Desolate Strip of Dundas Reimagined by OCAD Students
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Desolate Strip of Dundas Reimagined by OCAD Students

One view of the space in front of 52 Division on Dundas Street West as re-imagined by the OCAD Design Competition’s winning team.

What do you get when you take a spectrum of OCAD students and give them ninety-seven hours to transform a useless slab of the city’s horizontal concrete? Well, if you threw in the Tim Gunn of urban design, then you’d have all the trappings of some wicked reality TV. Failing that, you’ve got “Reassembly Required,” the 2010 edition of OCAD’s annual design competition.

This year’s challenge was to take the empty space (generously called a “plaza”) that sits in front of 52 Division Police Station on Dundas West between McCaul and Simcoe streets and, to quote the design challenge instructions, “turn it into urban experience, i.e. creative, designed, fertile, interactive, social experience and space.”
Obviously OCAD students are better at understanding what this means than we are, because they came up with an impressively diverse array of both 2- and 3-D representations of the little stretch of Dundas re-imagined. Constrained only by the real-life limitations of size, shape, and what was hilariously referred to by the winning team as “site conditions [of] wind and smell,” students let their imagination run wild.
The winning design—created by third- and fourth-year graphic design and environmental design students Ji Su Kim, Shin Yeong Steve Kang, Vera Leung, Christy Yu, and Hyunjin Cho—riffs on the theme of liquid, with a minimalist, walk-through sculpture of laminated glass.

Second place winners Data Pavillion.

The second-place entry, described by its creators as a “monument to the present,” incorporates a plethora of local and global environmental data into its shape-shifting design, including an embedded river that ebbs and flows in sympathy with real-time glacial melting data and a roof system that shifts pragmatically in response to the weather and flutters dramatically with seismic activity.
It’s worth stopping by City Hall, where these and other entries will be on display until 4:30 p.m. today. Not only will you see a wide array of things that you probably couldn’t do with wood and Photoshop, but you will also learn how many ways there are to use the word “dwell.”