Beautifully designed public spaces that are both artistic and functional are essential in the creation of livable cities. Today we feature a spectacular structure that has reenergized Toronto’s waterfront.
The Simcoe WaveDeck inspired by the shorelines of Lake Ontario is undoubtedly one of the most unique Canadian urban docks. With its wavelike shape, this distinctive signature piece on Toronto’s waterfront features an informal public amphitheatre-style space with impressive curves that soar as high as 2.6 meters above the lake.
“The Simcoe WaveDeck has created a new public space at the water’s edge by replacing a narrow sidewalk with a grand waterside gathering place. Its whimsical and dynamic design has made the wavedeck one of the waterfront’s most interesting new public spaces. People of all ages are enjoying views of the harbour from its 30 metre-long backless bench, using its steps as a place to eat lunch and taking pictures of themselves sliding on its graceful curves.
The design teams of West 8 + DTAH have created a 650 square meter structure made of yellow glulam cedar and ipe wood. The wavedeck’s two large swells feature slender stainless steel railings that follow the undulations of the waves in the deck. These railings are designed to differentiate the curved portions of the deck and help visitors negotiate the slopes.
In addition to the railings the wavedeck includes several other health and safety features including antislip components at the edge of each step and a visual white band to provide contrast and help mark the edge of steps. To provide traction on the slopes, strips of abrasive material called carborandum inserts were used and the deckboards were angled to provide extra traction on the steepest slopes.
In the evening, the deck is lit from below with colourful LED fixtures mounted to the timber structure. These colourful lights cast a glow from beneath the deck creating a beautiful effect on the water and highlight the architecture of the wavedeck.”
The Simcoe WaveDeck is a wonderful example that proves how remarkably well designed public spaces can promote interaction between people and their environment and also provide a coherent urban identity for any neigbourhood.
Well done Toronto!