A folded ribbon of black metal panels crosses above Lower Simcoe Street in Toronto, weaving and binding the Delta Hotel with the Metro Convention Centre and the PATH network. It presented us with an opportunity to connect Toronto’s PATH network, which is mostly underground, to the city. We asked whether this bridge could be both a path and a place.
Due to site circumstances, the bridge takes a 120-degree turn and has a five-percent slope. These geometries were mandated in the project brief and we saw potential in their non-orthogonality. The black ribbons are connected to the intrinsic form of the bridge, binding its bend, sloping floors and trusses into a holistic design solution that embodies tension, movement, and transition.
The truss, a material fact of this project, drives its expression. But not in a modernist manner — in which structure is not expressed self-referentially as structure — here, it is an abstract generator of spatial experiences. The truss's form generates the ribbons, which frame a collection of triangular openings that episodically present key views of the city. The windows bathe the truss and the shifting geometric forms of the interior with triangulations of light, bringing a new kind of spatial experience to the PATH network. Running through this zigzagging scheme are light metallic panels moving in linear incremental measures.
The patterning inside of the bridge complements and challenges its exterior. Diagonal forms traverse and dance with the inner logic of the structure. This dazzling pattern tilts and twists the rational truss form, enhancing the pointed turn the bridge takes. The dazzling energy of the interior pattern, which expands one’s spatial experience when crossing the bridge, is bound firmly in place by the super-structural black bands of the bridge’s envelope.
Cohesively, as we walk along the bridge, we are told a story of engineered suspension, architecture in multiple orientations, and art in all the bridge’s components. From point A to point B, we highlight the major themes of the Delta tower and add a landmark to its site.
Executive architects: Page + Steele/IBI Group Toronto Mechanical and electrical engineers: Hidi Rae