Celine Li

Celine Li

Toronto, ON, CA


ByWard Catalyst: An urban intervention to light up the Sussex Heritage Courtyards

Located within the historic ByWard Market area in downtown Ottawa, the Sussex Heritage Courtyards have a great potential to become an iconic destination to enrich the character and diversity of the city.

By the re-planning of tour routes and the design of structures, our plan aims at on the basis of solving existing problems, improving walkability and usability to reactivate this set of unique, linked urban spaces. For the issue of lack of connectivity and visibility, we plan to have a main walking path to increase the directivity of the ground level, meanwhile adding a signage system to enhance the sight connection. Those signs are also applied to new public service furniture, such as trash cans, seats, etc. to enhance the convenience and unity of courtyards. In addition, the barrier-free design is considered in courtyards with a height difference such as Beaux-Arts Court. Moreover, to respect those surrounding heritage buildings, different materials are used to undertake different courtyard identities. Through providing various activities, we hope to attract potential customers and bring economic returns to surrounding businesses.

The illuminating system that combines different activity facilities to prolong the use time and create unified while identified courtyards is the key spotlight of our plan. The lighting path goes through all five courtyards, connecting the gallery and cathedral to the ByWard Market from north to south. In Beaux-Arts Court, the sight view from the cathedral to the Tin house is preserved, and the trellis, step theatre and central fountain plaza provide space for outdoor art exhibitions with the neighboring gallery; in Tin House Court, “Cloud Gate” enhances the sense of entry and provides a characteristic space, and green canopy and spacious plaza give opportunities to both leisure, catering and big events; centered on bear sculptures, a rotatable fountain square is set up in Jeanne d’ Arc Court to form a stage for playing and dancing, and a skating site during winter; along Clarendon Lane, we create a place for outdoor movies; in York Court, a book-themed dome covers this place and the temporary pavilion provides space for the antique market in Spring and Autumn and Christmas market in winter; in Clarendon Court, a sports structure and open-air coffee bring vitality to the venue, the moon-shaped on the arches and the colored lights in the porch bring fun to the night. Also, from rest, study, parties to exhibitions, the design of detachable modules integrates different activities and functions, making those courtyards more flexible. Finally, these five courtyards will be a catalyst to reactivate the site, not only within the design boundary but also in a broader area.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
My Role: Team leader
Additional Credits: Yuxin Ti, Siqing Hu