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Inverted Valleys

by Mark Francis and Natalia Bakaeva

This suspended topographical intervention aims to spark a appreciation of our ravine system, and encourage people to reconsider the ways in which we can use the leftover spaces in the city.

Hover over the image to take a closer look.

Citizen Activators

  • Mark Francis, Designer

    Mark Francis

  • Natalia Bakaeva , Designer

    Natalia Bakaeva

About the Urban Intervention

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday June 4th 2016
Currently, Mark’s work is focusing on the creation of beautiful public spaces in the forgotten, interstitial zones of our cities. These spaces are primarily composed of the under-loved and undervalued laneways and alleyways that dot the city with their hidden, intimate scale: perfect for exploration, lingering, informal festivities, micro retail, small dwellings, and all manner of opportunistic city-building.

This Brickworks installation, Inverted Valleys, is part of a proposed series of laneway canopies that quickly create inviting public spaces while leaving the area beneath untouched and freely useable. As with all the laneway installations, Inverted Valleys is site specific and takes its inspiration from the incredible location of Evergreen Brickworks in the Don River Valley. Along the length of the 148-foot corridor between the former brick kilns there are three sections of canopy that represent the three major river valleys flowing through our uniquely ravine-laden city. These are the Humber, Don and Rouge river valleys, respectively. Together forming one continuous inverted valley, the viewer gazing upward can experience the topographical layout of Toronto
from South to North and West to East.

Although the installation exists as one continuous work, it is also designed to function as three separate pieces, installed in three different parts of the city in close proximity to their respective river valleys. These locations are tentatively the Junction (Humber River), Riverside (Don River) and eastern Scarborough (Rouge Valley). When this installation is over at the end of the summer, these parts will be taken to their respective neighborhoods and installed in laneways and alleyways for the public to explore and engage with.

In this sense, the aim of Inverted Valleys is twofold: One hope is that the focus on the unique geography of Toronto’s ravine systems will encourage people to be more aware and appreciative of this incredibly valuable (but under used) natural resource in our city. The second, more overarching aim is that the continued use of interstitial urban spaces (alleys, lanes and corridors) for installation works such as this will allow people rethink what is possible in terms of how we engage with the built environment. In both cases, the natural environment and the built environment, citizens should be taking better interactive advantage of the spatial opportunities we are so blessed with in Toronto. Hopefully we can create a more eclectic and beautiful city together.

These materials will be part of my intervention:

Dowels, MDF pegboard, 2x4's, zip-ties, paper, LED lights

It would be great if participants can bring with them:

curiosity for their city and it's wonderful ravine system!

Typespublic artinstallation
KeywordsTorontoRavinesValleysSculptureArchitecturepublic artdesignurbanismalleyway artlaneway artinstallationtopographybrickworksevergreen