Parmarbrook were commissioned by Jason Bruges Studio on behalf of Canadian developer Tridel, to structurally design a highly innovative interactive art installation. It resides in a privately owned, publicly accessible park as part of Tridel’s 300 Front Street West condominium development, in Toronto’s busy downtown entertainment district. The piece is entitled ‘Back to Front’, which relates to its location on Front Street.

‘Back to Front’, consists of an array of monolithic granite structures that sense changing levels of light within the park in real-time. People walk through the park, trees shift and the sun moves across the site, casting dynamic shadows onto the monoliths. These shadows are sensed by the artwork and transferred through the depth of the granite structure to reveal animated silhouettes on the opposite side. Each of the monoliths measure three meters tall, 60cm wide and 20cm deep. Images are revealed by controlling an array of LED lights, which are diffused by glass lenses embedded within the stone. The aim is to create an enjoyable and dynamic experience for pedestrians, which reflects the changing weather fronts that envelop the city.

The structural framework has been put through a rigorous programme of accelerated weather testing, related to extreme site conditions characteristic of Toronto. Freeze thaw cycles, accelerated weathering and surface wind loading were tested at a UK materials laboratory to inform the development of material joints, structural details and electronic PCBs that can withstand extreme weather cycles over many years outdoors.

Client: Tridel
Architect: Jason Bruges
Location: Toronto, Canada