Location: Thunder Bay, ON Architects: Brook McIlroy ArchitectsDate of completion:
2012OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Winner
Thunder Bay is home to one of Canada’s most historically significant waterfronts. Continuously inhabited for the past 10,000 years, this Lake Superior port has been home to aboriginal groups, French fur trading posts, and was an important link in the shipping of grain and other products from western Canada. Acknowledging this unique cultural heritage, while helping establish a new direction for Thunder Bay’s future is Prince Arthur’s Landing - a waterfront revitalization project which transforms an underutilized park into a year-round community destination.
Incorporating a range of buildings, landscapes and public art, Prince Arthur’s Landing promotes connections to Lake Superior, aboriginal culture, and the city’s shipping and rail history. The design evolved from a series of public workshops with Native and non-Native community representatives, and both buildings and outdoor spaces were holistically designed by the architects. Two key buildings, the Water Garden Pavilion and the Baggage Building Arts Centre
, create important year round destinations for recreation, culture and the arts. A restaurant, splash pad/skating rink, skateboard park, trails, aboriginal gardens, public art installations and outdoor amphitheatre support year-round public activities.
The WaterGarden is a magnet for children and families in the summer and in winter transforms into a skating rink. The centre island and its outdoor fireplace provide a warming area for skaters.
The Water Garden Pavilion supports numerous activities including skating, swimming, dining, and cultural events. The pavilion is inspired by a clearing in a forest expressed with a wrapping shroud of randomly spaced wood columns on three sides of the building. The pavilion incorporates sustainable features including radiant floor heating, photovoltaic panels, green roof, heat reclaim from the ice-plant refrigeration system, passive solar control, and native low maintenance vegetation.
The Jardin Elliptique is the central gateway to Prince Arthur’s Landing. In the background, a 19th century railway structure, restored and expanded with a two storey addition, hosts the Baggage Building Arts Centre.
The Baggage Building Arts Centre combines the restoration of a historic railway building with a new addition to create a community arts centre, gallery and bookstore. The building and its surrounding outdoor spaces were designed as a whole creating spill-out spaces for displays, arts classes and performances.
Once perceived as derelict land plots, Prince Arthur’s Landing provides a unique waterfront destination that embodies the region’s local history and native cultures. Since its opening, Prince Arthur’s Landing has seen five times the number of users and nine new local businesses, a testament that good design can have a transformative effect on a neighbourhood’s economy.
To view the complete submission, including additional images and drawings, please click here. This post (11/20) is part of the OAA Awards 2016 Design Excellence Finalists blOAAg series celebrating the best of Ontario architecture. Every day during the month of March we will be posting a new finalist. You can view all posts by clicking here. Winners will be announced April 1, 2016.