The SFC Bridge in Toronto by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with James Khamsi, demonstrates how creative collaborations can bring playful experiences to urban infrastructure.
The SFC Bridge is a project that combines public art and architecture to transform a pedestrian access point into a striking landmark.
As cities collaborate with private developments to install pedestrian friendly access in areas that are dominated by industrial and transportation infrastructure – how to make human-scale access inviting, sustainable, and vibrant is a typical problem. Marman, Borins, and Khamsi answered the challenge presented by the developers of Toronto’s Southcore Financial Centre with a design that is an energetic addition to the emerging district. The team won the commission through an international competition in 2012.
The SFC bridge is part of Toronto’s underground PATH network, that recently expanded above ground to create year-round elevated pedestrian walkways over rail lines and under raised expressways in the area south of Union Station.
Connecting the new Delta Hotel to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the SFC Bridge offers a unique pedestrian experience in the south edge of the city’s financial district. Sloping upwards from the Delta Hotel, the bridge takes a 120-degree turn to connect with the existing Convention Centre SkyWalk (built in 1989).
Dark aluminum panels wrap the bridge’s exterior, following its structural trusses, to bind its integral slopes and bends. The kinetic material interplay of wrapping and binding reflects the bridge’s role in connecting disparate realms of the city. Between the bands, triangular windows cast graphic shapes of light and shadow on the bridge’s interior. Stimulating the curiosity of passersby, they frame views of the urban backdrop, offering pedestrians a dynamic visual experience while crossing the bridge.
As a contemporary spin on disruptive camouflage, a digital designed, handpainted mural treatment that extends across its walls and ceiling echoes the trapezoids, diagonals, and triangles in the bridge’s structure to produce a dynamic, multi-perspectival experience.