PUBLIC WORK's design for University of Toronto's Landscape of Landmark Quality Competition Unveiled

PUBLIC WORK is among four teams shortlisted as part of an Innovative Design and Ideas Competition for the revitalization of the major public spaces of the historic St. George Campus to create "A Landscape of Landmark Quality". Public presentations by the design teams took place on Monday, September 28 in Convocation Hall. An exhibit of the competition entries is being hosted at the J. Roberts Prichard Alumni House from September 29 to October 2.

A summary of PUBLIC WORK's proposed design can be viewed online and you can share your feedback in the online survey. Comments will be provided to the Evaluation Committee for their consideration in evaluating the entries and selecting a winning team.  


PUBLIC WORK presents vision for the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge on behalf of the EllisDon Team

A new piece of long-awaited pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is one big step closer to realization. A community information meeting was held at the Fort York Visitor Centre on June 2nd, updating the public on the most recent progress on the proposed Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge. Marc Ryan presented the design vision on behalf of the EllisDon Team.

The Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge will create a vital connection between Trinity Bellwoods Park in the north and the Fort York grounds in the south and foster stronger community networks in and around the City, Fort York and the waterfront. Along with PUBLIC WORK, the EllisDon Team includes WSP Canada Inc., Architecture 49, ERA Architects, Thurber Engineering Ltd., and Moon-Matz Ltd.


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EGLINTON CONNECTS awarded 2015 Canadian Institute of Planners Award of Excellence

(above) Still-image of the grass track at Eglinton-Leslie from animation prepared by PUBLIC WORK.

Eglinton Connects is a comprehensive Corridor Planning Study that takes advantage of a $5.3 billion investment in a 19 km long light rail transit (LRT) line in Toronto. The study proposes a holistic Vision for the Eglinton Avenue corridor, a detailed public realm, streetscape, built form and open space plan, and an accompanying implementation plan. It represents the next generation of ‘Avenue Study’ for the City; one that considers all elements of urban development together to create a sustainable, diverse and accessible future. The Study was approved by City Council in May, 2014.

PUBLIC WORK was part of the team led by Brook McIlroy with planningAlliance, HDR, Antoine Grumbach & Associates, Swerhun Facilitation and Decision Making, ERA Architects, Public Workshop and N. Barry Lyons Consultants. 

More info about the award

Marc Ryan presents at the ‘Second Wave of Modernism III: Leading with Landscape Conference', hosted by the Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Second Wave of Modernism III: Leading with Landscape will tackle numerous issues including those that deal with the city’s identity – what does it mean for a 21st century city to be historic and modern at the same time? – and stewardship – what new models for public/private financing and management are emerging?

The international implications of this planning and development strategy will address whether a 21st century city can be both regional and global, and whether we can use landscape as an engine to meet market demands while cultivating a sustainable urbanism.

Participating speakers, including internationally significant private sector practitioners working on current and proposed projects in Toronto, municipal leaders, leading critics and thinkers, and academics from Canada, the US and the Netherlands, will also examine how existing parks and open spaces are adapted to accommodate contemporary and future needs and expectations, and how innovative landscape planning and design techniques developed in Toronto apply to other cities, and vice versa – and the impact of imported ideas on local conditions.

Marc Ryan presented current PUBLIC WORK approaches as part of Panel 1: Current Work in Toronto, moderated by Jane Amidon, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Urban Landscape Program, Northeastern University School of Architecture.  

Leading with Landscape is the third in an ongoing series about the Second Wave of Modernism, and follows conferences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (2008) and New York’s Museum of Modern Art (2011).

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PUBLIC WORK selected to lead Mount Pleasant Village BIA Streetscape Master Plan

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The Mount Pleasant Village Streetscape Master Plan and vision for the public realm provides the opportunity to build on this street's particular scale and ambience, which sets it apart from similar nearby main streets such as Yonge, or Eglinton. PUBLIC WORK is excited to engage with the Mount Pleasant Village BIA and its stakeholders to capture and enhance the particular characteristics and identity of this vibrant Toronto neighbourhood. The Streetscape Master Plan Design Study will be a critical tool to proactively manage opportunities for the improvement of Mount Pleasant Road within the Village in the future.

PUBLIC WORK is shortlisted for TIRANA PARK ENTRY Competition with MVV

The team composed of PRGºBR & MikeViktorViktor, PUBLIC WORK and Jorge Ortero has been shortlisted by Atelier Albania to compete in Phase 2 of the competition. Other shortlisted teams include: Zaha Hadid Architects, Vitorrio Grassi, Xaveer De Geyter, JDSA, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, among others.

PUBLIC WORK wins CASA II/III Courtyard Design Competition

PUBLIC WORK’s design proposal was selected by Cresford Developments and architectsAlliance following an invited competition to deliver a compelling vision for this new publicly accessible courtyard space in downtown Toronto. The winning design is for a multi-functional, scale-expanding courtyard surface, featuring a water garden with a specimen bald Cypress tree - known to thrive in wet, swamp-like conditions, and made possible to grow in the Toronto climate due to the courtyard microclimate. The entire central plaza area is designed to be intermittently flooded, changing the character and use of the space. When dry, the courtyard is programmable for events and gatherings; when wet, the courtyard is transformed into an inhabitable water-sheet: a contemplative space like no other in the city.

PUBLIC WORK wins 2015 CSLA National Honour Award for ‘Midtown in Focus’ Master Plan


The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) announced the winners of its annual Awards of Excellence. This year, the ‘Midtown in Focus’ vision was one of only 3 projects which received a national honour award – the highest award given to recognize preeminent examples in Canadian landscape architecture, honouring distinctive design, ground-breaking research, and sustainable landscape management.

‘Midtown in Focus’ is the visionary Master Plan for Yonge-Eglinton Parks, Open Space, and Streetscapes which charts the short and long term vision for the rebirth of Midtown Toronto with a renewed focus and emphasis on the ground – the design of the public realm.

PUBLIC WORK is honoured by this recognition of their work in collaboration with the City of Toronto and the project team which included SWERHUN and Parsons Brinkerhof.

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Adam Nicklin selected to serve as the OALA representative for the City of Toronto Official Plan Five-Year Review on Urban Design Policy Direction

Adam Nicklin met with the City of Toronto’s team appointed to the Toronto Official Plan Review as one of a series of public and professional group outreach sessions that the City is conducting to inform their update of the official plan, and the focus was on urban design. In the City’s words:  “Urban design is an essential component of great city building and is fundamental to achieving the Official Plan goals.”

In general, the goal is to take a lot of great work that has been done on various components of the public realm – which currently exists mainly as guidelines – and to encode it into the official plan. In short – to give it more teeth. Therefore, key questions for the discussion were:

-               What public realm elements or components should be firm or flexible?
-               Are there other models outside of Toronto – or Canada – which Toronto should look to in formulating it’s new official plan?

The conversation was fluid and fun, and touched on all aspects of placemaking – including streets; POPs; parks and their interfaces and edges; potential of the ravines; block patterns and porosity; infrastructure coordination; winter city issues; proportion and scale (particularly in re-balancing streets for more users and uses); transit and active transportation; built form interface and massing; and quantifying open spaces demands and uses.

Key points were many, but highlights include:
-               How to promote better understanding of scale in the public realm, and the care needed to avoid taking a simply additive / overly subscriptive approach in formulating streets and open spaces. The results can be amorphous and generic.
-               The importance of mechanisms such as pilot projects to make the planning process more dynamic and responsive (and faster!)
-               The need for better inter-divisional coordination, and how leadership sets the tone for everyone working towards a commons goal.

Marc Ryan discusses the need to articulate the 'public dimension' of things at CivicAction's 6th Annual ELN conference

As part of a panel discussion on 'Re-Imagining Public Spaces', Marc Ryan presented thoughts on an expanded definition of the public realm and the need to uncover new realms in the city between public and private and for design to give them form. The panel discussion was moderated by Alexis Speer and included Chris Glaisek (VP Planning and Design, Waterfront Toronto) and David Harvey (Founder and Executive Director, Park People). 

Marc Ryan participates in 'Public Space Debate: Why it Matters' hosted by Waterfront Toronto

On September 24, Marc Ryan joined a conversation moderated by Shawn Micallef of Spacing Magazine about what it takes to create engaging public spaces. This on-stage conversation was part of the speaker series associated with 'Dreaming Big: Toronto's Waterfront 1852 to Tomorrow' an exhibit produced by Waterfront Toronto with the Toronto Public Library.


PUBLIC WORK selected to design an elevated park over the rail corridor in Toronto's financial core

Ivanhoe Cambridge and Hines selected PUBLIC WORK as landscape architects to join the design team of Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Adamson Associates working together on a large-scale, integrated office, transit and open space development project in the heart of Toronto's financial core. The elevated park will provide a new typology of public green space for downtown and strengthen the connection between the city and the waterfront. 

For more information, click here.

'Midtown in Focus' adopted by Toronto City Council

The 'Midtown in Focus' planning report represents a new conversation about Midtown's parks, squares, and open space system--shifting from past debates about  urban development and density to the organization and quality of the public realm. 

For more information, and a PDF version of the report, click here.

Revitalizing Ontario Place

Today the province announced that it is moving forward with its long-term vision to revitalize Ontario Place into a vibrant waterfront destination that engages residents and visitors of all ages.

In helping to develop a strategy for a memorable waterfront experience at Ontario Place, PUBLIC WORK developed the key concepts of "Blue Park" as a floating landscape and an integral part of the activation of the iconic Pod structures on the water. 

More info here

Steel Arrives on Jubilee Centre Plaza Site

The sedimentary stone plaza at Jubilee Centre will be supported atop a steel frame and pile system. This will protect it from extreme weather conditions and accommodate the rolling mobile podium loads, while leveraging the remnant piles from the previous plaza demolition. The plaza is set to open in October 2014.

UPDATE - Steel is installed