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40 PROJECT REPORT: TRANSPORT FACILITIES & PUBLIC REALM


THIS PAGE The corten steel-clad Pioneer Village station


FACING PAGE Finch West station is clad in cement panels


one year. In addition, the Mayor of Toronto David Miller reported a 2.5 per cent increase in tourism, which may have increased since, and it hadn’t really been a tourist destination previously.”


Pioneer village


Working with local contact architect Richard Stevens, now with IBI Group, Alsop set about creating a building on Steeles Avenue which would achieve some of the same revitalising power for the area – regen- eration was a key aim for the client. While he gained immediate familiarity from initial client meetings where he realised some of the faces around the table were people who had worked on Jubilee Line stations, it was useful to have Stevens on board rather than set up a local office. “He speaks the language, so to speak, there are phrases used in North America that you need to unpick!” The new $165m station now open at


Pioneer Village was originally to be titled Steeles West, taking its name from the Steeles Avenue major road which the subway runs diagonally underneath. It was subsequently renamed Pioneer Village due to the nearby tourist attraction – a “recre- ation of what the pioneers might have built,” says Alsop.


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The buildings are a refreshing change from the grey, sober stations commuters are so familiar with, and an attempt to provide a spring in their step as they board the train to work. Its twin entrances, either side of Steeles Avenue – are tall, kidney-shaped forms clad in vibrant corten steel; Alsop suggests the road’s name partly inspired the choice of material. Tapering enamelled steel sections in contrasting red appear as ‘legs,’ alternating with generous panels of fritted glass. Partly inspired by the shape of cathe- drals, Alsop says the entrances’ robust but playful forms emerged organically from an iterative process to identify the right amount of internal space for users, or put simply, “keeping working until you think ‘that’s right’.”


Both the unusual turret-like look of the entrances, and the fact their forms mirror each other, helps give the station a strong identity, enhanced by the quirky addition of its name in corten steel letters on their roofs. They can be seen from some distance away in the relatively featureless surround- ings. Alsop says: “Technically it works on the basis of ‘what the hell is that?’” The other major above-ground design elements are two bus terminals, connected to the subway station to enable passengers to


ADF FEBRUARY 2018


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