Nathan Philips Square Bicycle Station

Toronto (Canada)
UOAI - Office for Architectural Praxis

Photo Credits: Scott Norsworthy

One of the projects that has mainly helped to revitalise the largest square in Toronto, Canada, is the Nathan Philips Square Bicycle Station, an underground car park entirely dedicated to the city’s cycling community, which was recently given two important recognitions: the 2019 Toronto Urban Design Awards and the special mention at the 2020 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition Award.
Signed by UOAI Architects, the Nathan Philips Square Bicycle Station has about 200 places for the storage of single or double bicycles, rooms for repair services, bathrooms, showers and fully climate-controlled changing rooms. The project of the space integrates structural elements with state-of-the-art solutions for covering and a distinctive aesthetic characteristic: through acidic-treated glasses on one side and Slimtech laminated stoneware slabs by Lea Ceramiche on the other, the wall coverings reproduce images and texts of the New City Hall Design Competition, the 1958 competition that saw an extraordinary international participation of 513 professionals and which represented a crucial moment in the history of Toronto’s modernist architecture. The photographs of the participants’ original architectural models (taken from the Canadian Architectural Archive and from the Toronto Reference Library) have been printed on Slimtech ultra-thin ceramic slabs (3.5mm thick) with a large format (3m x 1m) by Lea Ceramiche, a super-technological and eco-friendly material: having an intense golden colour, the imposing walls return a striking visual and graphic effect that also has a strong informative content. The printing of the images was carried out using a special technology that makes it possible to reproduce any image in high definition with aesthetic effects amplified by the pure materiality of the ceramic slab. The customisation is total: any idea can become a coating surface and transform the footprint of an industrial space, like the Nathan Philips Square Bicycle Station, into a modern and advanced place.  

Slimtech is also a green ceramic material with a very strong reduction in atmospheric emissions, an effective use of natural resources, savings on transport and packaging, reduction of waste and scrap, optimisation of energy performance.