Part of Toronto’s ongoing waterfront revitalization, this pioneering urban landscape planned and designed by local studio Public Work is a communal corridor running under the surprisingly majestic 15-metre-high exposed-concrete bents holding up the Gardiner Expressway near Exhibition Place. A $25-million gift from a philanthropic private citizen funded this city-building initiative, which has transformed 1.75 kilometres of veritable wasteland from mono-functional infrastructure into a covered, multi-functional urban trail that crosses at least seven neighbourhoods. The architects used the highway’s bents to break up the unique spatial environment into 55 “civic rooms” that delimit the park’s different programs. Among them are a sloped-lawn amphitheatre, an ice skating trail, gathering places, gardens and – perhaps most crucially in the low-lying area – wetlands.
Project The Bentway Location Toronto, Canada Firm Public Work, Canada Team Marc Ryan, Adam Nicklin and Lauren Abrahams with Greenberg Consultants, Blackwell Structural Engineers, Tillett Lighting Design Associates, DPM Energy, e-Lumen, WSP, Bespoke Cultural Collective, Kearns Mancini Architects, Gensler, DEW and Smart Watering Systems
For the reconstruction of a 10-kilometre stretch of the famous Rockaway Boardwalk in Queens, New York, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, local government officials demanded more resilient structures, rebuilt to standards that would survive future storms. The result, overseen by Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture + Urban Design, is a new boardwalk made entirely of concrete, elevated above the 100-year flood plain. Improved access from the street and beach and better wayfinding have also helped circulation and made it a more vibrant Main Street for the Rockaway communities living along it. Around Seaside, the urban designers painted the boardwalk’s large cement tiles with big blue letters that spell “ROCKAWAY,” presumably in aid of people researching their summer holidays on Google Maps.
Project Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction Location New York City, U.S. Firm WXY Architecture + Urban Design, U.S. Team Claire Weisz, Mark Yoes and Layng Pew with Jonathan Goldstick, Jackson Wandres and Paula Scher Photo Albert Vecerka/Esto