Blog January 25, 2012
OTS Student Design Challenge brings new life to old tires
What happens to the 12 million tires that are sold annually in Ontario after they have outlived their use? Some make it to landfills, others are dumped illegally. But now, with the help of some creative design students, a growing number are being repurposed.
Last September, Evergreen, along with the Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) and the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects, challenged post-secondary students in landscape architecture and related disciplines to come up with unique designs featuring used tires. The winning design would be showcased at EBW.
The competition gala was held at Evergreen Brick Works on January 19, where students from across Ontario presented their concepts to the judges, who included gardener and weatherman Frank Ferragine. Architect Ajon Moriyama gave the key-note address to the enthusiastic students.
“Each submission was really creative and enthusiastic,” said Andrew Horsman, executive director, Ontario Tire Stewardship. “Old tires need to be seen as a resource, not as landfill. This design challenge really showed how with some creativity we can tackle a wasteful problem and come up with an innovative solution.”
Of the nearly dozen submissions, the winning design came from Gloria Perez and Jessica Gafic of Humber College, whose entry, “At the River Bank,” was noted for its free-flowing design and innovative use of materials, like garden mulch made from recycled tires lining the native plant beds.
“At the River Bank,” which mimics the flow of Mud Creek, will be a gateway to The Pavilions, home to our summer Farmers’ Market and many community events. Interlocking mats made with recycled tire products, will create a path around native plants, benches and play areas for children.
“Every proposal was inspiring,” explained David Stonehouse, general manager at Evergreen Brick Works. “We loved the winning design’s reference to the Don River, and the importance of the Don watershed in the city context—especially how it gave a nod to the citizens who have worked so hard to bring it back.”
For Evergreen’s landscape and children’s playground expert, Heidi Campbell, the OTS Student Design Competition is unique because the winner will actually see their concept become a reality.
"We are excited to have the students on site, going through the build process and seeing their work come to life," said Heidi. "These designs demonstrate how we can reuse tires that would normally go straight to landfill, and keep them for a useful purpose that will have great benefits."
Thanks to the efforts of the OTS, an organization that directs scrap tires from the landfill to recyclers who make tire-based products for a variety of applications, Evergreen is already home to many innovative designs. For example, the rubber pads that circle our Skating Trail are made from old tires, as well as the thick padding around Outward Bound’s rock climbing wall.
Construction of the winning design is set for spring of 2012, so stay tuned for updates and pictures!