Category: Pre-ODAMI Work (completed at Batay-Csorba Architects)
Project Year: 2016
Program: Mixed-Use Commercial
Location: Toronto, Canada
Winner: 2016 Canadian Architect Award of Merit, ARCHITECT Magazine 2018 P/A Award Honourable Mention
Prefab concrete construction is everywhere in Toronto, much to the chagrin of many of its residents. Designed to produce a continuous, inflected surface, the rigidly-organized panels ultimately result in an aesthetic of monotony and monolith - of dead weight.
The brick details typical of Liberty Village's historic factory buildings intensify and transform around rooflines, openings, and structure as bricks are used increasingly as units to give expression to these moments. This amounts to a certain balancing act between elements; a slippage exists, but never too much - the continuity of the wall surface becomes frustrated, but is never altogether destroyed. These moments of tension reveal a strategy to re-considering the approach to the pre-cast concrete facade.
In a similar fashion, this project uses the notion of unitary repetition against itself to put in question the singularity of the overall object, and ultimately break down the static volume. Three individual panel modules are designed hermetically without regard for the overall aggregation or adjacent units. As these confront one another, their incompatibility is abrupt but incompletely so, allowing each element to be understood independently against the larger mass, while allowing for enough affinity to bind them together. The overall building is no longer a heavy singularity, but neither is it an incoherent bunch of individuals. Instead, it finds itself as an assemblage of objects in a shaky equilibrium, somewhere between stack and slab.