Panamaze: PanAm Pavillion

View of Panamze looking back at the Athletes Village

Panamaze is a temporary public space design and installation for the International Plaza of the Athletes Village at the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games. The Plaza is at the entrance of the village just north of the Distillery District.

An electrifying geometric pattern of individually painted red, blue, yellow, and green tiles form a lively urban mosaic for the plaza. In the heart of the pattern, four grass ‘break-out’ areas have been created for athletes, coaches and games volunteers to relax, socialize, and enjoy themselves between events.

Overview of Panamze looking at the Pan Am flags

Details of tower structures

A series of ephemeral tower structures punctuate the installation. Created from flexible and light-weight engineered materials, the towers bend and sway in the breeze.  They are built to resemble high performance sporting equipment from sail masts and riggings to poles for vaulting.  They occur in gently leaning pairs to signify friendship and cooperation.

Together, the combined design elements of Panamaze unify the International Plaza and create a playful and welcoming environment.

Site Plan of Panamaze

Breakout zones in Panamaze with artificial turf


Floor painting process

Floor Mosaic

Based on the Pan Am colors, the mosaic floor symbolizes the diversity of the participating countries and athletes. The pattern is digitally derived to connect the entrance to the various key programs at the International Plaza while creating pockets of breakout zones. Manually marked out using large scale stencils, the tiles are then taped, painted and tagged.

structure mock up

The structures are tested extensively using scale models as well as 1:1 mock-ups to examine wind loads, bending and overall structural stability. 

Details of the weaving process

Rope weaving


In each structure, three composite reinforced fiber rods are held in place by three flexible lexan polycarbonate collar plates. High performance ropes are woven tightly through the top and middle collars creating a dynamic volumetric representation of the totems while visualizing the forces at play. The bending and weaving of the ropes together provide added stiffness as the base is weighted down with a planted ballast.

Construction Time Lapse

Instagram photos of #panamaze

The project has been featured in:

HGTVMetroNewsToronto StarOntario Association of Architects

Location: Toronto, ON
Year: 2014-2105
Installation photos credit: Scott Norsworthy