the RZLBD workshop offers a 56 km mega-structure above Yonge Street, toronto
imagine a 56 km long spatial mega-structure superimposed on toronto’s yonge street – the longest street in the world. this is what the RZLBD workshop offers with ‘#yongecity’, a conceptual project which aims to reduce the gap in the housing market with the provision of 134,400 affordable housing units Delivery package dwellings. with its seemingly perpetual line on Yonge Street, the ambitious project symbolizes equality and diversity, being accessible and occupant by all without financial or cultural discrimination. To illustrate the idea, the architect shared a series of postcards, concept drawings, and a manifesto written in the form of a love letter, which you can read below.
#yongecity, postcard 1
images courtesy of Atelier RZLBD
toronto, you are one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, proudly known as the “canadian mosaic”. However, despite all the optimism, you have also become one of the least affordable cities in the world, with 1 in 7 residents struggling for housing. you divided yourselves into city center, city center, city center and periphery, based on wealth, social class and ethnicity. your housing market is overexploited, and now we all know that the neoliberal market economy will only continue to maintain a society that marginalizes the weak and the poor ”, begins the RZLBD workshop.
#yongecity, postcard 2
continues the architect, ‘There is a land, a piece of land, which can be saved from the disease of real estate speculation: your streets, the lands which, owned and managed by the government, belong to everyone. for you, toronto, yonge street is an example. once considered the longest street in the world, its straight line is the “backbone” of the city, where finance, culture, entertainment, public transport, development and opportunity are concentrated. the reconquest of Yonge Street signifies – and catalyzes – the reconquest of the city for all its citizens. it allows the government to break through the market loop and become more proactive in caring for its people.
#yongecity, postcard 3
my proposal for you is to build above Yonge Street a long and mid-rise (~ 6 storeys) spatial mega-structure, the upper half of which is to be occupied by commercial and residential units, the lower half of which is to be dug (except for access and structural “feet”) for existing motor and pedestrian traffic, and at the “belt” of which the frame is to be coated to accommodate raised walkways for the public and residents. his seemingly huge undertaking will adapt to various circumstances, using the modular unit system and staged construction. unlike a typical tower, which has to be built in one take, the proposed design is to provide only the spatial mega-frame, manholes and services.
#yongecity, postcard 4
the prefabricated modular unit, such as a shipping container, is to be inserted into the post-construction of the space frame based on the unification grid system. the grid system will be determined by: 1) the design of Yonge Street, which is 18m wide (four traffic lanes 3m wide + two pedestrian lanes 3m wide), and whose length is 2.7 km from Front Street to Bloor Street, 18 km from Steeles Avenue and 56 km in its entirety; 2) the main intersections of Yonge Street, which, also corresponding to TTC subway stations, are the locations of the access and structure shafts; 3) The dimension of standard shipping container (W 6.0m / 12.0mxW 2.5mxh 3.0m). in its full establishment, the maximum of 134,400 units can be provided, well beyond the figure of over 116,000 people and families in need of housing in the city.
not only financially affordable and adaptable, the proposed design is also environmentally and socially sustainable. the north-south axis of Yonge Street allows all units to have favorable natural light and selected views to the east and west. central aisles between units promote pedestrian-friendly green spaces and open social gatherings. long, flat roofs can harvest comparatively more clean energy than towers, which by definition have minimal horizontal areas. by extending horizontally rather than vertically, construction is less damaging to nature; excavation for the foundation is minimized (large weight divided into several smaller weights); sewage, mechanical and electrical systems are distributed rather than concentrated; traffic is dispersed rather than congested; density is stretched rather than extruded; etc.
diagram; phases one, two and three
in cities, a tower symbolizes inequality and hierarchy; the richer you are, the higher you live. it leads to becoming a self-centered and individualistic person. yet living in a market-oriented housing unit, which shows no real consideration for individual needs and desires, paradoxically suffers from a lack of identity. let’s tilt the tower 90 °. this seemingly perpetual line on Yonge Street will symbolize equality and diversity, being accessible and usable by everyone without financial or cultural discrimination. forming a long and continuous neighborhood that integrates well with the high environment, it will lead to becoming an egalitarian and collectivist person. yet, at the same time, through the infinite iterations of the modular unit, we will find the expression of identity.
ps postcards are attached 🙂 ‘
site plan, phase one (2.7 km to the upper street)
typology (section, plan, axonometry), 10 iterations among many others!
taxonomy of dwellings, 100 iterations among many others!
Last name: #yongecity
program: town planning / manifesto / housing
location: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, Canada
architect: atelier RZLBD / Reza Aliabadi
design team: Reza Aliabadi, James Chungwon Park, Levi Bruce
designboom received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘, where we invite our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.
edited by: lynne myers | design boom