Cloud Gardens

CloudGardens.jpg
Toronto, ON
Canada
Cloud Gardens

Landscape Information

Located in Toronto’s financial district, this small (.2 hectares) site was set aside for use as a park in 1989 as an amenity of the nearby Bay-Adelaide office development. Designed by Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the MBTW Group, Landscape Architects, and artist Margaret Priest in 1990, the park sits atop a subterranean parking garage and comprises several distinct spaces and elements. Framing the southeast edge of the park is Priest’s sculptural homage to construction workers, a six-meter-high wall of iron girders forming one-meter-square sections containing artfully placed construction materials, from copper shingles to etched glass. The colorful, quilt-like wall is fronted by a series of ramps and terraces, whose ascent is marked by horizontal courses of exposed limestone emulating geologic stratigraphy. Farther along the eastern perimeter is the waterfall, where 1,800 gallons of water per minute spill down three deep, concrete channels to a series of cascades and pools before flowing south in a runnel to a copper dam. At the northeast corner, over the entrance to the parking garage, is a glass-enclosed conservatory, where ferns, palms, and other tropical plants can be observed via catwalks and are bathed in mist reminiscent of mountainous elevations. The sharp angularity and industrial materials on the eastern half of the park are balanced by curving footpaths and planting beds on the west, where native hemlock, oaks, ash, and maples form a dense canopy over perennials. The park won a Regional Merit Award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in 1995.