Tapping the Future with CSC Toronto and Grand Valley

Soundwave used the natural typography to create a Greek inspired amphitheatre. Photo courtesy
Team ‘Soundwave’ used the natural existing typography in its design of a Greek-inspired amphitheatre.
Images courtesy CSC Grand Valley and Toronto

By Jennifer Wilson

The “Tapping the Future” Student Design Competition, co-presented by CSC’s Grand Valley and Toronto chapters, has announced its project site for this year’s contest. The theme, “High-tech Business Cluster,” is reflected in the real-world location of 8 Queen Street N in the heart of downtown Kitchener, Ont. Details surrounding the 2016 competition include a look at the project site, which is currently under construction to become a high-end brick and beam office catering to tech businesses and services. Post-secondary teams of up to four, or individuals, from across Ontario are invited to participate. There are monetary prizes of $2000, $1000, and $500 for the first-, second-, and third-place teams. More in-depth rules and outlines can be downloaded here.

Last year’s competition garnered 20 entries from four different schools. The competition challenged students to take an old post office in the village of Hespeler, Ont. and create a theoretical design with a focus on hospitality or entertainment. Teams used design, architectural, and construction documentation skills to complete the project. The competition, summarized at www.cscdesigncompetition.com, required five product categories to be incorporated into the design, along with one master specification. Organizers decided not to impose a project budget to allow students creative freedom.

Open to schools in the Waterloo, Hamilton, and Toronto regions, the competition included an opportunity to visit the site in Hespeler. Entries were submitted from Ryerson University, Sheridan College, Humber College, and George Brown College.

The winning team, ‘SoundWave,’  included three third-year interior design students from Ryerson: Artemis Han, YingFang Zhu, and Jenifer Solorzano. The trio discovered the competition through a design course advocating reuse/heritage design.

“The competition itself was really intriguing as it was located at a real location we were able to visit. Our team loved the town of Hespeler and hoped we could create something unique that would cater to its people,” Han said.

Their winning design is centred on the idea of soundscaping—the merging of music with the environment—and includes an amphitheatre and an exhibition centre, among other social spaces. The aim was to create an urban attraction for residents to embrace the heritage, innovation, and culture of the area.

“We wanted our design to involve everyone in the town, so we took our time to get to know the site conditions, the people, the issues, and the history of Hespeler. An analysis of local events and organizations reveals Hespeler’s two most significant areas of interest are the arts (music, visual art, theatre), and the natural environment (trails and Forbes river),” Han explained.

This overview of the post office shows the team's design of a café, amphitheatre and other community spaces.
This overview of the post office shows the team’s design of a café, amphitheatre and other community spaces.

The team realized the town was in need of a space for members of the community to congregate and create music and sounds unique to its natural and urban environment. The introduction of soundscaping caters to a wide range of people because it is not limited to musicians, but can be performed by anyone. The team decided to use the natural and currently unused typography behind the site to assist with their design. The existing slope of the ground was a perfect space to form an outdoor amphitheatre that can be used year-round for musical and cultural events.

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