Tony Le

Drawing Stories:

"Like the scorching sun of the summer drought, I can sense my life source dwindling in the heat. My dream was to grow taller each season to reach the seamless blue sky. Yet, the atmosphere that once looked gorgeous had become something that scorned my eyes.

I stood taller than any other tree, feeble and slender. Vines and moss started to crowd my body. With each tedious interaction repeating itself from decade to decade, my life became more monotonous, essentially meaningless. With no one to play with, I became quite miserable.

My existence had become a bore, a mere object to fill the background, whereas I noticed healthy trees attracted more birds chirping, bees buzz or squirrels climbing them. They never chose me. Every time they looked up towards me, they were scared and dashed out of disgust. Sometimes, I wonder if my appearance caused them to be frightened. WHY? I am the tallest and oldest tree! What made me so frightening?

One day, a bird landed on me. It was a tiny white-bodied bird with grey wings. As he walked on my branches, he admired every part of me. He is pretty annoying. He pecked and chirped at me. It irritated me that he showed no regard for me! Through the rustle of my leaves, I yelled at him. And through the wind, I attempted to kick him away. He did not leave; however, he maintained his cheery chirping.

The bird built a nest within my hollow as time went by. The vines, twigs and tree barks he took were repurposed. As he continued to move them, more animals started to notice me. The rubble that once covered me was pruned, and the bird began to live within me.

My emotions towards the bird suddenly changed. The events the little bird had imprinted on me made me realize that I was insecure and afraid of showing my true self. He allowed me to feel important, cared for, and loved again.

Years went by; I became proud of who I am. As I stood confidently, I no longer hid behind the overgrown moss and vines. Other creatures finally appreciated me. Squirrels and insects that once stayed on the ground and ignored me now climbed my barks, scratched my skin, and reside within me. With the fast-pacing time, more birds came and left during the day. I am thankful for that little bird. I could finally heal and grow from my past."

Building Stories:

Located in Allan Garden, Connected introduces a space that allows users to connect with the site while experiencing the beauty of storytelling on different levels. An intermediate space connects the programs and provides an interchangeably connected and disconnected area depending on the situation. This allows the creation of a connection between the people and the environment.

The Friends of Allen Gardens has been the recipient of a major donation. In addition to setting up an endowment to care for the park in perpetuity, the donation includes funds to allow the FOAG to construct a new building in the park. The building is expected to advance some of the goals of the FOAG’s 2017 plan Refresh: A Vision Document for Allan Gardens, including bringing performing arts possibilities to the Gardens.

The building will contain a cafe, a space for small performances (including storytelling) that can be used for other purposes (able to hold an audience of about 50), and office space for the Director of the FOAG Foundation and a staff of 2 to 4 people, depending on the time of year. The complete program as provided by the client is seen on the next page.

Three possible sites within the Gardens have been identified. Your first task, before beginning design work, will be to decide which of these sites makes the most sense for this project.

The total gross floor area (GFA) for the project should not exceed 390 m2, and the building
footprint (including overhangs) must not exceed 250m2. In addition to the built program, an outdoor space for performances in good weather is requested.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.