There are different ways to escape, to take refuge. Sometimes it is enough just to step back, sit down and read a book…
Developed as a submission to the annual Winter Stations competition and responding to the 2020-21 theme ‘refuge’, Reading Rooms provides an unexpected opportunity for visitors to Toronto’s beaches to do just that, acting as an honesty library and book exchange while providing Covid-safe spaces for individual shelter.
Bookshelves fold around two sides of a lifeguard stand, whose delicate structure is reflected in colourful timber framing. Books are accessed from individual reading rooms, which deliberately look outwards rather than turning their backs on the world. Translucent screens separate the seats, ensuring social distancing without hiding the presence of others. Visitors are invited to take books home, and to leave their own contributions for future readers.
When travel is restricted, our horizons can be widened through the pages of a book. When meeting is difficult, reading and exchanging books can offer a solitary but shared experience.