Diller Scofidio + Renfro and architectsAlliance present a Design Vision for the Gardiner
13 Jun 2013


Diller Scofidio + Renfro and architectsAlliance present a Design Vision for the Gardiner

For more information on the DS+R/aA Vision, and the other teams’ proposals, visit Design Ideas.

Following an international call for proposals, the City of Toronto and Waterfront Toronto identified six leading design teams to develop innovative Design Ideas for Gardiner East (the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard between Jarvis and Leslie Streets).

One of the six teams chosen to address this significant urban design and infrastructure challenge was formed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and architectsAlliance. The Vision developed by DS+R/aA, and the other five teams, were unveiled today at an open house at the Metro Convention Centre.

To maintain the expressway ‘as is’ was not as an option. The alternatives, as determined, by the City and Waterfront Toronto, were to:

  • Improve the urban fabric while maintaining the expressway as is
  • Replace with a new above- or below-grade expressway
  • Remove the elevated expressway and build a new boulevard

Two teams were assigned to each of these three alternatives. DS+R and aA were assigned to explore the “Improve” option. Significant features of the team’s response include:

Strategic Connections

Create new connective tissue across the Gardiner-Lake Shore transit corridor, to draw together existing neighbourhoods north of the corridor and new Don Lands communities:

  • buildings ‘sprout through’ the space between the Expressway and the rail berm
  • a linear park and bike path enlivens this negative space
  • new buildings with their feet in the water restore the connection between Lake and City
  • bridges, pathways and tunnels flow through, over and under the Gardiner, the realigned Don River, and the Keating Channel, cross-stitching the City together
  • an Enmeshed Landscape overtakes the Expressway at its eastern extremity, where it returns to grade

Unlock Redevelopment Potential

Extraordinary value – as yet unrealized – is inherent in the “undevelopable” land parcels bounded by the railway berm to the north, industrial infrastructure to the east, and the Keating Channel to the south. Enhancing the development value of lands within the Gardiner-Lake Shore corridor will, in turn, generate the revenues required to finance necessary infrastructure and site servicing, and generate increased tax revenues for the City for years to come.

  • Realign Lake Shore Boulevard to create a new east-west ‘spine’ for the development corridor
  • Reorient south-facing industrial lands to face north onto the Boulevard
  • Create infrastructure to support future growth

Complement Existing Revitalization Plans

  • Create a cultural precinct north of the Lake Shore to stimulate development in the Don Lands, in the same way that artist-led colonization has transformed other neighbourhoods
  • Locate schools, community centres, and other low-rise communal uses beneath the Gardiner – capturing previously unused lands and providing anchors for neighbourhood growth to the north and south of the Lake Shore
  • Reorient waterfront industrial sites to face northward onto a pedestrianized, localized Lake Shore Boulevard