U of T architecture students celebrate resilience in Winter Stations design competition

John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design students use mirrors to play with the concept of reflection in their Winter Stations installation, called Introspection (rendering courtesy of the students)

A team of University of Toronto students from the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design is one of six finalists chosen to present an installation as part of the Winter Stations exhibit at Woodbine Beach. 

Inspired by emotions felt during quarantine and isolation – and in keeping with the competition's theme this year, resilience – the team plays with the concept of reflection by using mirrors in their piece, titled Introspection

“In highlighting the subject’s presence, we hope to promote introspection into one’s own emotional resilience as one faces their own reflection,” the team explains in the project description. 

“We are very proud to be representing the Daniels Faculty at this year’s Winter Stations,” says Christopher Hardy, a second-year student in the master of architecture program and team lead. “This project is an opportunity for us to not only showcase our design talents and creativity but also to reconnect with our fellow peers after almost two years of remote learning.”

The annual Winter Stations competition has received submissions from more than 90 countries. Established by local architecture and design firms, the contest is intended to draw attention and visitors to the beaches in Toronto's east end in the winter.

Each project is required to incorporate an existing lifeguard station in its design. They are selected through a single stage international design competition and stay up for six weeks. The exhibition runs from Feb. 21 to March 3. The winning team receives a $2,500 honorarium. 

This isn't the first time that a project by Daniels Faculty students appears in the finals of the competition. In 2017, U of T students had two projects in the exhibit, Midwinter Fire and I See You Ashiyu.

Christopher Law, Jacob Henriquez and Maggie MacPhie assemble their project, Introspection, at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design in January (photo courtesy of Christopher Law)

The Introspection team members designed a red pavilion – plywood sheets covered with wooden slats – surrounding a lifeguard tower. The pavilion’s inner walls are lined with mirrors. “While the trellis roof allows the sun to illuminate the interior and its visitors, the red lifeguard tower stands unyielding in the centre of the pavilion, reminding us of the inherent stability within us,” the project description says.

Dean Juan Du says she is looking forward to visiting Introspection and the other installations when Winter Stations opens over the Family Day long weekend this month. “This pavilion is a timely and creative expression of a theme we’ve all had to navigate intimately,” she says. “Our faculty, students and staff have come together and risen to incredible challenges these last couple of years. Both Introspection and the larger exhibition invite people to reflect on our vulnerabilities and strengths, on what it means to be resilient both individually and collectively.”

On April 2, Du will be hosting a symposium with a similar theme: “Design for Resilient Communities.”

Hardy and his team hope to start installing Introspection at Woodbine Beach this week. “We invite Daniels community members to check out our pavilion,” he says. “It’s a space that hopefully will inspire people to not only think about what we’ve been through, but also what we’re capable of.”

The Introspection team includes: 

  • Christopher Hardy, master of architecture
  • Tomasz Weinberger, bachelor of arts, architectural studies
  • Clement Sung, master of architecture
  • Jason Wu, master of architecture
  • Jacob Henriquez, master of architecture
  • Christopher Law, bachelor of arts, architectural studies
  • Anthony Mattacchione, master of architecture
  • George Wang, master of architecture
  • Maggie MacPhie, master of architecture
  • Zoey Chao, master of architecture
  • Fiona Lim Tung, assistant professor, teaching stream, and project sponsor and supervisor



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