TTC workers were out watering the new green roof on top of Eglinton West subway station yesterday morning. The 9,000 square-foot garden is planted almost entirely of sedums, looking like either a carpet of Hs or (appropriately) train tracks. Although originally criticized by some as “an expensive frill” one year ago, Terry McGlade pointed out in a recent interview that whether or not the new roof provides a noticeable change in the ambient temperature of the subway platform (which is open at the northern end), the insulation provided by the plants will significantly extend the roof’s lifespan.
Also, contrary to many other reports, the green roof is visible by transit users and not just drivers on the Allen, although behind glass. As you descend down to the subway platform, the roof is at eye level, allowing for a view of the sedum plots. From this angle, the lines of the garden seem to resemble the symmetry of an old English or French garden, the skylights becoming mini I.M. Pei pyramids (but maybe that’s going too far…).
I wonder whether the roof will ever be made publicly accessible, perhaps with occasional tours similar to the tours led on MEC’s green roof? The railing around the roof and the easily accessed outdoor stairwell near a door on the northbound subway platform almost seem as if they were designed with curious visitors in mind.
The Eglinton West subway station was designed by the late Arthur Erickson in partnership with Clifford & Lawrie and won a Canadian Architect Award for Excellence in 1968. Its new green roof may be the first ever to be built on top of a subway, so to make this roof at least semi-public would be a great opportunity for the TTC to draw some positive attention to itself amidst the recent streetcar funding fiasco and the lagging construction of the St. Clair West ROW.
Photos by Jake Schabas