THE ISLINGTON GALLERY OF ART: An Architectural Implementation of the 'Third Place'
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This thesis proposes turning a Toronto subway station into a gallery that will display temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Islington subway station, on the corner of Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue, will anchor a future civic and cultural centre and will become the social and public focal point of Etobicoke Centre. The building will turn this neighbourhood into a vibrant community, creating a self-sustaining node around which people will live, work, and play. This proposal has been inspired by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s concept of the ‘third place’. In contrast to the first and second places of home and work, the third place encompasses the social realm, being a neutral space where people can gather and interact. The proposal for the Islington Gallery of Art also adapts new urbanist Peter Calthorpe’s theory of the ‘Transit Oriented Development’ where the subway station is the central node in the neighbourhood. Both of these concepts will be discussed further in the thesis. The Islington Gallery of Art will bring commuters a direct connection with culture. This gallery will transform the public space of infrastructure into a setting for informal public life. A third place will be created where one currently does not exist. The thesis combines the three narratives of public space, public transportation, and civic culture in the design of a mixed-use building. It explores how transportation infrastructure and architecture can combine with contemporary art to instigate the development for a new kind of place, one that isn’t a traditional street or square, near the periphery of the City of Toronto.