Local Materials Enhance Lobby’s Inclusive Placemaking

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Sherwood Cc Int153

Sherwood Cc Int100Located in the Toronto suburb of Milton, Ont., Sherwood Community Centre lives up to its name by combining activity spaces such as a pool and ice arena with a library and community room. The sense of community is evident even in lobby detailing, from the locally quarried stone walls to the inclusive, multitiered benches that serve as spectating and socializing areas between the facility’s main program areas. According to MJMA interior designer Tarisha Dolyniuk, the Eramosa stone appears in tile form on 60-foot-tall walls that frame look-ins to activity spaces. Metal studs, trim and cement board were employed along with the water-cut, inch-thick tiles to give the walls additional relief and texture, which is further enhanced visually by skylighting. The two separate benches are topped by the type of white oak found in Canada’s boreal forest and along Ontario’s Bruce Trail. Designers opted for a durable butcher-block design capable of withstanding wear while celebrating the resulting scratch-and-scuff patina of use over time. The benches are shaped to welcome gatherers of all ages and body sizes, as well as to visually corral the lobby’s secondary seating options. Dolyniuk says the materials selected “express identity and value through nature and things that are found around you.” Moreover, the proximity of these design elements to programming maximizes “opportunities for people to know what programs are offered, what other people are doing — bringing community attention and support to what’s going on around you by having these kinds of moments.” That all contributes to what she calls inclusive placemaking. “When people engage in public space, they generally want to express themselves as well as support other participants who are different regarding their social perspectives and activities,” Dolyniuk says. “The key is to enhance user group variety in these types of spaces.”

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