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School Project for Eighth Semester of 2014

The duration of this project was approximately one month under the instruction of Professor Yew-Thong Leong.  The site is located at the heart of the city, Dundas Square, Toronto, Canada. It is a major hub that attracts thousands daily acting as a meeting ground and cultural center for various events throughout the year.  The aim of the project was to introduce a purely public space that would symbolize the culture and identity of Toronto through its design, while fighting conventional architectural methods. With the use of raw materials and structural form, the building leads the people through from one entrance to the next, while targeting and enriching ones senses along the synthesized journey. 

Design should allow those without the ability to hear, to feel sound through its vibrations and those without the ability to see should be able to feel the light; for light and sound create the dimensions of space. Architecture idolizes elements. It idolizes light, sound, and senses. It celebrates these elements by incorporating and highlighting them in design. 

Space has always been the spiritual dimension of architecture. It is not the physical statement of the structure so much as what it contains that moves us. Space needs to fight convention, it needs to be able to justify against it and question it.

The exterior of the building looks like a seemless square box, but the interior unfolds erasing the illusion of it being a seemless form. The building starts by taking them through a compressed space dimly lit by the entrance opening. They descend down into a dark space that expands above, acoustically designed to be completely quiet. 

Silence is a power substance, it has a quality and dimension all on its own, it has a strange and magnificent texture which is impossible to express in words. Silence is beautiful when you listen carefully, it has an actual sound, the sound of disappearance. Silence is an internally tranquil song of the divine. It is the continually resounding noise in the background of everything that exists. The world’s continually breathing is what we hear and call silence. When one holds their breath, even for a moment, everything becomes transfixed and only the light moves. Silence entices reflection, we need silence to reveal the complicated mechanism of our thoughts to have no constraints on our minds, no walls in our spirit, and no barriers in our progress, for silence is a sleep that nourishes wisdom.

The center of the building lies a room that appears to be infinite with the reflective walls, but mysterious with the water falling along the sides and the water glowing below.  There is a slit that divides the two halves of the building, separating the darkness from the light. It is open to above that lets in the direct light, rain and snow, exposing the user to the elements outside.

deVries design animation

deVries design animation

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