Market Square
Jeff McNeill Photography

Market Square

Janet Rosenberg and Studio en tant que Architectes.

The new civic square at Guelph’s City Hall is an important gathering space for the community and host to many events such as music festivals, the Summer Disco Party, Summer Street Party, Canada Day celebrations, Jazz Fest, and ice skating in winter. The project was developed to rejuvenate the downtown core, encouraging residents to rediscover their city and return to shop, play, and enjoy.

The design stretches across the street, from the building face of City Hall to the face of the adjacent shops and businesses, allowing both entities to benefit from a dynamic public space. A uniform paving strategy creates a cohesive and accessible space, particularly when the road is closed for large scale community events. Curved stone benches provide flexible seating around elliptical stone planters, with LED lighting recessed beneath the coping. Kentucky Coffee trees were used throughout the space, chosen for their unique branching structure and the dappled natural light that filters through their canopy. While silva cell technology was used under the paving on the Carden St. sidewalk to prevent compaction and allow for root growth of the Maple trees that line the streetscape. The design centers on a large (8,500 square feet) shallow (2” depth) oval water feature that reflects the historic wall of the City Hall and the sky above. Seven programmable sculptural water jets along with a theatre quality LED lighting and sound system animate the pool, making it a unique and fun experience both day and night. The surface can be drained easily to accommodate a large event while a subsurface reservoir holds and recycles the water for the next day. During colder months, the water feature becomes an ice rink for skating and a focal point for winter festivities.

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