Borden Park Pavilion / Unbuilt

Borden Park Pavilion / Unbuilt

Edmonton, AB

The long formal path approach from the west is seen as a continuation of the city block’s streets. The design creates a “place” out of the end of this approach. The building’s orientation and relation to a landscaped trellis to the south informs a new public space at the end of the approach. The new public space is envisioned as a “farm” consisting of rows of various vegetables and plants. Thus, the end of the city approach becomes a piece of the rural. The farm would provide an interesting landscaped segment to the already eclectic park, relate to Edmonton as a whole, provide gardening activities for people, and attract the public to wander through the crop rows. It is expected that this could support a community gardening program and bring together people of all ages to participate. Vegetables grown in the “farm” could be used to prepare food for the cafe, making it an innovative dining experience that would attract the public to the park.

Terminating the east/west axis, is a newly created north south axis informed by the building and surrounding landscape design. The result is a stronger connection to the segment of the park to the north, which is already programmed as recreation space (wading pool, playground), and also the segment of the park directly south, which is unprogrammed and maintained as a flexible segment for picnicking and various activities. By supporting these existing park segments to the north and south the new axis strengthens a connection to the city.

Building off this connection to the city, the design draws people in from all directions, through the axis described above, but also through its clarity of public space, that of a room which sits delicately in the park. The long low form sited to the very north of the bounding box perimeter maximizes the exterior space to the south of it for the farm, while addressing the formal approach from the west. The form is broken up into 5 equal segments in which one is “missing” apart from a con- crete ground surface. The two “service” parts of the programme bookend the public space (cafe/multipurpose/warm up) between. This allows for the washrooms to operate independently of the rest of the building. It also improves circulation from the north and south and allows the cafe to spill outside into this patio space in the summer. Circulation space was kept to an absolute minimum, maximizing the programmed space, while allowing the total gross area to be considerably under. This approach makes efficient use of space from an environmental and economical standpoint.

The design is extremely accessible, and celebrates the procession to the public room (cafe/multi-pupose/warm up) from city, to park, to landscape, to building. The public room looks out over the wading pool to the north, and out to the new farm to the south. Three sides are glazed by a light curtain wall that wraps gently around the wooden post and beam structure without ever touching it. Drawing you in, the doors are from the patio, and the concrete patio surface continues into the public room, interrupted only by the glass. You are addressed by a rising hearth that creates an entry space that you must walk around to enter. Directly opposite is a full wall of wooden cabinets and shelving that bookend the room along with the hearth and creates a warm feeling through its materiality and juxtaposition to the simplicity of the glazed walls. Through this wooden wall is the opening of the kitchen, as well as access to other service spaces not for the public. Also off the patio, is the washroom portion of the building. These two large rooms are very accessible due to the use of one set of double doors from the patio space, which would be left open in the summer. Once inside the washrooms they are private, yet naturally lit by a long skylight that actually passes over both gender washrooms, connecting them with light.

The building is economical due to its simple form, and use of materials. Although programmed space areas are at, or above the requirements the total gross area is well under, due to efficient circulation. The idea of creating a landscaped farm is also economical as it embraces the act of growing straight from soil and seeds. 

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