MVVA selected as design lead for York Quay Revitalization Project

TORONTO, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) has been selected to lead the transformation of a key waterfront site based in part on their innovative proposal to design an underground parking garage that is an enticing part of the urban experience rather than a grim, unwelcoming and disorienting piece of infrastructure.

Selected from among 15 submissions during a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process, MVVA was chosen to lead the design of the York Quay Revitalization Project (phase two) for Waterfront Toronto and Harbourfront Centre.

Plans for this prime waterfront location in the heart of Harbourfront Centre, include replacing the 1.4 hectare surface parking lot currently on the site with an underground parking garage that includes qualities of the outdoors such as sunlight, air, water and plantings as part of its design.

"After 35 years of offering cutting edge cultural programming on the waterfront, it's fitting that Harbourfront Centre is once again on the forefront of innovation - this time in the type of infrastructure and public space we are building on our site," said William Boyle, CEO of Harbourfront Centre.

This important piece of parking infrastructure will free up the surface area for future public space and a thriving cultural/retail village. The underground garage imagined by the MVVA team will create a space where sunlight and air are directed from above grade down into the garage through openings, as well as innovative uses of glass and lighting. There may also be opportunities for integrated sustainable technologies, such as the reuse of collected rain water for a summer fountain or winter ice display.

"By choosing MVVA's proposal, Waterfront Toronto's commitment to design excellence and sustainability is clear," said John Campbell, Waterfront Toronto President and CEO. "We're taking an untapped and virtually hidden piece of functional infrastructure and building it in a uniquely beautiful and sustainable way."

In addition to the underground parking garage, phase two work will also include the planning and design of the overall York Quay cultural/retail village site and any necessary applications and zoning amendments, as well as the design and construction of a waterfront plaza called Canada Square and interim treatments for the remainder of the site.

MVVA has put together an impressive team to work on the project including designer/artist James Carpenter, winner of the 2004 MacArthur Grant for his work with glass and reflected light, and three-time winner of the prestigious Presidential Design Award, Beyer Blinder Beller architects. The team will be supported by Toronto engineering firm, ARUP and GHK International for zoning and planning approvals.

"By linking the design of the surface landscape with that of the parking garage, we will keenly focus on improving the experience users have when moving from the car to the city," said Michael Van Valkenburgh, Principal, MVVA. "Bringing sunlight and nature into the garage are critical to creating a beguiling urban experience."

With the RFP process now complete, phase two work will move forward quickly as the team begins with conceptual/preliminary design work, followed by schematic/detailed design early next winter. An accelerated project timeline will ensure that the parking garage is completed by spring 2011.

Phase one of the project, completed by Waterfront Toronto and Harbourfront Centre in 2006, improved public access to the lake around York and John Quays by including a widened promenade, the addition of a five-metre wide wooden boardwalk at the water's edge and two 60-metre finger piers.

In addition to the improvements at York and John Quays, Waterfront Toronto has opened three new wavedecks and a new and improved Martin Goodman Trail at Ontario Place. Two major waterfront parks - Sherbourne Park and Canada's Sugar Beach - will open next summer. Construction is also underway to support new communities including the Athletes' Village for the 2015 Pan Am Games in the West Don Lands.

The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto's waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative non-profit cultural organization which creates events and activities of excellence that enliven, educate and entertain a diverse public on its 10 acre site on Toronto's waterfront.

For background information about Waterfront Toronto, please visit

For more information about the design team, please visit and www. and

SOURCE Waterfront Toronto

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Samantha Gileno, Waterfront Toronto, (416) 271-1316 or

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