a bit awkward to me. One of the only designs that I felt truly considered the quality of the public realm contribution from both the user and viewer perspectives. Functionally, I also liked that it had sheltered and wide open use options. --

    -- Excellent concept, this design works at many different levels and would make a very strong statement about the future of the waterfront district. Visually it’s very distinctive and nicely compliments the surrounding concrete structures and the train tracks below. The tower doesn’t overwhelm the bridge itself, but it does serve as a visible focal point that could become a notable landmark. The bridge addresses a need to address both pedestrians and cyclists in a very thoughtful manner. Also the multi-level entries allow people to experience the bridge at different levels. I also like the creation of a sense of place along the bridge making it a destination for locals and tourists alike. Hanging out on the bridge and being entertained while the trains pass below would remind people of Toronto’s past as they take in the skyline that represents the city’s future.--

    -- A real winner! Well thought out in many important ways. I love the historic reference to “Player’s picturesque bridge over the Don.†And the references are used so well to create a new “picturesque†bridge for Toronto. It’s interesting that this is one of the few schemes that actually shows the condition where the bridge relates to the community to the north and how people actually access the bridge. Few of the schemes actually look at the bridge as an urban design element – this one does. Most of the schemes seemed dropped in.
    For me this has it all in terms of a design scheme – elegant structure, an iconic element (tower), multiple layers of meaning (I like the braided strands idea), interesting use of different materials and forms, real understanding of how a pedestrian bridge can become a place rather than just a passageway, and a beautiful and information rich presentation. The creation of scenarios in the description is a brilliant touch.
    This is what this project needs (City of Toronto are you listening? Do you care?)– designers who think about and imagine how the pedestrian bridge will be used by real people, not just how it will respond to GO Transit’s arbitrary demands. We need designer who recognize and respond to the realities of the parameters and program but also use them to inspire creativity rather than as excuses for banality and ugliness. This is what great design is about – solving the practical problems and elevating the mundane to something poetic that can add beauty, usefulness and experiences to - rather than detract from - the urban landscape.
    --

    Submission 14


    -- This project is beautiful, graceful and intelligent. The experience of the distorted geometry and dynamic pattern emphasizes the design concept that one does not go over the bridge but rather goes through the bridge. The playful tension, the asymmetry, the pulling, twisting and turning are exactly what Toronto needs on this marquee site. --

    -- Beautiful, poetic and functional! This would become an icon for Toronto. I imagine that the need for a barrier could be accommodated in the form without sacrificing the transparency. The undulating form contrasts to the surrounding development to the south and the more historic architecture in the Wellington Place Neighbourhood. Well presented. Well thought out in terms of requirements and construction. Well done! --

    -- Fabulous Eye-catching, Airy, Organic Design. The curve from the bridge to the Front Street ramp deserves special commendation - great for cyclists. --

    Submission 6

    -- Very sleek and distinctive. The subtle curve adds character to the appearance. A suspension bridge would be a very welcome addition to the area. --

    -- Sculptural; Visually appealing curves; attractive windscreen; multi-use --
     
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  3. andomano

    andomano Active Member

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    So what happens now?
     
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  4. kEiThZ

    kEiThZ Senior Member

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    Now, what can be done to get the city to actually build this fine work of ar(chitecture)t?
     
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  5. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

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    We could gather all the UT'ers and build it ourselves. ;)
     
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  6. AKS

    AKS Senior Member

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    I don't think GO transit would approve of the design. It would probably be rejected, due to the fact, it's not completely enclosed. People can throw things at the oncoming trains or onto the railway.
     
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  7. marcus_a_j

    marcus_a_j Senior Member

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    GO's reasoning for an enclosed bridge is way overblown. I can understand where they are coming from, but I don't think it should hold this bridge hostage. How many pedestrian and road bridges are enclosed over the rail corridor? I can think of one, the Skywalk. Will the new Strachan bridge, aka Superbridge, have enclosed sidewalks?



    Congratulations again to O.R.E. I love how the design uses different surface materials to facilitate cycling and walking. I really like how an area has been created to allow for mini public performances, although I question how often someone would set up their cello to play music when there are dozens of loud trains passing underneath each hour. It would be a good location for someone with a Dickie-Dee cart to sell ice cream during the summer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
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  8. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Congratulations! It is a grand entry worthy of winning the competition.
     
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  9. MetroMan

    MetroMan Senior Member

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    While I think the best, most functional and most beautiful design won... I hate to be the party pooper and the one to break the congratulatory mood but I wonder what happened to the guidelines as this submission meets none of them:

    a) I interpret "NO disruption of rail service" as a requirement that the bridge be mostly pre-fab, assembled on site and hoisted over the span. This design precludes that. The enclosed part could be pre-fabricated but the complexity of this design would require closing down part or whole of the rail corridor for long periods, even if just to build a temporary protective wooden deck (which would be complex on its own).

    b) The $10M budget constraint: This bridge could not be built for that price. In fact, there are 3 bridges. Perhaps one of them (the enclosed part) with the central pilar could be built within the budget, but this whole project definitely seems to be well over $10M.

    c) Most of the bridge is open to the elements, thus not meeting rule ii and, as mentioned by AKS, GO would not approve because it doesn't meet its guidelines.

    I'd love to hear from the designers regarding these points and from the judges as to why the rules weren't followed when considering the winner.

    That all said, of all the submissions, I would love for this one to be built. If not here, somewhere else along the rail corridor (Fort York is studying proposals).
     
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  10. marcus_a_j

    marcus_a_j Senior Member

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    Hi MetroMan,

    Your points regarding the rules do have some merit. The design by O.R.E. is partially enclosed therefore meeting one of the criteria you highlighted. Maybe that's a matter of interpretation. I cannot say whether or not it could be built for $10 million. It does have a number of elements that could significantly increase the costs and push it over the limit. Should the design be built and have a hard cap at $10 million then there may be places where it would have to be scaled back and lose some features. I will welcome the designers input into the costs, and the construction methods.

    I don't want to say the rules are mere guidelines, but let's be honest, this was not a government issued RFP with a set budget approved by Council or whoever. Even still, many winning proposals do go over the allocated budget. What we wanted to do was to stir up the imagination of what could be possible, and more importantly gather attention to what many believe will be a lackluster design and inevitably get a better designed bridge. Everyone can agree that many of the designs are quite impressive and unique, and we are all very appreciative of the efforts that the desigers made to come up with such wonderful pieces of infrastructure. You even said yourself that the bridge would be awesome to have somewhere.

    Funny though that you mentioned the Fort York proposal and rules in the same post. In your submission you used an image of the Fort York proposal by Du toit Allsopp Hillier without giving proper credit. If that was done for an assignement in university, you would receive at the bare minimum a zero, but more likely some disciplinary action. It happened to someone in my Urban Design class and it was not pretty. I understand it was your intent to use the image as an example of your vision, one that I liked very much with how you incorporated the parking lot on the north side of Front St. It is just unfair to O.R.E. and all the other designers that you quote the rules when you yourself committed what some believe is a more serious offense.
     
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  11. AKS

    AKS Senior Member

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    I'm not sure if everyone here is aware of the issue with the bridge even back 2 years ago. The city and City Place were having headaches trying to build the bridge because GO kept banning all their proposals. Hence it was never completed. According to agreement with City Place and the city. City Place was suppose to finish building the bridge before West One and N building could close. However there was a huge delay with W1 and N closing because the bridge wasn't built. Residents complained to the city and finally, city decided to give CP extension. So now, the bridge has to be completed before Parade closes. The city tried to work between CP and GO to come to agreement, but GO was giving all sorts of excuses to ban ideas for bridges that CP came up with. It has to be covered so people can't throw things over the tracks. And it has to be built at another location and installed in a short period of time, so GO operations won't be disrupted. So this bridge won't be any different. If GO bans this bridge, it's a no go.
     
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  12. MetroMan

    MetroMan Senior Member

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    Marcus, I mentioned Fort York very purposely. I always have -- indeed within my own proposal -- as its method of construction is what inspired my own proposal. To be fair, I did place a legend below the image you mention stating that it was for structural demonstration only. I guess I didn't follow the correct procedure of quoting the original artist, and for that I apologize. Lesson learned. :)

    As for skipping over the rules, I guess UT did call them Guidelines and not rules. Guidelines can be construed as suggestions.

    I interpreted them as "Rules" which is why my proposal suggested the Fort York example as a method of building the bridge cheaply and with little to no disruption of rail service. I even went as far as detailing the method of construction to avoid disruptions. The design also encloses the bridge from interference with the track/trains below. I left the beautification of the bridge to the best cheap:beauty ratio of exterior envelope/cladding available: Nature. I made a very conscious effort to follow the guidelines, thinking they were strict rules.

    That all said, I'm perfectly aware that this was a "fun" activity meant to stir some thoughts and get the word out and keep CityPlace, Adam Vaughan and the city in check with what they build here.

    Congratulations to UT and the organizers of the Charette because it did get at the very least Adam Vaughan's attention and had him put in writing that we won't get a box truss bridge.

    I was very impressed with many of the proposals and hope that O.R.E. strongly considers proposing this bridge to future RFPs. I think the tremendous work put into it shouldn't be in vain and hope that scenarios appear where they could put forward the Braided Strands (in Toronto preferably).
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
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  13. syn

    syn Senior Member

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    These are all good points. When I looked at these proposals I tried to evaluate them from a practical perspective, rather than just going with the ones I thought looked the best.

    For future competitions, I think guidelines should be more strictly enforced - it will help the credibility of the endeavour and should make it easier for us to get the attention of the people we want.

    If guidelines/rules are not adhered to, it makes it far to easy for politicians and builders to dismiss it all.

    That said, I think this first charette should be considered a success.
     
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  14. 3Dementia

    3Dementia Senior Member

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    I think the charette shone a light on whether or not this forum membership could become a legitimate voice to influence urban design in Toronto.

    The short answer is... not a chance. The lack of support for the charette, from the first call for help which yielded nothing, to the handful of members who actually bothered to comment on the submissions... speaks to what a collection of opinionated spectators this place will always be.

    The designers should be applauded for their efforts, and the tiny volunteer working group (who committed many, many hours to this first attempt to rally some support) remained committed to the charette for months.

    The handful of members who managed to offer a few words of comment and the hundred or so who worked up enough steam to click a vote button, was beyond disappointing given the collective hundreds of hours put forth.

    Even the forum's own moderators couldn't be bothered to contribute a couple of words. I'd rate the member performance about a 1.8 out of 10.
     
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  15. MetroMan

    MetroMan Senior Member

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    Well, in the end we did get some great ideas out and as I mentioned already before, this charette managed to ruffle Adam Vaughan's feathers and to have him comment, in writing that we're not getting a truss bridge.

    If in fact we do get one, we can hold him to his comments and display him as a liar. In that sense, the charette was a great success.
     
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