Victoria alleyway’s makeover handed to students

The alleyway between the Image Arts Building and the Chang School will be renovated based on designs submitted by Ryerson students and Torontonians. (Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff)

The alleyway between the Image Arts Building and the Chang School will be renovated based on designs submitted by Ryerson students and Torontonians. (Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff)

By Sameera Raja

Even alleyways need some love every once in a while.

A group of Ryerson students is working to revamp Victoria Street Lane, the alleyway between Bond and Victoria Streets. Ryerson students and Torontonians have been asked to submit designs.

“We’re working on (the) Ryerson campus this year, to revitalize the space between the Image Arts Building and Chang School and bring it back to life,” said Kate Gonashvili, a Ryerson architecture student who works with AIAS REvitalization Group, the group spearheading the initiative.

Four Ryerson architecture students with AIAS REvitalization Group are working with Projexity, an online platform for crowdfunding, on the Victoria Street Lane Competition, which is the group’s first project.

The group is looking for creative ideas from students and the public, including proposals and 3D images, with the winning design built by architecture students.

The goal is to integrate the alleyway with the rest of campus, making it more accessible and safer for students.

“The laneway right now is inaccessible for students, and we’ve looked at the assault reports at Ryerson. It’s one of most congested places for crime,” Gonashvili said.

Tiffany Landau, a fourth-year criminology student, uses the alleyway as a shortcut for evening classes at the Chang School.

She said if the alleyway and other inaccessible areas were integrated with the campus, assaults would be reduced.

“If you create a sense of community, then crimes like sexual assault will decrease as people have more social support,” Landau said.

The bike shed, which is part of the alleyway and is free for students using their OneCard, will also undergo a transformation.

“The main objective (of the project) is the bike shed. Students don’t know about it or that it’s free now because it’s so segregated from campus,” Gonashvili said.

Due to building regulations, designs cannot block exits or windows of surrounding buildings. Participants also have to factor in the garbage disposal and reconstruct the fence in their proposals.

Participants can submit their ideas to Projexity for the month-long competition. “Anyone in Toronto can vote for their favourite design, and the final designs, either five or six, will be chosen by the panel of judges.”

Julia Hanigsberg, Ryerson’s vice-president of administration and finance, is on the panel and said the school is supporting the project, but added that it is too early to talk about funding for the renovation.

“If there is an idea that we think could work then we would look to (get) budget and city approvals, but it is premature to talk about that now,” she said.

The tentative budget for the design competition is $30,000, Gonashvili said. Funding for the project is still in the works, but a portion will be garnered through Projexity and other fundraising by the team.

Design registration will start Nov. 25 on the Projexity website, and the revamping is scheduled for summer 2014.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on November 20, 2013.

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