Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
“The Orbit is our vision for a complete, cutting-edge community where small town and rural lifestyles are enhanced by the benefits and attributes of urban living,” explains the Partisans.
The Orbit by Partisans and BDP Quadrangle is a visionary project for a cutting-edge new central neighborhood for the Canadian town of Innisfil, designed in response to the arrival of high-speed mass transit that connects to downtown Toronto.
The Orbit has been awarded a 2022 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
Located 60 kilometers north of Toronto—Canada’s largest city and North America’s fourth-largest overall—Innisfil is one of the fastest-growing communities in the region as people seek more affordability outside of the city.
The project has been spurred on by the announcement of the Province’s Transit-Oriented Community program with a new GO Train Station that will start construction by 2022, connecting the town to downtown Toronto and inevitably leading to major growth in population.
In June 2019, Partisans won a public RFP competition from the town of Innisfil to create the vision for The Orbit.
Subsequently, the developers in the area of the Orbit, Cortel Group, decided to move forward with the ambitious vision and commissioned the studio to realize its plan for housing and infrastructure that will support responsible, dense population growth and discourage sprawl, car traffic, the decentralization of civic services, and over development of the rural surroundings of the town.
A forward-thinking community, the design of the Orbit also leverages cutting-edge technology to create a city that is more accessible and sustainable, with a plan for mass fiber optic cable systems that will provide connectivity across sidewalks, streets, and buildings as well as considering “future-forward” concepts such as drone ports and self-driving cars to anticipate future development over the longer term.
The GO Train Station and the Orbit are widely seen as perhaps the most important opportunity the community has for shaping the population growth that is expected to come rather than be shaped by it.
The first phase of the Orbit will take place over the next three to five years and develop the GO Train Station and the immediate surrounding buildings including residential towers, retail and hospitality spaces, a bus and car route, and green space throughout with public art installations.
Partisans designed the GO Train station to integrate landscaping that converts the central infrastructure of the Orbit into a park-like space, a nod to the rural surroundings of the community.
The station’s roof itself becomes a landscape, functioning both as a central hub of transit and a dynamic center of interaction and recreation for the surrounding community.
Project: The Orbit
Executive Architects: BDP Quadrangle
Urban Planners: Bousfields Inc.
Traffic Engineers: AECOM