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Submission 16: O.R.E. - "The Braided Strands"

How would rate Submission 16 out of ten?

  • 10

    Votes: 78 56.1%
  • 9

    Votes: 26 18.7%
  • 8

    Votes: 15 10.8%
  • 7

    Votes: 8 5.8%
  • 6

    Votes: 5 3.6%
  • 5

    Votes: 6 4.3%
  • 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1

    Votes: 1 0.7%

  • Total voters
    139

3Dementia

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#1
Designer: Office for Responsive Environments

About Ore: the ORE is an anonymous organization whose common purpose is to stimulate more responsive environments for the people who enjoy living in our City.

Bridge Type: Cable-stayed with Cantilevered Lookouts

Project Description: see below

Poll: attached

Images: attached

DESCRIPTION



The Braided Strands

‘I passed Playter’s picturesque bridge over the Don; it is a butternut tree fallen across the river, the branches still growing full leaf. … Mrs. Playter being timorous, a pole was fastened through the branches to hold by. Having attempted to pass it, I was determined to proceed, but was frightened before I got half way.’
Lady Elizabeth Postuma Simcoe, Diaries

The image that has endured of the original bridge across the Don River was imprinted on Toronto’s heritage by Elizabeth Postuma Simcoe. As John Graves Simcoe dispatched surveyors across York to impose the extremely rational park lot system, Lady Simcoe delineated the landscape of rivers and forests through watercolours, sketches and written descriptions. Our bridge - the Braided Strands, conceptually modeled on the first bridge recorded by Lady Simcoe – is the blurring between the artist and the surveyor, between the creative and the pragmatic.

Drawing inspiration from the Simcoe watercolour, the Braided Strands is conceptually organic. Three separate strands, delineated separately by elevation, entrance and materials, stretch tendon-like from both ‘banks’ to be gathered together at a central support. This support is a forked concrete structure that is firmly grounded in the central span, and clad in light wood screening that provides a framework for lighting and vegetation. The cable-stayed design provides structural support and is particularly suited for the Braided Strand Bridge, freeing the underside of the structure for spectacular light shows for pedestrians on the opposite landings at Front Street and Cityplace, and for the currents of commuters traveling in the trains below.

Each of the strands suggests a kind of movement by their materials – a wood boardwalk for strolling, an asphalt surface for fast wheels, and concrete for ‘middle-of-the-road’. At the same time, the bridge is not only a passage, but a significant addition to the public realm and an expression of a new pedestrian spatial practice of walking. As the strands of concrete, asphalt and wood travel concurrently across the span, they are interconnected at the central support where they collectively create a pause – to gaze down the amazing complex of railway lines, to look back towards the old city and out towards the new frontier, returning to the water.

Here, this composite whole of the strands are cantilevered out over the broad span – the place to pause, rest, take a picture, or to set up your cello for an impromptu performance for your fellow travelers. The terrific thing about a pedestrian bridge is that you can stop and look around, something a car cannot do. On this bridge, distractions are welcome – performances, public art, lighting displays, and places to sit to have a lunch break with a unique view out to the city.

Integral to the experience of the Braided Strands Bridge is their dual landings that create a further connection to the public realm and immediate urban context of street and neighbourhoods.

The Cityplace landing is slightly raised by a half-meter by steps and ramps. The threshold from bridge to Cityplace is marked by a set of dense green hedges that form gateways pointing to the new neighbourhood park and the waterfront directly ahead.

On Front Street, the required height for the bridge landing inspires a unique public response. While the three meter height of the landing here is reached by broad ramps and steps, its base is claimed by highly useful public amenities – a bike rental / parking station, public washrooms, drinking fountain and coffee bar. This landing anticipates a newly beautified Front Street boulevard and a Wellington Place neighbourhood that grows more and more as a cohesive community landscape.

As part of the original Lake Ontario shoreline, Front Street was a promontory looking out to the water; its first ‘strand’ may have been a pier – walk out, walk back in. Over time and succeeding land-filling expansions and rail infrastructure, the original ‘new’ Town of York is now the old city, with this new bridge crossing where the expanse of water has become the new frontier of Cityplace – in effect a return to the waterfront. The looping network of strands of this bridge is an expression of this vacillation of old, new, frontier, arrival and return.


One Scenario


“I see your Dad there waiting by the stairs – right next to the bike rental. Have you got your helmets ready? I’ll meet you back here at 5.”

Out of the van hopped the two boys, aged 8 and 10, running to meet their father who was just picking up the three bikes for the afternoon trek to the Waterfront.

The youngest stopped to get a drink of water, while his older brother ran into the washroom. Dad waited at the ramp, knocking back a fast espresso.

At the top of the ramp, Dad decided to walk his bike on the wood boardwalk so he could take some more pictures along the way. The two boys raced their bikes to the middle meeting spot, looping around and through the forked central support. Dad was still gazing out over the railway lost in thought, so they looped back a few times while they waited.

At the middle look-out, they mugged for the camera a few more times before splitting up three ways to meet at the garden hedges on the other side. And then they were on to the new park before they continued on to the Martin Goodman Trail.


IMAGES
















 
Last edited:

jks

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#2
This is the absolute best submission that is actually very doable. It very much fits in with the neighbourhood, but not in a boring way lol.
 

3Dementia

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#4
Pretty extraordinary effort... one of a kind, welcoming, so many textures.

Since ORE is an anonymous organization... perhaps this is the Concord Cityplace versioning of the announced box truss that we had hoped to de-rail.

;-)
 

SpadinaBus

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#5
Since ORE is an anonymous organization... perhaps this is the Concord Cityplace versioning of the announced box truss that we had hoped to de-rail.

;-)
I assure everyone that the ORE has absolutely nothing to do with Concord.
SpadinaBus
ORE Member
 

MetroMan

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#6
One could hope 3D :)

One element I think was missing in the requirements are the budget constraints. CityPlace is required to build a pedestrian bridge. They will probably take the cheapest route.

The wooden textures and the tri-bridge braid adds a lot of complexity to this design, making it look expensive. However, figuring that the main principal is that there is one pillar tower supporting the bridge tables, this could actually turn out to be priced within reason.

The West8 wavedecks look expensive; yet, they're actually affordable and as we've seen, relatively easy to implement.

Does ORE have an estimated cost for this bridge design?
 

Irishmonk

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Hanoi, VN
#7
Outstanding! 10/10 in both artistic and technical categories. If built, I believe this would be a serious contender for some top national architecture prizes. Seriously, it's that good.
 
Joined
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#8
Braided Strands-one elaborate bridge!

3D and everyone: This is a bridge that may be an attraction in itself for this location with all that it offers with even a outside deck that would be trainspotter and railfan friendly. I like the ramp design also!
LI MIKE
 

3Dementia

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#9
One element I think was missing in the requirements are the budget constraints.
Actually the maximum budget proposed in the charette guidelines is $10 million. This obviously assumes other public and private contributions.

Concord has informally estimated their box truss will cost $2.5 million.
 
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#12
I'm giving it a 9. The support tower, to me, seems a little out of place. I don't know if it's the scale of it vs. the bridge, the design of it, or something else. I just find that it sticks out a little to much.
 
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#14
One question. Would it be possible for the asphalt and wood parts to cross over each other, so that what ever started on the West on one side winds up on the East on the other side and vice versa. It would make the strand motif more pronounced IMO.
 

SP!RE

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#15
I have travelled thoroughly and seen all sorts of bridges and... oh man.... this is the most beautiful bridge I have ever seen.

AHHH. So beautiful and it makes such strong statements. It really speaks to me.

10/10.