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Alluvium design board

National recognition for “Alluvium” design

March 30, 2021 — 

Architecture thesis student Tali Budman and an interdisciplinary team earn “special mention” and cash award for their competition entry to the Ontario Place: Call for Counterproposals.

Their proposal, “Alluvium: Water, Habitat, and Community,” envisions a habitat on Toronto’s waterfront that redefines relationships with nature and mitigates the climate crisis.

With a series of interventions, their design aims to heighten awareness of human impact on nature by redefining relationships with it. As the project brief states, “Rather than relying on technology to solve our problems, this team believes that the climate crisis originated from a social issue. Therefore, these interventions use engagement, education and awareness as tools to motivate social change.”

The award-winning proposal was created by four collaborators: three from the University of Manitoba, Tali Budman (M.Arch thesis student in the Department of Architecture, advised by Prof. Lisa Landrum), Connery Friesen (M.Arch graduate, 2020 and intern at 2architecture Inc.), and Ryan Coates (Master of Landscape Architecture graduate, 2017, and sessional instructor); plus Ryerson University Master of Planning student Paul Arkilander.

According to Budman, while remote teaming was a challenge, “it allowed for the unique experience of working with students from different backgrounds and various universities across Canada.”

The Manitoba-Ryerson proposal was one of three projects selected for recognition by a distinguished jury from more than 40 entries, submitted by teams of students and recent graduates from across Canada.

Cultural Heritage
The Call for Counterproposals was part of the Future of Ontario Place Project to generate broad public discourse and responsible direction for redeveloping this iconic modern site in Toronto. Facing development threats by Ontario’s provincial government, the site was placed on the 2020 World Monuments Watch alongside only twenty-four other cultural heritage sites of global importance.

The Future of Ontario Place Project is led by the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, with support from the World Monuments Fund and the Architectural Conservancy Ontario. The initiative is helping to imagine the future of Ontario Place as a cultural asset, and to hold the Government of Ontario responsible for conservation planning and consultation with Indigenous peoples and the public, while raising awareness of the heritage value of modern architecture and natural eco-systems.

Succession Plan (not masterplan)
Significantly, the approach of the team Arkilander-Budman-Coates-Friesen radically rethinks top-down approaches to the issues. According to their brief, instead of a master plan they propose a succession plan, “as a way to work alongside the ecology of the site… allow[ing] the site to become one of study, research, and leisure for humans, animals, and vegetation.”

Their design includes an open aviary to support the 409 indigenous avian species; retrofitted “pods” to serve as an urban climate adaptation centre and arboricultural facility; a rain tower to bring critical attention to Toronto’s flooding issues; and a roving park and resilient urban canopy.

Drawing on public outreach strategies, diverse knowledge systems, and seven generational thinking, “Alluvium: Water, Habitat, and Community” creates conditions for a more sustainable and equitable future.

For the full award announcement and all submissions to the Ontario Place: A Call for Counterproposals, go to 


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