‘Island Symposium’ was designed as a centre for a summer urban agriculture symposium program for high school students located on Toronto Island. In collaboration with Rayna Syed, we designed two buildings to house the student and instructor residences, living spaces, and a number of interactive workshop spaces.

ISince urban farming provides select solutions to environmental and socio-economic problems, concept for the symposium was based on transformation. We will strive to transform the congested metropolis with a balance of gardens and a new abundance of greenery. Transforming the mind-sets of the people who live in cities is essential in transforming the city itself. Using this word as a starting point, our projects and discussions at the symposium aspire to transform the concrete and industrialised city into a greener one by incorporating urban farming. ‘Transformation’ also applies to the change in the landscape of Toronto we hope to see.

We were able to design light and airy structures with many openings free walls since the symposium was to be used in the warmer months of July and August only. This increased the connection to nature for the students taking part in the workshops and camp. The primary building wraps around a central exploratory garden increasing the connection between the students and nature. The large kitchen is also just steps away from the garden with its own green wall growing herbs inside. Lastly, the student residence building is a short walk from the learning spaces, and provides more enclosure and privacy while maintaining the feeling of being outdoors.

Full view of Symposium model showing both learning and housing buildings. 

Close up of site model.

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