Winners of the university’s annual design competition reimagine
the downtown Toronto park with an eye to inclusivity and accessibility
(Toronto—January 30, 2012) Two teams of students have tied for first place in OCAD University’s annual design competition For All, which this year challenged students to redesign Toronto’s Grange Park as an outdoor space that engages people of all ages, abilities and culture. The winning formula was both teams’ approaches to the design process, which looked at the history of Grange Park and its connections to the community.
Over the course of four intense days, 14 teams of students responded with design concepts to turn Grange Park into an environment without barriers that supports a communal experience designed for full enjoyment and participation. “At OCAD U we embrace the notion that excellence flourishes in inclusive environments that value diversity and equity,” said Beth Alber, Associate Dean of OCAD University’s Faculty of Design, and organizer of this year’s competition. “What better way to demonstrate this than to invigorate what is literally in our own backyard?”
One of the competition’s major requirements was for students to apply The Principles of Universal Design as developed by The Center for Universal Design at NC State University, to their concepts. These principles stipulate that designs need to be equitable, flexible, simple and intuitive, that they communicate effectively, have a tolerance for error, require low physical effort, and use appropriate size and space.
Fourth-year Environmental Design students Bettina Carating, Alissa Bryson, Alexandra Chacinski, Rui Felix (third-year Environmental Design) and Vuk Dragojevic (fourth-year Integrated Media), created the concept Making Moments: Gather. Play. Transit. Repose. It transforms the park into a culturally vibrant space that hosts a variety of community-oriented events and activities, such as weekly markets, performances and exhibitions. Using Universal Design Principles they added new pathways, lighting and accessible and interactive water features into the playground zone that enhances the parks exploratory learning opportunities.
Students Hannah Smith, Calvin Kuo, Maxyne Baker (third-year Environmental Design), Bohdan Anderson (thesis Graphic Design) and Matthew Kalimin (third-year Graphic Design) are co-winners of first place. Their concept Sense. Play. Engage. is a response to the team’s realization that universal design is not a resolution of boundaries, but rather a sensitivity and awareness of the diversity of all people and their experiences of a space. Their concept invites users to meander through the park using their senses: touch, scent, sight, movement and sound, with the intention of reconnecting the user with urban nature. Each team receives a $1500 prize.
A keynote talk delivered by Judith Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State kicked off the competition. Huemann’s talk, which attracted wide attendance from Toronto’s community of people with disabilities, encouraged audience participation and evolved into community discussion around advocacy, awareness, acceptance and integration of people of all abilities.
Competition sponsor, the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) also took part in mentorship sessions over the weekend. OCAD University is grateful for both CILT’s generous sponsorship and participation in sharing the organization’s insight and experience with students.
Other winners of the competition include:
Third Place ($500): Arula: community hearth and gathering place
Designed by Andrew Morson, Corey Mostacca, Karan Patel, Ksenija Gogic, Sakari Hartikainen (fourth-year Industrial Design) and Cassandra Tice (third-year Graphic Design)
Honourable Mention: A Park FOR ALL Seasons
Designed by Joanne Jin (fourth-year Material Art & Design), Benjamin Verdicchio (second-year Environmental Design), Anton Kotelenets (fourth-year Illustration) and Brad MacDonald (second-year Advertising)
Concepts by all of the student teams are on exhibit until Friday, February 3 in OCAD University’s Great Hall (Level 2, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto). For more information on the competition and the exhibit, visit OCAD University’s website.
More about the competition
OCAD University's Design Competition is an annual event wherein interdisciplinary teams of three to six students are presented with a design challenge — usually a real-world issue — and over the course of an extended weekend asked to respond with their solutions. Faculty advisors with expertise relating to the challenge are on hand on Saturday to answer questions about concepts and technicalities, and students must present their designs by the end of day on the following Monday. Past competitions have challenged students to improve the public transit customer experience, to redesign the public space in front of Toronto Police Service’s 52 Division headquarters and to imagine the kinds of products or services that might exist 10 years into the future. Many of OCAD U graduates cite the challenge as one of the most important experiences in their time at the university.
OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
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For more information contact:
Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)