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Nathan Phillips Square – Daytime Overview


The podium roof of City Hall is at once part of the raised walkway system and the largest and most secluded of the Square’s perimeter gardens. The new green roof consists of three formal conditions: a sedum mosaic, a paved courtyard that frames the curved chamber and a deck café that occupies the prow. The perimeter garden is treated as a field in purple, pink, yellow/orange and green sedums. This ground cover is planted in a prevegetated tray system with shade tolerant species concentrated in the shadows of the City Hall’s towers.

The edge of the podium roof is lined in a walkway paved in precast planks, flush with the planting trays and interlocking with them. Wood benches complete the field, distributed around the roof in the planting beds. In future, a demountable kiosk will allow the prow to be programmed as a fair weather bar/café overlooking the Square. The council chamber floats on a disk of granite chip pavers, which acts as a site for events and temporary art installations. This courtyard is lit with a dispersed pattern of light columns, and the sedum field is illuminated by lights recessed in the roof-edge guardrail, creating the effect of a glowing garden when seen from adjoining buildings.

The podium roof is connected to the Square by the ceremonial ramp at the south, repaved and with a lit wooden rail along one side. It links to the elevated walkway by a stair at its Eastern edge, to Hagerman Street in the North, and to the lobby and council chamber of city hall through elevators within the existing building.

The Podium Roof Garden opened officially on 29 May 2010 as part of Doors Open Toronto.

In 2011, the NPS Podium Roof Garden was the recipient of a CSLA Regional Honour Award, a Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Award of Excellence, a DX Silver Award, the Green Good Design Award, and a Toronto Urban Design Award.


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View of the Garden from the Observation Deck

View of the Garden from the Observation Deck



Shade Benches in the West Garden

Shade Benches in the West Garden



View of the Tree Planter and Council Chamber from the Prow

View of the Tree Planter and Council Chamber from the Prow



Shade Benches and Old City Hall

Shade Benches and Old City Hall



The Curved Bench and South Garden with Old City Hall

The Curved Bench and South Garden with Old City Hall



Shade Bench and City Hall Tower

Shade Bench and City Hall Tower



View of the Central Courtyard

View of the Central Courtyard




View of the West Garden looking South

View of the West Garden walkway looking South



View of the Central Courtyard

Reading in the Garden




Detail View of the Sedum beds

Detail View of the Sedum beds



< project page : view plans >



Project for Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization by:

PLANT Architect Inc. | Perkins+Will · Architects in Joint Venture

< project credits : the full competition team >