Grange Gatehouse (2020)


  • Project: Grange Gatehouse
  • Building Type: Gatehouse
  • No of Blocks: 4
  • Designer: Emem Essien
  • Clients: All Grange Park visitors
  • Location: Grange Rd (off McCaul St), Toronto
  • Area: 200 sq. ft.
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Revit
  • Project Year: 2020

Reflecting the Existing Landscape

The central idea behind Grange Gatehouse, is to derive not just its name from the site context situated in Grange Park, but also its form from the intricate paths within the site. 

To understand the building's form, the massing is divided into four separate volumes or ‘blocks’ to define programmatic spaces all joined together by a roof plane at the 2nd floor level. The overall structure has an elevated entry at 2 ft to prevent flooding, using a ramp system to meet accessibility needs. The first block as one approaches the main entrance on Grange Avenue is Block D: the park’s gatehouse signboard. It is a single vertical plane making it the smallest of the four blocks that provides a sense of enclosure and allows visual continuity, separating the exterior of the gatehouse from the limited interior elements making up 200 sq ft, and would ideally have an automated gatekeeping system. The signboard can be sighted from McCaul street and I decided to make it 20 ft high to create an added buzz to the park. Next is Block C which defines the community and daycare waiting areas; hence, the biggest block since it would have the largest occupancy. As one looks straight through the gatehouse, the idea is to behold an uninterrupted view/vista which is what Block A, the art display, provides from the main entrance. It would serve as an exhibition space for seasonal installations free for park users and the general public to view, and would be protected by a glass display casing for security reasons. The last block, Block D, is the 2nd floor roof observatory deck which can only be accessed through the waiting areas by a single staircase that goes over one of the site’s existing paths. The roof deck is an elevated plane, cantilevered over the pathway. In terms of materiality, I concentrated on using concrete and bricks as my way of responding to the surrounding architectural materiality in which these two materials are commonalities, but also added copper primarily for the art display and roof plane to give a metallic feel to the warm, neutral colour palette. 

In conclusion, the design intent is to create openings for visual and spatial continuity within the existing site and aim not to do much to the existing landscape but instead, focus all my alterations on the existing built elements. Despite being a small-scale structure, the end goal is for me to optimise human interaction with the built environment using this park portal, rather than interrupting the existing landscape.

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Process Work

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Key Diagrams


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Physical Model

At Day

Main Entrance

Top View

West Elevation (overlooking pathway)

At Night

Main Entrance

Main Entrance (overlooking art display)

West View (overlooking pathway)

Using Format