Atelier RZLBD Offers 35-Mile-Long Floating Megastructure Over Yonge Street In Toronto In Love Letter | New
Through a series of postcards and a love letter, Toronto firm Atelier RZLBD came up with a concept project that would add a 35-mile tower above Toronto’s Yonge Street, the longest street in the world.
Entitled #YongeCity, the megastructure would consist of a spatial framework and shipping containers. More importantly, it would welcome 134,000 residents, aimed at closing the gap in the housing market in Toronto. According to the firm, this raised “line” above Yonge Street symbolizes equality and diversity because it is accessible and accessible to everyone, regardless of financial status or cultural background.
The concept is exemplified by a collection of postcards, concept maps, and a love letter to Toronto, which you can check out below.
Toronto, you are one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, proudly dubbed the “Canadian Mosaic”. However, despite all the optimism, you have also become one of the least affordable cities in the world, with 1 in 7 residents struggling for housing. You divided yourself into downtown, downtown, downtown, and outskirts, based on wealth, social class, and ethnicity. Your housing market is overexploited, and now we all know that the neoliberal market economy will only continue to maintain a society that marginalizes the weak and the poor.
“The street is an ok room.” – Louis Kahn
There is a land, a land, which can be saved from the disease of real estate speculation: your streets, the lands which, owned and managed by the government, belong to everyone. For you, Toronto, Yonge Street is an example. Once considered the longest street in the world, its straight line is the “backbone” of the city, where finance, culture, entertainment, public transport, development and opportunity are concentrated. Reclaiming Yonge Street means – and catalyzes – reclaiming the city for all of its citizens. It allows the government to break through the market loop and become more proactive in caring for its people.
My proposal for you is to build above Yonge Street a long and medium spatial mega-structure (~ 6 floors), the upper half (3 floors) of which is to be occupied by commercial and residential units, the lower half of which (3 floors) – floor) must be dug (with the exception of the access and structure “feet”) for existing automobile and pedestrian traffic, and at the “belt” of which the frame must be coated for accommodate raised walkways for the public and residents. His seemingly huge business will adapt to various circumstances, using the modular unit system and staged construction. Unlike a typical tower, which has to be built in one take, the proposed design is to provide only the spatial mega-frame, manholes and services.
The prefabricated modular unit, such as a shipping container, is to be inserted into the post-construction of the spatial frame based on the unifying grid system. The grid system will be determined by: 1) the design of Yonge Street, which is 18 m wide (four traffic lanes 3 m wide + two pedestrian lanes 3 + m wide) and the length is 2.7 km from Front Street to Bloor Street, 18 km from Steeles Avenue and 56 km in its entirety; 2) the main intersections of Yonge Street, which, also corresponding to TTC subway stations, are the locations of the access shafts and the structure; 3) The dimension of standard shipping container (L 6.0m / 12.0mx W 2.5mx H 3.0m). In its full establishment, the maximum of 134,400 units can be provided, well beyond the figure of more than 116,000 people and families in need of housing in the city.
Not only financially affordable and adaptable, the proposed design is also environmentally and socially sustainable. The north-south axis of Yonge Street allows all units to have favorable natural light and selected views to the east and west. Central walkways between units promote pedestrian-friendly green spaces and open social gatherings. Long, flat roofs can harvest comparatively more clean energy than towers, which by definition have minimal horizontal areas. By extending horizontally rather than vertically, the construction is less damaging to nature; excavation for the foundation is minimized (large weight divided into several smaller weights); sewage, mechanical and electrical systems are distributed rather than concentrated; traffic is dispersed rather than congested; density is stretched rather than extruded; etc.
Tower tilt 90°
“We live in metaphors. Buildings, structures, and cities are constructed material images of our worldview, belief systems and fears, and of ourselves, as much as they are practical devices. – Juhani Pallasmaa
In cities, a tower symbolizes inequality and hierarchy; the richer you are, the higher you live. It leads to becoming a self-centered and individualistic person. Yet living in a market-oriented housing unit, which shows no real consideration for individual needs and desires, paradoxically suffers from a lack of identity. Let’s tilt the tower 90 °. This seemingly perpetual line on Yonge Street will symbolize equality and diversity, being accessible and usable by everyone without financial or cultural discrimination. Forming a long and continuous neighborhood that fits well with the high environment, it will lead to becoming an egalitarian and collectivist person. Yet at the same time, through the infinite iterations of the modular unit, we will find the expression of identity.
With love, RZLBD workshop, June 2021
PS Postcards are attached 🙂