OCAD University

OCAD student designs transform desolate

public space at 52 Division

(Toronto — March 15, 2010) In an exhibition opening at Toronto City Hall next week, Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) students present their visions to revitalize one of the city’s major pedestrian thoroughfares, the plaza in front of Toronto Police Service 52 Division, on Dundas Street between St. Patrick and Simcoe Streets.

Reassembly Required is the result of OCAD’s annual Design Competition, where students were given approximately 97 hours — from the Thursday afternoon until the Monday evening (January 21 to 25, 2010) — to research, conceptualize and construct their solutions to a given challenge.

“Many students tell us that this experience was one of the highlights of their time at OCAD,” explains this year’s competition organizer Stuart Reid, Professor in the Faculty of Design. “The exhibition proves emerging OCAD designers have the tools to transform lacklustre urban space into accessible, functional and engaging space.”

In this year’s competition, Faculty of Design organizers carefully chose the site, a wide-open, cemented “plaza” in front of the 52 Division TPS building. With just the sidewalk, the street and the police station to use as boundaries, the challenge was immense: how might student design teams turn this forgotten city plaza into a functional, creative space that facilitates social experience?

The teams, each consisting of four to six students from both art and design faculties, were not left without inspiration. Will Alsop, British architect of OCAD’s famed Sharp Centre for Design, returned to the university for the competition’s pre-launch public lecture. Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan spoke to students as well, providing local perspective and context. Faculty of Design professors and guest volunteer critics provided mentoring and advice over the course of the weekend.

OCAD students flourish, even when under immense time constraints. The resulting concepts are extraordinarily thoughtful, making use of materials like laminated glass to respond to differing lighting conditions, and techniques like recessing the walkway to help combat the strong wind tunnel created in the area. Other designs incorporate roof panels that change orientation with weather conditions. The designs offer Toronto residents a glimpse into the imaginative minds of the designers of tomorrow. Immersed as they are in the city’s downtown core, OCAD students are uniquely positioned to apply their creative problem-solving skills to its infrastructure.

Reassembly Required: Selections from OCAD’s 2010 Annual Design Competition will run in the first floor Rotunda at Toronto City Hall from March 15 to 19. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, March 16 at 6 p.m. (remarks at 6:30) with comments from Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 — Trinity–Spadina) and OCAD President Sara Diamond. All are welcome to attend.

Reassembly Required:
Selections from OCAD’s 2010 Annual Design Competition

March 15 to 19, 2010

Opening: Tuesday, March 16, 6 p.m. (remarks at 6:30)
Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 — Trinity–Spadina)
OCAD President Sara Diamond

All are welcome to attend.

Toronto City Hall
Rotunda, First Floor
100 Queen Street West
Exhibition hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.
Information: 416-977-6000 | www.ocad.ca

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

© OCAD University