When approached through the atmospheric “Cloud Park” by Stoss Landscape Urbanism, nARCHITECTS’ new Jack Layton Ferry Terminal first appears as a multifaceted jewel-like pavilion. Framed by trees in various states of seasonal change, the new terminal embraces the visitor with its five sculpturally curved and pearlescent facades: one each for the five orientations it addresses: the city, the Holding Bosque, the ferries, the islands, and the park. Sited carefully between these, the building no longer blocks the views that matter, but enhances them, redefining the relationship between the city and the Toronto Islands.
nARCHITECTS proposed a campus-like organization by splitting the Terminal into two smaller buildings – public amenities and ferry operations. Located on either side of the holding bosque, their siting provides a direct visual connection between the point of arrival from the city and the point of departure to the islands. The one story Terminal Pavilion gently increases in height from land to water, forging strong connections between them. Its unique diagonally stepping roof creates varying perceptions from different vantage points in the park, while incorporating clerestory glazing that illuminates the interior with a special light.
Shaped by multiple site lines and panoramic views in every direction, the Terminal Pavilion acts as a portal between the city and the islands. From under the undulating canopy of maple wood slats, visitors are oriented towards their various destinations, visible through the clear expanses of glass. The Toronto Islands appears dramatically as an unfolding horizon as soon as one enters the Pavilion. The majority of the pavilion is defined by a soaring, luminous, flexible hall for gathering, waiting and eating. Its interior balances an intimate feeling of being under a forest canopy with the uplifting feeling of its sculptural form. Carefully chosen materials continue the natural and elemental feeling of the immediate outdoors, and broader connections between architecture and landscape.