Playful Parklet “High Strung” in Downtown Toronto

Winning parklet design that provides rest and reprieve on the busy streets of the city

The King Street Transit Priority Corridor is a 2.6-kilometer-long operation on King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis that prioritizes the flow of public transportation to relieve traffic congestion in the Toronto downtown core. Complementing changes to motorized through-traffic, the city has expanded the public realm on King Street with parklets sourced annually through the “Everyone is King Design Build Competition”.

Brook McIlroy’s winning response for 2019, “High Strung”, breathes colour and life into the fabric of the city at its location near King and Church Streets. “High Strung” weaves nylon rope into a simple, steel frame to create a playful screen and shade structure for the seating area below. The resulting symphony of coloured patterns is composed of overlapping materials that brighten King Street while creating a place of rest within the bustling city.

As a design-build parklet intended to withstand the elements, the use of nylon rope was selected both for its colour and pliable nature as well as its durability and resilience. Rope can be used to create limitless striking shapes, and can stretch, squeeze, and contort into small spaces without feeling heavy or obtrusive. It is easily-sourced, UV-resistant, supports heavy loads, and is resistant to weathering and oils – and available in a wide variety of colours.

The project was conceived and built by Brook McIlroy landscape team members Colin Berman, Kyle Gatchalian, Afshin Ashari, and Katie Black. Though originally intended to be removed in December of 2019, the parklet’s durability led the city to leave the installation for several extra months, continuing to offer a sense of reprieve from the high-strung, busy streets.

Location

Toronto, ON

Client

City of Toronto

Date

2019

Scope

Landscape Architecture