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Toronto Met Students go to Camp Winston for Design Build Studio

September 30, 2019

Toronto Met Architectural Science Design Build studio students have been busy this summer revitalizing the nature pavilion at Camp Winston, a summer camp for children with neurological disorders. The camp creates an environment where children can develop life skills and experiences without being limited by the physical and socio-cultural barriers otherwise encountered.

Under the guidance of Professor Vincent Hui, the research, design, and construction of the pavilion project was completed in the short period of nine weeks. The team has kept a detailed blog (external link, opens in new window)  of their progress, a useful resource, especially for students undertaking similar projects in the future.

The goal was to create a low impact, sustainable structure which at the same time serves as a peaceful, meditative space comprised of natural materials such as non-treated cedar wood. The pavilion allows for sunlight and green foliage to seep through, in order to maintain the camp experience, while also being able to facilitate various lessons and group activities. The angled gatorboard cladding provides privacy and shelter from the elements without eliminating the views to the exterior; a gravel pit situated in the pavilion creates the opportunity to feel more grounded.

Design-builds incorporate real world experiences such as project management, team building, communication, stakeholder relationship building and onsite learning: it informs and enriches the more traditional classroom environment.

Sara Lee, a Camp Winston team member and DAS undergraduate student, testifies to this first-hand: “The outcome resulted in a once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues and see the reactions of the camp counsellors and campers. The studio began with every student designing their own versions of the pavilion to have as many iterations as possible. As the semester went on, the design was narrowed down and the fabrication phase began. After many hard working hours of cutting wood and assembling the fins for the cladding, the finishing touches were added. To get to apply the skills we learned in class, to building something as a team, that will have such a positive impact on the community, is an experience that we will not soon forget.”