Student Works: Transitional Landscapes

Picking up on the intermittent series of student projects, here is a project by University of Toronto M.Arch graduate Alice Wong titled Transitional Landscapes. Alice began her research on the hypnotic optics of highway commuting. She selected the highway 427 and Highway 401 knuckle interchange in Toronto as a case study in new possibilities for occupying a smooth (transitional) space. Eventually finding a way to intervene in this hyper-logical, engineered context by inserting a secondary route of new programs and experiences.

Wong writes:

The research begins with observing changes in our transitory experience and analyzing them among varying types including converging/diverging transition, sectional transition, and directional transition. The site of interest is located by the interchange between Toronto's provincial highways 427 and 401.

The scale of this high-speed interchange, and the complex layers and depth of field, seemingly presents an inherent problem in its accessibility to adjacent landscapes due to extreme friction between the fast and the slow. Employing the formal language of the highway and the concept in speed-transition curves; this thesis embarks on creating a new system of speed deceleration loops along the gap between the road and the landscapes by forming a "Super Roundabout (power of 10)" for vehicles to circle within the interchanging moment.

The Roundabout(10) is design to serve for traffic calming and speed control, and allow for increased capacity and accessibility. The occupation potential in the loop system, on the other hand, will allow for servicing and designated programs for convenience, and also suggests the "mediating passage" as the ideal place to be part of a transitory experience.

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