RenĂŠ Josef Biberstein MUD, BURPl. Urban Designer / Planner 2012 Portfolio
Float Your Boat! Walkable Cities Incubator Factory
Thesis: Six Nations City The End of the City Visualizing Zoning Bylaws with Grasshopper Holding Court Kensington Bicycle Condominiums Make/Place Cities that Could Never Be?
Thesis: Is There a Golden Mean? St. Anneâ€™s Place Applying the Human Scale CaĂ§adores Square Danforth Boulevard
Indigenous Centre Model Bloorcourt Village Urban Design Strategy Crystal Beach Pattern Book Metrolinx Mapping
FLOAT YOUR BOAT! Why Phil
et Over (a
) the I-95
Possible Further Extension
Interchanges Terminus Points Broad St. Subway Market/Frankford Subway Tram Lines
Float Your Boat! Submission to Ed Bacon Student Design Competition, Philadelphia 2011 Awarded First Prize
Float Your Boat! promises a new waterfront for all: industry, commerce, visitors, pleasure boaters, and above all, ordinary citizens. In Center City, I-95 is buried entirely to seamlessly link the city to the water. To the south, it remains raised, but an innovative array of building designs and parks link the two sides of the highway. In the process, Float Your Boat! partially merges Front Street and Columbus Boulevard into a single thoroughfare, named “Delaware Boulevard.” With an integrated light rail line and ample pedestrian realm, Delaware Boulevard creates a new north-south spine for multiple modes of north-south movement. At the same time, a waterfront promenade for pedestrians and bicycles allows citizens to experience the river in a car-free environment. (Car access to the water is mostly provided by east-west streets). The highway itself continues to hold as much traffic as before, but with a reduced number of exit/entry points, thereby freeing up more room for buildings, open space and people.
The design centres on an epic set of ‘Odessa’ steps extending Market Street to the river’s edge.
The project divides the waterfront and highway into segments, treating each as separate extensions of the city.
Walkable Cities Poster Submission to Toronto Society of Architects â€œWalkable Citiesâ€? Poster Competition 2010
Incubator Factory This project proposed that an abandoned factory site in South Philadelphia be repurposed as a space to incubate new manufacturing businesses, as well as a museum and park dedicated to the cityâ€™s industrial heritage.
Submission to Ed Bacon Student Design Competition, Philadelphia 2009 Awarded Honourable Mention
Six Nations City Master of Urban Design Thesis Work 2011-2012 Advisor: Adrian Blackwell
In its substance, this project is a new town development on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, near Brantford, Ontario. Rapid population growth has forced the band council to engage in large-scale, centrally-planned urbanization for the first time. However, far from conventional platting, this alternate design for the development attempts to deal with the wider issues of reconciling nature and suburban growth, as well as generating urban form for a rural population. It draws on the form and functions of the landscape, as well as the urban traditions of the Six Nations. The former include the positions of topography, water, farmland and forest, while the latter is the historically evolving form of the Iroquoian town.
part 4: a view inside
the town edge
The project has implications not only for the Grand River territory, but also for the potential future urbanization of other aboriginal communities and the way in which all urban dwellers in southern Ontario deal with the history and substance of the land we inhabit. part 4: a view inside
between town nodes
4: a view inside
view of six nations City
graduate work Townhouses Reveal Slopes
part 4: a view inside layering of town elements Elements of Community Design existing + forest
CroWn + raYs
farMland penetrating toWn
shuttle bus and Commuter bus network
low frequency service to tyendinaga, akwesasne, kanasetake, kanawake
local bus network
Interior and Exterior Transport Network
go transit hamilton street railway
six nations CitY
35 minutes to hamilton terminal 35 minutes to McMaster university
low frequency service to upstate new York six nations communities
internal shuttle bus loop
part 3: the city in the country in t
gative urban deployment
15 minutes to brantford
Urban Areas Conform to Landscape Grain
15 minutes to Caledonia 30 minutes to hamilton airport
internal shuttle bus loop
10 minutes to ohsweken
graduate work Historic Evolution of Iroquoian Urbanism longhouse toWn
ConteMporarY linear dispersed neighbourhood
part 2: historic + site research
Westernized brant village
Archeological Record “southWold”
(Funk, 2003) 1400
(Funk, 2003) 1400
6 (Ellis, Ferris, 1990) 1400
(Funk, 2003) 1400
(Ellis, Ferris, 1990)
Screenshots of Grasshopper Model
Maximum Buildouts Without and With Minimum Lot Widths
Conceptual Flowchart of Model
Grasshopper, a programming application associated with the Rhino rendering software, has achieved popularity as a way for architects to experiment with parametric design. I wondered–could it also be turned to the decidedly less glamourous task of visualizing the maximum build-outs permitted in zoning bylaws? As a summer Independent Study programme, I was able to parametrically render the outcomes of Toronto’s zoning bylaws, including heights, setbacks, Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and angular planes.
Visualizing Zoning Bylaws with Grasshopper Master of Urban Design Independent Study Course 2011 Advisor: Tom Bessai
Blurring the Edge
Green / RenĂŠ Biberstein RenĂŠMatrix Biberstein Kamyar Khozeimeh
Mi Turbic Mina T bi Linear Farm p Farm LotsLots Strip
The End of the City Master of Urban Design Studio Work 2011 Instructors: Mark Sterling + Paul Hess
Somewhere the city must end. But how? This group studio project aimed to develop a transition between the Markham suburbs, just outside of Toronto, and the adjacent farmland. Referencing the linear form of the farm lots, a grid was generated in which various landscape types could be accommodated in a patchwork cycle. A trail circuit further sought to programmatically connect dormitory, commercial, recreational and agricultural areas.
Demonstration Block: Proposed
Green Matrix / René Biberstein
Design Grid Overlay Concept Concept
Green Matrix / René Biberstein
p Farm Lots Strip
Green Matrix / René Bib
Holding Court Master of Urban Design Studio Work 2011 Instructor: Andrea Kahn
This project aimed to repair Lawrence Heights, a poorly aging 1960â€™s housing project in suburban Toronto. Rather than tearing much of it down (as is currently proposed), Holding Court suggested that the communityâ€™s ubiquitous parking courts be converted into landscaped spaces. Additional streets and more intensive mixed-use infill was proposed in underutilized spaces outside of the courts.
Kensington Bicycle Condominiums Master of Urban Design Studio Work 2011 Instructors: Rob Wright + Ivan Saleff
Infilling a parking lot in Torontoâ€™s densely built Kensington Market provided an opportunity for a mixed-use building with two retail facades. Designed especially for cyclists (it provided extensive bicycle parking, but no car parking). An internal courtyard offered shared open space for residents.
Nassau Street Faรงade
intensification and identity
Toronto + ‘Europe’?
This project repurposed a number of emptied factories in Toronto as creative industrydriven light manufacturing sites grouped around a new transit hub.
Make + Place Master of Urban Design Studio Work 2010 Instructor: Carol Moukheiber
More playfully, it also proposed that housing be Toronto? constructed on their roofs, to seamlessly stretch the residential city over the industrial one.
Toronto + ‘Hong Kong’?
Toronto Naturally Intensified?
Employment-Education Convergence C C C
U U C U $ Employment Lands
Financial District Office Cluster Airport
This graduate studio class permitted a number of wild graphic experiments regarding alternate urban forms.
Post-Apocalyptic Primitive City
Cities that Could Never Be? Master of Urban Design Studio Work 2010 Instructor: Adrian Phiffer
Office Commercial Cultural
The late nineteenth century German architect Hermann Maertens developed what planning theorist Hans Blumenfeld later described as the “only” scientific theory of ideal street width (Blumenfeld, 1971, pg. 217). Motivated by finding the ideal distance to view architecture, Maertens made two main assertions that have obvious implications for ratio. First, he noted that the maximum distance an object can be perceived is 3,450 times its size, meaning that human 4. Analysis
facial features (specifically the nasal bone) can be clearly perceived at no more than 22 m. On 4.1 Overall Outcomes 4.1.1 Renderings this basis, Maertens recommended a “human scale” of street, no more than 22 m wide (see Fig. When comparing the rendered streetscapes, participants in the experiment showed a
strong preferenceonly for ratios clearly of 2 and 1 (50%be and 46% respectively ranked their first 1). Furthermore, he argued that facial expressions could perceived atthese 15asm, which choices) (see Fig. 7). They were most likely to dislike the ratio of 4 (with 62.5% placing it in
fifth,scale” or last, place). The ratio of 3 was fairly unpopular, being ranked fourth (second last) by he recommended as an alternate “intimate human (see Fig. 2). 50% of participants.
Percentage of Participants
Fig. 7 Dispersal of Results in Ranking Rendered Scenes
ow be 1.2.
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1st Choice
Is There a Golden Mean?
The ratio of 0.5 was unpopular, but produced the greatest disunity, with equal numbers of
Why do we love the scale of some spaces and hate
Bachelor of Urban + Regional Planning Thesis Work
others? Is there a thing aseach). a universal participants placing it in third and fifthsuch (last) places (37.5% Participantscomfort may have
zone? My undergraduate thesis was an academic paper summarizing the22history of inquiry into the ideal height to width ratio,1:500 as wellscale. as theImage results of by original research I conducted through a series of psychological experiments.
Maertens second assertion was that the human eye was limited by a 27 degree field of
Working with Habitat for Humanity Toronto, this project envisioned a site plan and massing for converting the disused St. Anneâ€™s Parish Hall into a subsidized condominiums.
St. Anneâ€™s Place Bachelor of Urban + Regional Planning Studio Work 2008
Naismith’s Rule Bachelor of Urban + Regional Planning Studio Work 2007
This small project mapped ‘Naismith’s Rule,’ a formula for calculating the time required to hike a certain distance. The circular shapes on the model show how far a hiker, moving in a straight line, could travel in any given direction in a specific time, given the topography.
BLOOR GO STATION
DUNDAS WEST SUBWAY STATION
. St. W
BISHOP MOROCCOTHOMAS MERTON SECONDARY SCHOOL
. a Av
This project proposed a small mixed-use development on the site of a derelict shopping mall in Toronto’s west end. It included filling in the blanks in a broken streetwall, and adding a new residential community centred around a square.
Arterial Streets Collector Streets Local Streets Lanes
RONCESVALLES AVENUE SHOPPING
are u q S
Parks Other Destinations Entances/Exits to Development
Caçadores Square Bachelor of Urban + Regional Planning Studio Work 2008
Danforth Boulevard Bachelor of Urban + Regional Planning Studio Work 2009 This project imagined Torontoâ€™s Danforth Avenue transformed into a European-style boulevard, featuring perimeter-block buildings, much wider sidewalks and a promenade overlooking the Dan Valley.
Indigenous Centre Model Located in the striking boreal forest of the Canadian Shield, Lakehead University’s campus has been the subject of numerous design proposals, often wild and occasionally downright campy. In 2012, the University decided to curate an exhibition of these historic designs. I was contracted to build a 1:150 scale model of the unrealized 1970’s “Indigenous Centre”–a cluster of giant tepee-like cones. The model was constructed using plaster, paper, and an array of decorative elements humourously borrowed from model railway construction.
Contract for Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario 2012
DE SI GN
STR ATE G Y
V I L L A G E
opment Framework Plan.
Development Concept Framework
Ossington Subway Station
Ossington Baptist Church
Rendition of Scenario 1
3.5 SPECIAL SITES Irene Avenue Parkette
Bloor Street West
sites will requireSite special built form guidelines because of their unique 1 CertainDover Square Existing Condition Plan conditions. Four such sites have been identified. Three of these are located justDemonstration The Dover Square ApartmentofComplex built influence in the 1960’s in theand“towerbeyond the boundaries the BIA,was but may the quality character of in-the-park” style. Although its buildings are much taller for thanredevelopment. the rest of the the area. Each site presents a significant opportunity neighbourhood, the site remains significantly underutilized at the ground level. Its ownersThe havelocations sought to theare siteindicated for someon time, a proposalFramework has been the of intensify these sites the and Development Plan. subject of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing.
Development Concept Framework 3
gu lar Pl an
Christie Pits Park
Dover Square Site
The Dover Square Apartment Complex was built in the 1960’s in the “towerin-the-park” style. Although its buildings are much taller than the rest of the neighbourhood, the site remains significantly underutilized at the ground level. Its owners have sought to intensify the site for some time, and a proposal has been the Maximum Height subject of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. an
Consistent setbacks. Maintain and better frame the central courtyard/quad. Access through a series of continuous mid-block connections to be retained or created. Open a north south connection through the building and to Bloor Street. Mass height internally within the block, subject to angular planes originating from a property line on the opposite side of the street.
The following guidelines should apply to any future development on this site: 1. 2. 3.
The following guidelines should apply to any future development on this site: Consistent setbacks. Maintain and better frame the central courtyard/quad. Setback Setback Access through a series of continuous mid-block connections to be retained or created. Bloor Street Neighbourhood Neighbourhood North Side Property South Side Property 4. Open a north south connection through theRight-of-Way building and to Bloor Street. Lane 5. Mass height internally within the block, subject to angular planes originating 45-degree angular planes currently originate 13 m above the front property line, and 10 m above a 7.5 m setback from the adjacent property at the rear. Total height from a property line on the opposite side of the street. is capped at 16 m.
lan rP gu la
When height bonusing is being considered, angu ‘absolute maximum’ height. Because lot depth do not back on to Protected Neighbourhood are from 3 to 12 storeys. Only the Dover Square a reasonably accommodate a new building over 1 Recommendations
Greater heights can and should be consi exchange for public benefits. The Dev appropriate height of these buildings. Buildings over 20 m in height, located on demonstrate no incremental shadow impa shoulder seasons (March 21 and Septemb
• This Urban Design Strategy provided a planning analysis and public realm improvement plan for the Bloorcourt Business Improvement Area in Toronto’s west end. 20 m 30 m
North Side Property
Bloor Street Right-of-Way
South Side Property
7.5 m Setback 6m
‘Soft sites’ are immediate opportunities for include: Neighbourhood
Potential height bonusing could vary depending on lot depth, with the deeper lots permitting taller buildings. The few lots where rear angular planes are not required
S T R Awould T Eenable G Ygreater height potential. The existence of rear lanes contributes to height, because angular planes may start further back.
D E S IGN
Angular planes currently exist in the Zoning Byl into them. They (as illustrated at left) are app residential areas and open spaces, as well as to In Bloorcourt, approximately 90 per cent of the planes. Rear 45 degree angular planes begin at adjacent property line. Front 45 degree angula property line.
Each front angular plane would originate 16 m above the front property line, while each rear plane would originate 10.5 m above a 7.5 m setback.
U RB A N
The Role of Angular Planes
°m lar 45 Pl an e
Height Potential 3-5 Storeys (10.5 - 16.5 m) 5-7 Storeys (16.5 - 22.5 m) 7-9 Storeys (22.5 - 28.5 m) 9-12 Storeys (28.5 - 37.5 m) 12+ Storeys (37.5 m+)
V I L L A G E
Gateways (Major and Minor) Prominent Visual Sites Fine-Grained Retail Frontage
Soft Sites Heritage Listed/Designated Buildings Properties of Interest Public Buildings and Places of Worship Public Open Spaces Protected Low-Rise Neighbourhood Off-Street Public Parking
Urban Design Elements
The Planning Partnership
1. 2. 3.
The Bickford Centre
Bob Abate Recreation Centre
Bloorcourt Village Urban Design Strategy
BL O O R C O U R T
* St. John’s Church
es because of their unique ee of these are located just the quality and character of or redevelopment.
• • •
Parking lots that front on Bloor Street One-storey buildings Other significantly underutilized sites
The traditional building typologies of Crystal Beach, a nineteenth century resort town on Lake Erie, were analyzed and categorized in this pattern book. The book is to be used as a tool for controlling new development in the community.
Crystal Beach Pattern Book The Planning Partnership 2008
Metrolinx Mapping The Planning Partnership 2006
While working at The Planning Partnership, I undertook the difficult graphic design exercise of communicating the complexities of Metrolinxâ€™s regional transit plan for the Greater Toronto Area. The result of a series of maps indicting future priorities for higher order transit, and their interface with urban growth goals.