I've put my Thesis aside since October to work full time on organizing the ACADIA conference that happened at the architecture school at the end of October. As soon as the conference was over, I packed my bags and boarded a plane with the rest of the Philip Beesley team to put together an installation sculpture at the MMCA Seoul. We got over the jetlag pretty quickly because having very little sleep prior to traveling half way across the world helps with adjusting one's sleep schedule.
For the first 13 days while in Seoul, we climbed scaffolds, assembled glass chains, put together spars and fiddled with electronics. Although we spent most of our time in the museum, we've gotten to see glimpses of the Korean experience--we dined on the floor and watched a shaman performance to say the least. With many many wonderful hands and help, the installation turned out incredible. You can see more pictures of it here. P.S. I heard it will be on the December issue of Korean Vogue!
I always complained that every time I went to a cottage it would be raining, but not this time. We spent the most beautiful summer weekend at Geoff's farm back in July. The water was warm and the dock was very well utilized as a hub for sun bathing, reading and great company.
As the leaves are changing colours these days, I can only reminisce the hot summer we've had. I'm looking forward to the fall. Hikes and layered clothes in this weather especially make me excited.
The day started grey and I could feel the increased humidity in the air. It’s been like this since yesterday. It’s been bottling up and it wanted to rain, but only was able to squeeze a little drizzle last night. Finally, by late morning today, the sky got really dark and rain started pouring down immediately. I could hear the increased intensity of the rain drops hitting the pavement. I always enjoy a summer storm pour; they are usually short and satisfying. Within five minutes, the rain stopped, though the sky was still grey with the sun peaking in and out a couple of times.
I thought the rain might give me a little more clue as to where the Garrison creek used to run through. Maybe there is a slight depression throughout the park that marks the creek’s past life. This was not the case. I walked around the park trying to make note and differentiate the various ground conditions. Sure some areas are wetter than others but they come in patches. The ground of the east side of the park was generally moister than the west side. This was probably only due to the natural slope of the site. The areas under the trees didn’t dry as fast as those that situated in a clearing. These all made perfect sense to me. The only thing that puzzled me was that I found a few puddles of water in muddy dirt on and next to the X shaped paths crossing the park. This may be because of the soil in these areas don’t drain as well and water tends to build up. Another speculation of mine is that the path cutting from the southwest to the northeast corner of the park may be following the previous course of the Garrison Creek. Looking at the creek diagram shown on the Toronto Lost Rivers website, this speculation may very well be true.
I was on a mission this afternoon. I had planned to work on my thesis abstract while enjoying a fine cup of coffee in a hip coffee shop, but to much of my disappointment, I forgot my wallet. What's better than coffee in a fine afternoon I thought? A walk in the park and neighborhood I'm so invested in would be pretty lovely. With my film camera in hand this time, I decided to walk west from the park this time. Crossing over George Ban Park, a saw a humble playground right across Ossington Avenue. As I approached it, the building next to it appeared to be a school. I later found out on Google it's the Ossington Junior Public School. I followed a side path between the end of the row houses and the playground and found myself in the back of the school in a lush school garden. There are small plots of gardens next to the school building, and across from those is a series of stepped gardens with a variety of vegetables neatly planted and labeled--kale, cauliflower, tomatoes and many of which I could not name. Turning a corner I found the space opened up and there are more stepped gardens to my left. To my right are the backyards of houses and in the middle of this open space situate another playground. The school seems quite; I guess it is because of the summer break, though the gardens are kept very well.
The Friends of Roxton Road Parks (FoRRP) is hosting a block party at the park today so I thought I would check it out and walk around the neighbourhood. People seemed to be still setting up when I parked my bike this morning, so I headed into the laneways first to see the backyards of the community. I entered an alley perpendicular and just east to the park, ahead of me was an intersection. The path in north-south direction seemed to be newly paved. The asphalt was a light grey colour with near perfect surface texture. I turned left and after about 40 steps I was soon faced with a long single storey red brick wall. At the time, I thought it belonged to a warehouse but later realized that was the back wall of the 24-hour Metro on College St. The laneway next to the wall is a wide one--at least 8 meters in width. The paving here is not as nice, you can see the cracks and the occasional weeds growing out of them. I turned my way back onto the newly paved laneway--6 meters wide with garages lining both side of the road--this is a standard laneway setup. There are the occasional push-backs from the lane that reveal people's backyards. In these cases, garages have been removed and cars park either in a porch or simply on the driveway. Some car garages have been converted into studios or have studio/offices added onto the second floor. These are sort of the start of the laneway housing typology that Bridgett Shim and Donald Chong studied extensively in Site Unseen Since garages are usually built as non-conditioned spaces, most laneway studios have to rely on window air conditioners. Thought, I wonder how bearable it is to work there in the winter.
One thing I was very happy and a bit surprised to discover was how much people have grown produce in their backyards. Many families has trellises set up for grape vines. I suppose they also function as really great backyard shading in the summer. Tomatoes is a common plant to grow around here as well. Some gardens are filled with plants and I can hardly distinguish them all. One has has a large corner lot where the laneway turns the corner and the house was setback from the side lane leaving a generous space for their a garden. It is filled with Zucchini plants. The large fan like leaves cover much of the plot and hide the zucchini fruits within. I didn't see many flower gardens, but instead, flowers sprung from pavement cracks and between where curbs and paving meet. They are mostly wild daisies and dandelions. They have been spurts of nice discoveries as I continued my morning walk.