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Submission 12: Mackenzie Keast - arch bridge "promenade"

How would you rate Submission 12 out of ten?

  • 10

    Votes: 19 17.0%
  • 9

    Votes: 28 25.0%
  • 8

    Votes: 13 11.6%
  • 7

    Votes: 19 17.0%
  • 6

    Votes: 8 7.1%
  • 5

    Votes: 13 11.6%
  • 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 4 3.6%
  • 2

    Votes: 4 3.6%
  • 1

    Votes: 4 3.6%

  • Total voters
    112

3Dementia

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#1
Designer: Mackenzie Keast

Bridge Type: Arch bridge

Project Description: see below

Poll: attached

Images: attached


DESCRIPTION

Utilizing traditional architectural methods and materials, this bridge offers Torontonians a timeless design that eloquently respects it's historical context, while contrasting with the ultra-modernism of the new residential development to its south.

It is composed of brick and concrete, as well as stone on the detailing where it is cost effective. One side is lined with lampposts, while the other trees. Benches should be added under the trees as more users are generated. Between the trees, statues should be commissioned by local artists and places on pedestals to allow them to be viewed for a distance. Various important figures from around the neighbourhood and surrounding community can be enshrined in this way, as can important events.

It’s simplicity and elegance allows for the most important component of the design, the life generated along the bridge. Food vendors, artists, musicians, all should be encouraged so as to make the bridge not only an enjoyable experience to cross, but a place to come in and of itself.


"I know that my ideas are sometimes portrayed as old-fashioned. Well, they may be. But what I am concerned about are the things that are timeless regardless of the age that we live in. Also I have been around long enough to see what were at the time thought of as old-fashioned ideas now come into vogue."
- The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales


IMAGES











 

Solaris

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Jun 22, 2008
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#3
very classic looking ... but it seems out of place ... I imagine this fitting in better in an European city somewhere crossing a river (not a railway)
 

kEiThZ

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#4
Like the design. Don't like the brick colour that much. Still a 10 for an awesome concept.
 

3Dementia

Senior Member
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Apr 24, 2007
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#5
Love the sense of "permanence" of this design. So many of our utilitarian bridges seem disposable even if they are functional. This is much more than a minimalist link driven soley by development agreements. It's a genuine new stitch in the downtown fabric. A destination that conquers the rail canyon.
 

TheProfessor

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Apr 29, 2008
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#6
Easily one of the nicest submissions so far. I agree with the other poster who mentioned this looks like it belongs in a European city, and that's potentially what I like most about it.

Very nice work.
 

TylerBrown

New Member
Joined
May 22, 2009
Messages
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Likes
0
#7
Classy but not original

I appreciate the proposal but why create such a common bridge among thousands of others just like it? The deck is very inviting I must say but the structure is and looks like it was taken from any one of the many arch bridges of the past.

The boulevard concept is very interesting with trees, street lamps, and benches. I do like that concept.

A more original structure would make the proposal so much stronger
 

insertrealname

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
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5
#8
I'm not sure if this particular bridge location can attract the kinds of multiple uses proposed. Will people actually slow down and relax above an active railway corridor?

Getting more trees and vegetation into the downtown core is vital, but any tree is going to have to be exceptionally hardy to survive such an exposed position (winds from the lake and NW, and I doubt that there will be an automatic, moisture triggered watering system on a bridge).

And I wonder if the quality of brick and brick construction today is up to the demands of public infrastructure that should last 30-50 years without significant maintenance costs?

Still, the design does look like a piece of handsome, solid public infrastructure: it wouldn't be yet another "carbuncle on the face of a dearly loved" Toronto, as Prince Charles might say. Bravo!
 

MetroMan

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Apr 22, 2007
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Toronto
#9
I like it. It's very inviting and would suit the park it leads to.

However, to be technical, it would require some sort of iron cast fence to suit the requirements that it be "suicide proof".
 
Joined
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#10
#12-older style arch bridge...nice!

Everyone: I like this design also-the walkway may be too cluttered up above,though.
This bridge reminds me of older Long Island Parkway bridges in its design and I feel that the arched sides would look quite good with cut stone walls even better then brick.
There are closer examples to Toronto of bridges with this type of construction such as some on the Lake Ontario State Parkway near Rochester and some road overpasses in Niagara constructed this way.
Thoughts from LI MIKE
 

MKeast

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Jun 2, 2009
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#12
Thanks everyone for your comments on my submission!

@Edward: I don't know if I like being compared to Robert Moses, but he did come from an architectural era in which I think North America had the best sense of its own architecture. The pre-modern Art Deco style was such a successful aesthetic that was truly a unique for Canada/US, but remains tasteful and timeless in its design. The concrete pillars at the bridge's pier were definitely a nod to this.

@Long Island Mike: Thanks for your comments. For the cluttering you describe, I feel that pedestrian-related clutter is clutter that both encourages more pedestrian activity, and is visually interesting; no one likes empty places. As for stone, a stone trim along the arch would be a nice addition to this design.

@MetroMan: Thanks, and yes, the walls along the bridge are too short for someone not to hoist themselves up and jump off. A cast iron fence may not detract too much from the elegance of simple brick walls, so it is definitely an option.

@insertrealname: The location as it is probably would not attract the amount of use I envision in those renderings. However, increased condo development on the south side and gentrification and increased retail activity on the north side should sufficiently draw users along it. By providing pedestrian amenities along its span, over time, it will become a destination unto itself.

As for the trees, they should be able to function just as any other street trees do in Toronto. The trees are essential here; bleakness of rail on either side and stale condo urbanism on the south end make it important to provide this kind of an honest, pedestrian environment with vegetative shelter.

As for the durability of brick and concrete, both are very good of withstanding the impacts of time and weathering. Glass, on the other hand, is not.

@TylerBrown: I agree it is too plain its design. I am not an architect, I am an urban design student. So what I was focusing on here was how a bridge doesn't have to only be a sculptural piece of infrastructural art lacking use along it's span; a bridge can invoke timeless architecture, and can become a place within itself that pedestrians want to go to, not simply walk across.

As such, this design is by no means a complete one; my vision would be for a traditional architect to improve the detailing on the bridge within its means, and to work with traditional craftsmen on its construction.

@TheProfessor: Thank you, and I know the comparison to European bridges is an easy one. But 100 years ago, prior to Modernism's destructive dissemination of Toronto's original built form, the city would have been undistinguishable from an industrial British city. Our current modernist dogma of NEW and DIFFERENT and ORIGINAL too easily shuns extending architectural traditions of the past. We spent 2000 years developing architecture from Greece to the early 1900's, and in that time eternal principles of design remained. That history was bluntly cast aside quite brutally a mere 60 odd years ago.

@3Dementia: Thank you, I agree that permanence is something that is quite overlooked in today's world. When we build something, we should not simply be concerned with how it will affect us, but the generations of city-dwellers that will come later.

@kEiThZ: Thanks! And I agree about the brick, unfortunately SketchUp has some of the ugliest brick materials one can find.

@Solaris: Thank you, and see above comments to TheProfessor. I wish Toronto did have a river running through downtown, though!

@CityPlaceN1: Thanks!
 

ProjectEnd

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#13
Here's some precedent for you...only the trains are on the wrong side (top).



Maidenhead Railway Bridge (Brunel)
 
Last edited:
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#14
Great concept, wrong location.

Also, I don't really like the light red brick on the sides - it'd probably end up looking too cheap and "suburban", something like one of those faux-Victorian townhouses that have been built all of the place in past 20 or so years. Something more contemporary and elegant like the black brick of the Four Seasons Centre would be preferable. Still, I'd LOVE to see this on the waterfront or something. Bridge to the island maybe?
 
Last edited:

marcus_a_j

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Apr 23, 2007
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#15
I think the design is great. It contrasts nicely against the glass and concrete at CityPlace, and yet is a stone's throw away from Draper Street, consisting of some of the City's oldest and nicest brick dwellings.

The light red brick will not remain like that for too long with all the diesel trains passing underneath.