Picture galleries: See inside Will Alsop’s sketchbooks
Will Alsop has completed two metro stations in Toronto.
Pioneer Village and Finch West stations were designed by his practice aLL Design for the city’s Toronto York Spadina subway extension.
Will Alsop said: “I have to assume that on one of those really cold, miserable January mornings … there will be people down there travelling to a job that they’d probably rather not do. What I want them to feel is a little bit of cheer, a little bit of joy.”
Pioneer Village station is a 16,200sq m regional transport hub which will serve up to 20,000 subway passengers a day. It has two separate bus terminals and 1,881 commuter parking spaces.
The CAD$165m station straddles the border of York Region, anchoring a corner of York University campus and creating a focal point for future construction in the otherwise underdeveloped area.
Alsop said he was inspired by cathedrals to design the station entrances as a “pair of sculptural structures; their height exceeding that necessary, to increase their visibility”.
Rendered in weathering steel, they mirror each other in shape and scale. The bus station canopy – also Corten steel – has a huge cantilevered roof, the surface of which is planted with meadow grasses, to provide shelter for waiting passengers.
Inside the concrete is highly polished and the supporting columns along the length of the platforms are angled and ovoid in section.
The other station, 11,200sq m Finch West, cost CAD$130m and has integrated art by Bruce McLean, Alsop’s long-term collaborator, who wanted every visible aspect of the public space to blend the boundaries between art and architecture.
McLean said he was inspired by ancient architecture. The external columns refer to Greek caryatids and those supporting the underground roof were influenced by 6,000-year-old Minorcan pillars that would have supported underground houses.
The two stations were built by The Spadina Group Associates (TSGA), a joint venture of IBI Group and engineers LEA Consulting and WSP. Canadian practice IBI is the world’s 6th-biggest architect in this year’s WA100 listings.