Def. GAP JUNCTION (n): a one-of-a-kind intercellular connection between multiple cell-types.
In urban design, refers to points in space where multiple systems are merged to create destination and/or threshold.
However the design of the Queensway unfolds, it will undoubtedly bring more people, plants, and butterflies to the neighborhoods it traverses. Gap Junction offers a strategy to bring the world above and below the new park together.
Visitors arrive by ramp, stairs or elevators from a sidewalk thick with rain-fed plantings and street trees. Their path up ascends through the enchanted reach of trees and shafts of sunlight. At the street level, a busy four-season farmers' market and event space activates the street while children play between tree trunks and parents rest on benches. Plants grow out of the structure’s sides, blurring the lines between architecture and nature. Change from the Queensway’s redevelopment moves into the streetscape, bringing new ideas in aesthetics and sustainability to the neighborhood.
At the top, the ramp and wooded courtyard create minor circulation pinch points that bring people together along seat walls and thickly planted native vegetation. Birds and butterflies move effortlessly between planted patches and drink in perched wetlands.
People find shade and shelter from rain under a green roof planted with sun- and wind-tolerant native plants. This structure also frames a view of the wooded courtyard and, in the other direction, the Queensway.
At night, the ground level glows with down-lighting arranged to allow stargazing. The farmers' market glows outward, lighting and putting new eyes on the street. Bikers' lights flash white forward and red behind as the big trees tower in front and then fade behind them on their journeys.
From a distance, the Gap Junction’s trees rise as high as buildings around it, even higher over time. Park visitors look forward to it as a destination, a place to find shade, and a way home. Migrating birds seek out its branches. Ecologically critical species come to know and rely on the Queensway as it matures.
Gap Junction brings all these elements together to merge the park above with the street below, providing a platform for future design, use, and stewardship.