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09.26.14 – Alumna Megan Torza explores Toronto’s changing relationship with its ravines in RavinePortal exhibition

Alumna Megan Torza (March 2005), in partnership with New York’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, has curated the exhibition RavinePortal, opening this evening at 50 Park Road, on the threshold of the Rosedale Valley.

Featuring work by local artists, architects, environmentalists and planners, RavinePortal considers the role that public art can play in the enjoyment and interpretation of the city’s ravine landscapes, and provides a platform for discussion of recent City-led master planning efforts in the Lower Don Valley to establish a future vision for the ravines as a form of public linear park that is sustainable and achievable.

RavinePortal
September 26 - November 21
50 Park Road, Toronto
Opening reception: September 26, 6:30 - 9:30pm

RavinePortal aims to provide a greater understanding of the role Toronto’s ravines can play in supporting an increasingly dense and urban city, and explores how environmental stewardship efforts can continue while access, use, amenity and programming of the ravines is accommodated and increased.

The exhibition will include two RavineTalks by Toronto environmental and design leaders: “Expect the Unexpected” on October 9, and “Possible Futures” on October 30; as well as a RavineWalk on September 26 from 6:00 - 7:30. All events will be recorded and broadcast through the WorldWide Storefront’s online platform, and presented in New York City within the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s gallery.
                                                             
“Toronto’s growth and intensification is remarkable. But as the population of our city increases, the demand for accessible public open space also increases,” says Torza, who is now a Partner at DTAH. “This demand reflects a renewed appreciation of being in nature, of living within walking distance of green. The ravines have the tremendous potential to fulfill the open space needs of Toronto’s citizens. The challenge that the stewards of the ravines face is how to accommodate more people, access and use without losing the unique characteristics that make Toronto’s ravines unlike any other open space network in the world. This is a challenge that is shared with the design community, and it is not a bad problem to have.”
 
RavinePortal transforms the entrance of the historic 50 Park Road studio into a public exhibition venue visible to pedestrians, cyclists and commuters. Projected on the building’s front window the exhibition integrates text, photography and mapping with visionary proposals produced by local designers, students, environmentalists and artists to communicate the vital role the ravines play in the life of the city.
 
Contributors include:

  • Dan Bergeron
  • Aaron Vincent Elkaim
  • Michelle Gay
  • Amy Lavender Harris
  • Students from Etobicoke School for the Arts
  • Students from U of T’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
  • Well and Good
  • No. 9 Contemporary Art and the Environment
  • Evergreen
  • Toronto Trees and Parks Foundation
  • Toronto Park People
  • Pan Am Path  
  • #LoveTheRavines
  • Toronto and Region Conservation
  • City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation
  • City of Toronto Archives
  • North York Arts  
  • UforChange

Support was provided by DTAH, while 3M and Ian Garrett, Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, provided in-kind donation of material and expertise.
 
“As members of the design community who do a lot of work on public projects, we feel a great responsibility to share our thinking process, and the key considerations in the problems we set out to solve, with the public,” says Torza. “RavinePortal is the first in what I hope to be an ongoing series of exhibitions on important design problems that are affecting Toronto right now, empowering the public with information in order to encourage greater engagement in the design of our city.”

Megan Torza is an architect whose professional development has been influenced by a strong personal interest in the topic of collective memory and its manifestation in the adaptive reuse of heritage structures and the integration of contemporary architectural expression into historic urban fabric. Megan joined DTAH in 2006 and became a partner in 2012. Key experience includes Artscape Wychwood Barns and Evergreen Brick Works, as well as numerous feasibility studies and built projects including urban infill housing, heritage restoration and reuse, and the design of environments for children.

Prior to completing her Master of Architecture degree at the University of Toronto, Megan studied the history of art in Toronto and at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England.  Having begun her architectural studies the morning of September 11, 2001, her graduate thesis proposed a new public forum and information centre for the residents of Lower Manhattan within two historical tenements straddling an empty lot for which the Storefront for Art and Architecture served as valuable precendent. She has taught the history of Contemporary Architecture within the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program at the University of Toronto, and has lectured at Ryerson University and the University of Waterloo.
 
DTAH architects, landscape architects, planners and urban designers, have been offering a unique mix of interdisciplinary services since 1972 to institutions, federal and provincial government agencies, municipalities, developers and corporations.
 
Storefront for Art and Architecture was founded in 1982 as a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement of innovative positions in architecture, art and design. Their program of exhibitions, artists talks, film screenings, conferences and publications is intended to generate dialogue and collaboration across geographic, ideological and disciplinary boundaries. As a public forum for emerging voices, Storefront explores vital issues in art and architecture with the intent of increasing awareness of and interest in contemporary design.