Pioneer Village station

Will Alsop’s practice, aLL Design, in collaboration with *The Spadina Group Associates (TSGA), a joint venture of IBI Group, LEA Consulting Ltd. and WSP **, have designed and completed two of six stations on the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC’s) new TYSSE (Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension).

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Project will provide a critical extension for the existing TTC subway system across the municipal boundary between the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York. 

© photographer Wade Zimmerman

Pioneer Village station straddles the border of York Region, beneath the intersection of Steeles Avenue West and Northwest Gate, anchoring a corner of York University Campus. The station will serve as an integrated regional transport hub serving up to 20,000 subway passenger trips daily, providing 1,881 commuter parking spaces and two separate regional bus terminals. The location is otherwise underdeveloped and it is intended that the station entrances and bus terminals will create a public focal point that will serve the future development of the surrounding area, beginning with Steeles Avenue West.

The subway station’s entrances were designed as a pair of sculptural structures; their height exceeding that necessary, to increase their visibility - 'We learn a lot from cathedrals,' said Will Alsop. Rendered in weathering steel, these two structures mirror each other in shape and scale. The bus station canopy – also Corten steel – has a huge cantilevered roof, the surface of which is planted with meadow grasses, to create a ‘green-roof’ and to provide shelter for waiting passengers.

© photographer Wade Zimmerman

Both Pioneer Village station and Finch West station (below) comprise beautifully executed concrete work – in Pioneer Village the interior walls are faceted, highly-polished concrete and the supporting columns along the length of the platforms are angled and ovoid in section.

Public Art Installation: “LightSpell”, designed by realities:united, Berlin, is a “super sculpture”; a hybrid between art and the lighting of the subway station. The interactive installation consists of a suspended array of 40 light elements that run along the ceiling throughout the station. Each element produces the alphabet; special characters and numerals, enabling passengers to send messages that appear on the display. The debate on censorship of this installation is ongoing.

© photographer Wade Zimmerman

Pioneer Village station incorporates the following environmental initiatives:

• Cool roofs and green roofs;

• Increased daylight levels to reduce electric lighting power usage;

• LED lighting in pylon signs, and energy efficient lighting in illuminated wayfinding signage to reduce power consumption;

• Water efficient plumbing fixtures;

• Energy efficient HVAC system;

• Reduced storm water runoff into the municipal drainage system by utilizing green roof landscaping and soft landscaping areas adjacent to other building runoff areas;

• Short term bicycle parking spaces; 

• Landscaping with native and drought-tolerant species.

Pioneer Village

LOCATION: Toronto, ON, Canada

TYPE: Transportation - Metro and Bus stations

CONTEXT: Major interchange on newly extended Spadina Line

CLIENT: Toronto Transit Commission

SIZE: 16,200 m²

YEAR: 2011

COMPLETION: December 2017 VALUE: $165M CAD

IBI Group is the architect of record for both Finch West and Pioneer Village Station, based on the scheme designed by Will Alsop, in joint venture with LEA Consulting Ltd. and WSP. LightSpell was designed by Tim and Jan Edler of realities:united