King's College Circle Precinct

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King's College Circle Precinct
King’s College Circle Precinct Client: University of Toronto King’s College Circle Precinct – the historical heart of the University of Toronto – is a beloved campus space that over time had lost its valued social and ceremonial qualities. Extensive paving, disparate site furnishings declining the street trees, a security kiosk at the entrance, and scattered street repairs created a drab, utilitarian appearance. Recognizing the need to restore this distinctive landscape, the University commissioned our project team to develop a Schematic Plan to translate the University’s 1999 Open Space Master Plan principles into physical form. The Plan also creates an organizing framework for a series of phased projects. The projects include the new alumni gates, and the redesign of King’s College Road and two nearby pedestrian walks. These redesigned, high visibility landscapes introduce an order to the urban landscape. By reducing paving, using native plant and tree species, and prescribing a single palette of sustainable materials, the project also has set ecological design standards for a healthier, greener, and ultimately more enduring campus. The new design standards will provide a consistent landscape design vocabulary for future projects The Design Principles are: Improve Conditions for Pedestrians by realigning the roadway, sidewalks, and building entries. Slow Vehicle traffic, provide multiple points of accessibility and encourage respect for pedestrian safety. Provide Space for Social Interactions at many scales – from long low walls for seating to large formal gathering spaces for ceremonies Green the Campus by providing better growing conditions for urban trees and plants Unify the Diverse Architectural Heritage by providing a consistent landscape design vocabulary. Remove Elements that Detract from the area’s historical character and Emphasize the Iconic and beloved qualities of the historical campus core. Revitalize the Urban Perimeter of the campus by designing with scale and drama. Alumni Gates The new gateway to the University creates a civic landmark for the campus along College Street and celebrates the transition between the city of Toronto and the historical space of King’s College Precinct. The gates are designed to frame the view down King’s College Road to King’s College Circle. The “concave` shape invites and draws visitors into the campus. Low walls provide seating areas to encourage people to gather and meet. King’s College Road King’s College Road is transformed from drab, vehicular service road into a more ceremonial corridor – giving priority to pedestrians. The road is center – drained rather than crowned to eliminate curbside puddles, improve walking conditions, and reduce winter salt splash onto lawns and trees. The road accommodates necessary vehicles, and demonstrates how pedestrians and vehicles can share the same space safely. The redesign of the street corridor unifies the diverse architectural styles of adjacent building by establishing a consistent landscape pattern of paving materials and site furnishings. Sir Daniel Wilson Walkway Sir Daniel Wilson Walk is redesigned and framed with a bank of Grey birches and woodland under story. Birches are deeply embedded in the Canadian collective conscious as memory of the northern woods. Their inability to transplant easily is a reminder of the fragility of our forests. Large planting beds provide an ecosystem climate that allows the birches to thrive. The paving patterns and textures are intended to slow the bicycle traffic and encourage pedestrian movement. A number of existing curbs, walls and planters that once fragmented the walk are removed in order to widen walkways and diminish the site clutter. Knox College Walk A large parking lot cut - through is transformed into a significant walkway into the heart of the historic campus. A small plaza at the end of Knox College Walk enhances a large elm and the entrance to the visitor center. Adjacent parking is screened from the walk once again with the Grey birches. Sustainable granite paving replaces existing asphalt and concrete.


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