The pavilions at East Point Park Bird Sanctuary use architecture as a means of framing one of Toronto's most beautiful parks, while enhancing the pleasures of birding. Folded into angular shapes evocative of flight, sheets of waterjet-cut weathering steel form the pavilions for this wooded park on the Scarborough Bluffs, high above Lake Ontario. The materials palette, which includes precast and cast-in-place concrete and galvanized grating, was chosen for durability and minimal environmental impact.
The structures and the new and rehabilitated paths connecting them are part of a citywide initiative to enhance and protect bird habitat and increase birding activity through public education and programming. The pavilions provide shelter from the elements, and are vantage points for spectacular views of the lake, an inland pond and the birds that inhabit it. The structures' weathering steel walls and roofs form distinctive profiles against the sky, just as the silhouette of a bird in flight is often enough information for an experienced birder to identify the species.
The project encompasses the Viewing Pavilion, a Bird Blind, and entry signage. The viewing Pavilion is the primary gathering space. Split into inversely symmetrical halves that share a concrete podium, the pavilion was oriented to provide optimal, complementary views: intimate, up-close perspectives on the pond, and lofty, expansive views of Lake Ontario that stretch to the horizon. Waterjet-cut through the pavilion's walls are clouds of birds in flight above the names of species that frequent this significant migratory flyway stopover site. Waterjet-cut graphics mimicking the sunlight and shadow patterns of the adjacent poplar grove perforate the Bird Blind where visitors can observe birds on the pond.
Each of the pavilions has a tiny footprint, but the strategic positioning of these structures within a walking circuit promotes the exploration of a large park.
Credits: - Hawkins Contracting Services Inc. - General Contractor - PLANT Architect Inc. - Partner - Lisa Rapoport - PLANT Architect Inc. - Partner-in-Charge - Mary Tremain - A.W. Hooker Associates Ltd. - Quantity Surveyor - Steven Evans Photography - Photographer - PLANT Architect Inc. - Associate - Lauren Barhydt - PLANT Architect Inc. - Team Member - Jeremy McGregor - Blackwell - Structural - PLANT Architect Inc. - Associate - Jason van der Burg - PLANT Architect Inc. - Partner - Chris Pommer