January 25th, 2009

Super-Real Forest Exhibition at Harbourfront

Harbourfront Exhibition mode

gh3 exhibited its work on the Super-Real Forest at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Here is part of the exhibition text:

Amid the growing interest in ‘greening’ the city, it is important the we not overlook the simplest, most fundamental tools at our disposal. The constituent elements of our environment—soil, water, trees—are among the most basic yet powerful green utilities we can deploy, and their capacity to improve the structure and function of our public spaces is extraordinary. Revitalizing the urban forest should consequently be a primary sustainability strategy for cities.

As a speculative precedent, gh3 designed the Super-Real Forest for the Toronto waterfront. The project introduces bigger, healthier, longer living trees; harnesses rainwater as a valuable resource; and controls storm water runoff to mitigate pollution, flooding and erosion.

The Super-Real Forest also transforms public space from ‘open’ to ‘filled.’ In the City of Toronto, two models for the design of public space prevail: the planned and planted garden, and the unprogrammed open space that is nominally intended for year-round use, but which is in fact abandoned for the coldest two-thirds of the year. The Super-Real Forest accepts that city public spaces are interstitial, occupying voids between office towers, condominiums and public buildings. We propose that these spaces should be filled with varied and interesting programmatic elements that can be used throughout the year, existing in sheltered and hospitable micro-climates created by a newly dense urban forest.

Super-Real Forest section