FLoating museum

Comprehensive Design for a new Museum in Toronto


Entitled “Floating Museum,” this proposal for the home of the Toronto Story collection considers the museum within its larger urban context. By bridging into the proposed Rail Deck Park to the south and creating a series of strategic ground-level pedestrian connections, it functions at an infrastructural scale. With a design informed by Toronto’s existing fine-grained urban grid, the project seeks to enrich Toronto’s cultural network, acting as a literal and conceptual threshold to adjacent public amenities, both existing and proposed. 

The Floating Museum design seeks to free up the ground plane, featuring a “hovering” two-storey museum and archival datum at the height of the Rail Deck with a continuous cantilevered perimeter. A central east-west pedestrian pathway divides the ground level into two campuses: the north exhibition-auditorium campus and south admin-commercial campus. This pathway creates a connection between Victoria Memorial Park and the WELL’s proposed pedestrian promenade to the east. Combined with the below-soffit perimeter promenade, these pathways create a rich pedestrian network and interior-block plaza, allowing for animation of the courtyard as well as the commercial street front. 


Floating Museum’s structural strategy is based on minimum column placement and a structurally free perimeter. The museum level is suspended from a system of floor-height trusses that run through the archival level above. This hanging structural system is visible by means of a continuous atrium on the museum level that corresponds to the pedestrian promenade below. Because of this visibility, the museum and atrium levels function as structurally and curatorially integrated spaces.

The integration of Floating Museum’s architectural, structural, curatorial and environmental strategies ensures the comprehensive expression of the proposal’s central themes: ground-level lightness, vertical voids, infrastructural span, and “hovering.” By providing high quality public spaces and park connections, Floating Museum seeks to function as a new cultural hub for the city of Toronto. 

View of Cutback (Interior).jpg
View under Cantilever.jpg
Night Render.jpg

Model (Lasercut + 3D Print)

Work in Collaboration with
Eva Sampson

2017 Comprehensive Studio
University of Toronto