toronto bench

Toronto's new benches could look like urban fire pits

From the same architects who brought us the Artscape Wychwood Barns and those sick Toronto Waterfront WaveDecks comes a new public seating concept inspired by the idea of an "urban fire-pit."

DTAH, an award-winning urban design and architecture firm based in Toronto, recently installed a prototype of what it calls a "bench and lighting feature" on Bloor Street, near Church.

The concept idea and design for the project comes by way of Mulvey&Banani Lighting.

The structure looks cool with its circular shape and the integration of LED lights throughout, but people can't quite decide whether they like it or not.

The bench's designers have been fielding tons of questions about the bench on Twitter over the past week or so.

Some people wonder whether anyone would actually choose to sit in a circle facing strangers. This is Toronto, after all. In 2018.

"I think it’s designed so people sit in and out," wrote one person on Twitter in response to the prototype. "The short lip facing the street would prevent you from sitting outside in that area. It’s strange that in that spot your back is to the road. Not sure I like that part."

Others are concerned about the health of the young tree inside the circular bench.

"It doesn't look like it has enough leg room for those sitting inside facing the tree," wrote one commenter on Reddit. "Not to mention people will probably use the tree as a feet stand and kill it."

DTAH explained that the tree is in good condition thanks to the use of Silva cells and how long it's been planted at that spot, noting that "a healthy tree canopy will provide wonderful shade for sitting in the summer."

The design is just a prototype for now, but if people react favourably it could very well be rolled out further along Bloor or elsewhere in the city.

Citizens on Twitter continue to grill DTAH about pretty much everything that could go wrong with the urban fire pit: Vandalism, snow removal problems, a lack of access for cleaning crews, the possibility the middle of the bench will "become a garbage bin" and more.

"This is just the mock-up design," the architecture firm assures. "We're excited to see how people react to the circular bench design, and will improve as needed in the future... if you pass by it and have more comments let us know!"

Lead photo by

DTAH Toronto


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