Christopher Hardy, Master of Architecture student, and Tomasz Weinberger, second-year undergraduate student, have received first place and a $3,000 award out of 81 entries from student teams around the world in the Canadian Academy of Architecture for Justice (CAAJ) competition: Breaking the Cycle Student Design for their project Black Creek Community Corridor.
The CAAJ invited architecture students to design a new Community Justice Centre, an informal community setting that challenges the present justice system and the issues faced by communities. As CAAJ shares “the long waits for trials, high rates of recidivism, harsh sentences for minor infractions, failure to rehabilitate offenders, and the overrepresentation of certain racial groups is one of these institutions being challenged in the context of social unrest, systematic racism and discrimination, and violent protests.” The design was evaluated by a jury of justice experts, architects and industry professionals.
Black Creek Community Corridor - Christopher Hardy and Tomasz Weinberger
Located within an underutilized hydro-corridor at Jane and Finch, the Black Creek Community Corridor aims to provide the residents of an underserved neighbourhood with a mix of recreational and judicial services. The site was selected based on its proximity to a popular community garden, a recreational trail, and its multiple access points to different modes of public transport.
The cut-outs within the rammed earth walls separate community and justice programming to facilitate an ease of wayfinding between the provided social, legal and recreational services. The motive was to create a striking and welcoming multi-program floor plan that can address all the needs of the Jane and Finch area. As a way to destigmatize the surrounding community, the project names its public amenities after notable citizens from the neighbourhood, such as Anthony Bennet, Jessie Reyez, and Paul Nguyen. The intent was to highlight their contributions to society in an effort to celebrate the community’s achievements and to inspire the youth to fight against stigma and adversity. They abolished the linearity, darkness and hierarchical seating of the Ontarian court.
Hardy and Weinberger share: “We’re very thankful to have been given the opportunity to explore how architecture can act as a tool for social change in disadvantaged communities. Through our ethnographic study of the neighbourhood of Black Creek, we devised a scheme that would restore the connections between the community and justice system through the integration of key social services and much-needed public amenities.”
They recently presented their winning competition entry at the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice (AAJ) Fall 2021 Conference discussing the topic of the emerging typology of Community Justice Centre with fellow panelists David Clusiau (NORR Architects, CAAJ Chair), Jacob Kummer (Montgomery Sisam Architects, CAAJ Communications & Competition Co-chair), Julian Jaffary (Justice Architecture Specialist, AIA Liaison & Competition Co-chair), and Julius Lang (Community Justice Expert, former Sr. Advisor at Center for Court Innovation).