Stratford Market Square
City of Stratford
Photography Credit: Renderings by JRS and The Flat Side of Design
Stratford, Ontario is a vibrant and beautiful city recognized for its arts and music scene. At the centre of town is City Hall, built in 1899 by Toronto architect George W. King with the assistance of local architect J.W. Siddall. Designed to “exploit its irregular site, presenting interesting façades from all angles,” the adjacent historic Market Square is surrounded on all sides by heritage main street facades comprised of local businesses.
Over the years, Market Square became a space for parking and public transit. With recent funding contributions from various programs, Stratford is seeking to design and implement Phase 1 of a revitalization strategy for the square in time for the Canadian Sesquicentennial on July 1, 2017.
Inspired by the framing of the City Hall within Market Square by the historic facades, JRS’s proposal features an ‘expanded’ Market Square where the design stretches across the streets allowing retail and commerce to benefit from the dynamic public space. Reconnected to its surrounding urban fabric, the new Market Square provides innumerable seating opportunities, as connections between the Square and the streets are re-established. Modeled on a traditional historic bench profile, the featured seating is made into a memorable site-specific element by its wrapping around trees, sheltering them from traffic and urban conditions. A water basin is positioned to offer a framed mirrored reflection of City Hall, providing a focal point for gathering or casual encounters, as well as a source of play and animation for children and adults. When combined with dramatic lighting, it expands the Square’s programming potential to include evening hours.