Sung Sim & Chieu-Anh Le Van

Process: Bisang in Korean means to “take off”, and we wanted to create an installation that would usher this TLA initiative. The PVC tubes placed at different heights would represent the idea of a “green carpet” taking off. Erica carnea and Ophiopogon japonicus were selected to create contrast in texture and color, while providing year-round interest.

Biggest Challenge: The use of PVC tubes was the biggest challenge: we had to find tubes that would be wide enough to accommodate the planting, and we had to figure out how we would secure them into the ground. The size of plot was also challenging to express verticality of the “take off”.

Learn more about “Bisang” by clicking the video link below (video editing done by Sung’s son)! >>> BISANG VIDEO


Alex Forbes & Gosia Farun

Process: Our goal was to create an installation that performed in all seasons and was appealing at all times of the day. This brought us to L.E.D. – Lavendula Euonymus Deschampsia. The lavender and euonymus would be low growing and evergreen, and the ‘deschamsia’ would be an illuminated sculptural grass element. Our next step was sketching out the layout of the planting and placement of the lit sculptures. It was around this time that we realized these things needed some power! (and the partners might not want us siphoning electricity 24/7) so we decided to go solar powered. Using hardware store solar powered LED spotlights, we rewired the lights to extend the distance between the panel and the bulb. Beneath the soil, a series of PVC pipes contain the wiring, and decorative steel piping was used to mount the solar panels above our installation. Who knew grade 10 science class would come in handy?

Biggest Challenge: Spending a combined 3 hours in Aisle 26 of a hardware store figuring out how to contain the wiring from the panels to the bulbs using steel and PVC pipes…the rewiring part wasn’t the easiest either.

Open Borders

Courtney Likins & Shadi Gilani

Process: We were playing Monopoly one evening and began thinking about the value of the properties in terms of a landscape value, specifically from a Canadian perspective.  This led us to our concept of creating an interactive game and learning instrument that could make the value and importance of our Canadian landscape tangible. 

Biggest Challenge: It was a challenge to distill the ecological, economic, and climatic paradigms down to a singular and accessible experience.  We choose to concentrate on the major ecozones within Canada and then to illustrate tree species that were either important economically to the ecozones, or the most adaptable to climate change.


Darcie McIssac

Process: Looking at the impact of humans on our environment and knowing that we are at the critical tipping point, what does our future hold? I looked to the history of Toronto and the stuff that we are made of, literally.

Most of the GTA shoreline has remnants of, or is entirely made up of construction debris. I looked to explore and utilize this history and show how healthy nature can thrive even in the most challenging of spaces. Majority of the plant material was transplanted from my yard which will feed people, animals and pollinators. The choice to use found material is to stress that we don’t need to look much farther than the space around us, and with a thoughtful eye, there is abundance to be had. The “debris” and rockery are from Humber Park shoreline. A variety of bricks, pipes, Styrofoam, glass, and other human made material exposed by the high water, due to our changing climate, experienced in Lake Ontario this year. A kind of Urban Archaeology.

The piece is to show how nature can Rally in the face of challenges, and that humans can too rally in the face of climate change and be more thoughtful in our manipulation of the world around us.

Lessons Learned: This project afforded me the opportunity to explore Toronto’s shoreline and to reflect on the effect of urbanization and the environment.

Reflect & Refract

Brian Watkins, See-Yin Lim, Tom Lew

Process: When we first discussed a concept, we envisioned a design that would have impact both inside and outside of the building. Backing onto ‘the Shop’ we wanted it to be visible while sitting inside. We also wanted reflective qualities as the space gets only morning sunlight.  We felt contrast could make the composition’s parts standout uniquely independent, for example, the reflectors, the planting, the planters, and the ground material, however, a formalize geometry will tie it together. From there, we created a few sketches. Our sketches began with a centrifugal shape coiling outward, however, the space was too small for that to work. We later transferred our ideas into a 3D model to visualize it spatially. When we were satisfied with our design, we researched products and materials that we needed to make it happen.

Lessons Learned: Scaling our ideas to fit into the space, making the design concept work on a smaller scale, finding the right product and being on budget.

War of Attrition

Ray Ronaghan

Process: I wanted to do something very calming and simple to try and balance out the noise of having several different designs and styles in close proximity. There is a calming simplicity to rigidity  so in the end I decided on linear strips of artificial grass with a simple border of aggregate.

Concept Sketches? In fear of copyright infringement they have all been destroyed.  


Tamara Urben-Imbeault & Cyrille Viola (with installation help from Lee Ann, Marco, and Qiwei)

Process: Our installation was about showing remaining life form, making its way though a derelict landscape.

Biggest Challenge: Finding the right materials to construct our visions, and ensuring pockets were stabilized along the sloping wires.

Zentrophic (voted firm favorite)

Tom Metzdorf

Process: My design process was to visualize in my mind what I thought would be a good standalone composition for my assigned space. Something with year round interest and that would be three-dimensionally interesting and require minimal maintenance.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was to find the right materials, including large rocks that I could handle without equipment, fit in my van, and that would fit the budget.  Also, it was difficult to locate small white locally.

Ray Ronaghan BLA, CMLI

Ray joined TLA with over a decade of experience spanning Ireland, UK and the Middle East. He enjoys working through a range of scales from concept to tender and has keen interest in public realm and streetscape design.

Contact Ray Ronaghan at

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