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East Point Park Bird Sanctuary Pavilions (2015)

03 Mar 2017
 
Image Credit: Steven Evans Photography
Architectural Credit: Plant Architect Inc.
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architects: Plant Architect Inc.
Date of Completion: 2015

OAA Awards 2017 Design Excellence Finalist 

East Point Park Bird Sanctuary Pavilions -Viewing pavilion (83.6m2) and Bird Blind (1.4m2)-  use architecture as a mean to frame sky and water views within a wooded East Point Park atop the Scarborough Bluffs.  Folded into angular shapes evocative of flight, sheets of weathering steel form sheltering pavilions, oriented to provide close-up perspectives on a pond and expansive views out over Lake Ontario. Their small footprint and the strategic placement within a walking circuit promotes exploration of a large park and enhance the pleasures of birding for visitors of all ages and experience levels.

Site Plan and Section
Diagram Credit: Plant Architect Inc.

The Viewing Pavilion:
Split into inversely symmetrical halves that share a concrete podium, the Viewing Pavilion was designed and oriented to provide optimal, complementary views: intimate, close up perspectives on a pond, and lofty, expansive views of Lake Ontario that stretch to the shimmering horizon. Water jet cut through its walls are clouds of birds in flight above the names of the species that frequent this migratory stopover site.




The Viewing Pavilion
Photo Credit: Steven Evans Photography
Bird Blind
The Bird Blind's water jet cut graphics mimic the sunlight and shadow patterns of the adjacent poplar grove. It partially encloses visitors, and its openings are at heights that allow children and adults to observe birds on the pond, unobtrusively but at close range.

Bird's Blind
Photo Credit: Steven Evans Photography
The reductive materials palette – weathering steel, concrete and galvanized grating – was chosen for durability and minimal environmental impact. The small size of the pavilions ensures that the vast majority of East Point's mix of natural and naturalized landscape is devoted to wildlife. The predominant material, weathering steel, has a wonderful texture when new but it becomes even more beautiful over long term exposure to the elements. 

The Viewing Pavilion
Photo Credit: Steven Evans Photography
The pavilions and the new and rehabilitated paths connecting them are part of a citywide Toronto initiative to enhance and protect bird habitat and increase birding activity through public education and programming. The pavilions enhance the pleasures of birding for visitors of all ages and levels of experience. In addition to the completed Phase 1 elements described above, a Soundscape Pavilion will be added in the next phase of construction. Visitors sitting quietly within this enclosure will be able to savour the sounds of a forest alive with birdsong.


The Viewing Pavilion
Photo Credit: Steven Evans Photography
The strength of this project lies in its simplicity, its evocation of flight, and its sensitivity to its context.
 
 
 
 

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