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While walking through the busy streets of urban cities, busking is a common sight, however sometimes the sound does not project well throughout the area and with larger crowds around you, you will not notice them.

"The Street Musician Shelter's purpose is to provide cover and sound projection for street musicians. Using proper materials, the sound will project outwards more and in a shelter, musicians will have a fixed space to play in, instead of being crammed on the street amidst a crowd.  The unique design of these shelters will make them more noticeable, especially for smaller groups or soloists."


In grade 9, my school's design and technology class entered the Sears DX High School Design Competition, a competition open to all high school students at the junior and senior levels.  The competition offers challenges in 5 categories: Architecture/Interior Design, Costume Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design & Industrial Design. We all entered the Architecture/Interior Design Category.


"Design an urban shelter for a location in your city/town. The structure can be a bus shelter, a cooling and/or warming station, or may serve another purpose of your choosing. The shelter must provide shade, seating and a water source. Consider local weather conditions while creating your design and researching your building materials. The seller should have a maximum foot print of 15’ x 15’."

Design Process


The project would last over a course of approximately 4 months, where 1 month will be dedicated to the investigation portion of the project while the remaining 3 months will be for designing and creating a prototype.

Primary Research: 

The purpose of primary research is to look at real objects, personally instead of making observations through pictures and videos.  For this project, our class will be visiting public bus shelters around our school to get an idea of their traits, dimensions and purposes.  We will then reconstruct these shelters in either a CAD program (in this case, Sketchup Make) or design program (Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop), using the shelters' lengths, heights and widths.  Below, are the reconstructed shelters that I created, which also happens to be my first time using Sketchup.

Secondary Research

For my secondary research, I first looked into a few different public shelters and tried to find similarities between them whether it was the purposes they served or their design.  Looking at how my shelter would be structured, I researched about potential shapes and materials my structure could be made up of.  In regards to how I would design the shelter, I chose two architects (Moriyama & Teshima and the Sjölander da Cruz Architects), and researched their architectural styles by looking at notable pieces of work such as the Canadian War Museum and River Douglass Bridge (the two works that inspired two major components of my final product).

This research then led me to create my first design brief:

"I am planning on designing a street musician shelter. The shelter will be made out of recycled materials (for the metal). Stainless steel and glass will be the main materials that I will use, as a combination of the materials Moriyama and Teshima used as well as Sjölander da Cruz Architects.  These materials are best for the weather because it can be very cold or hot and these materials are light, perfect for sound and not as dense as concrete or stone, which are materials that Moriyama and Teshima prefer to use for their buildings.  The purpose of this building is supposed to make the street musicians more noticeable, give them a performance space and have a building constructed for them that would amplify their sound a bit through thee materials of the shelter.   This shelter would be located in a place where there is no snow, and somewhere that you do not need a license to perform so that everyone can use it.     It can also be somewhere where you need a license to use it for one part of the day and then after, everyone can.   The shelter may take up a lot of room so they will be against walls of buildings or on the sides of places such as parks."        


The design stage required that each individual came up with 3 distinct designs, which followed these specifications:

  • The public shelter can only cover a 15 feet by 15 feet area.  It can be smaller (for example 12’ x 10’) but not bigger (for example 16’ x 23’)

  • The public shelter must reflect on your chosen architect(s) and the style he/they use.

  • The public shelter must be able to withstand the weather and climate in Ontario.

  • Each shelter must have a water source as well as a seating area. 

  • My specifications

    • Must be very unique and stand out in the area, without the use of strong colours but instead shapes

    • Must look attractive as well and big enough so that it can fit at least 6 people without being crowded

    • The structure is also to be designed for a park setting. 

​Design #1

  • The actual stage has a diameter of 5’1” while the roof covers the 15’ by 15’ area.  The roof is designed so that the front area that does not have windows or walls is sheltered with a roof.  This public shelter seems to be in the shape of a gazebo and it has been designed for a park setting.  The roof is made up of polygons and triangles around the rim.  I have used many shapes for this design to bring out the Moriyama and Teshima style.  The oriental look also contributes to their architectural style. 

  • To meet the uniqueness specification, I have multiplied and scaled each “parasol shaped” ceiling composed of wood and steel bars so that 3 of the shapes of different sizes will fit over the 15’ by 15’ area.  I used the sense of repetition to illustrate the architectural style of Moriyama and Teshima and how they created buildings with very similar shapes of different sizes. 

  • The structure is not as open because I did not want the musicians to have too much wind blowing their belongings and sheet music. Glass walls allow for people to see through the sides. Plain colours have been used to allow for the design to blend in with a park scenery (silver makes it stand out while brown and green blend in with trees and such)

  • This shelter has a sink behind it (attached to the back).  Musicians can wash hands or clean their instruments.  The sink may not work in the Winter (water may freeze) but not many musicians perform when it is really cold as the conditions will not be good for the instruments and people do not walk around as much. (Less usage in Winter)

  • A triangular-shaped seating area is also provided in the back (the one side against the wall provides extra support).

  • Improvements in the future would include making sure that each parasol is at the same angle for a neater appearance. I would also change the size of the base because it seems a bit too small.

Design #2

  • This design covers the 15’ x 15’ square (15 feet wide in the front and 6’7” in the back).  It is oddly shaped (narrows towards the back).   I got the oddly shaped form of the structure by adding different parts to a W- that was actually what I started with.  A “w.” I decided to add a triangle in the opening in the middle (between the \/) and add two parallel lines on top of the farther lines in the w.  This reflects back on my chosen architect, Moriyama. 

  • This structure does not have a sink like my first one, but it does have another water source- my shelter has a green roof on the top and the slanted roof is designed to collect water and send it to a storage area below the grass.  They keep the dirt moist and the green roof growing.  This green roof provides the electricity for the lights.

  • In the winter where there is snow, the green roof may not work. Especially in a place with no rain, the shelter would not have electricity.  Ontario is a place with lots of rain and it is cloudy during a majority of the year, so I felt that the green rood would be more effective than solar panels. 

  • This design does not use bright colours but instead just brown and steel.  I feel that if I paint the wood or steel, the paint will peel off in the cold weather and make them look ridiculous.  On some of the structures the Sjölander da Cruz Architects created, the materials were not always painted but instead had a special coating that protected it from damage.  This finishing is what I have used on the structure.

  • A seating area has been arranged in the back and it is a wooden bench, attached to the wall.  It can also be used as a shelf because street musicians would want to stand closer to the entrance, and not sheltered, sitting comfortably on a bench.  The bench is not designed to be very comfortable, but instead a seating area that has multiple purposes.    

  • To Improve, I would probably fix the shape of the structure itself because I find that there is a lot of weight in the front from the roof and the width is about 15 feet.  In the back, it is much smaller and the structure would probably tip if not secured properly. 

​Design #3

  • I wanted to create a design that was more open to the park atmosphere.  The structure is a rectangular shape, with a roof scaled to a larger size than the stage. The musician shelter contains a sink,  between two seating areas, meant to hold one person each.  The stage is made to be more open so that sound can be heard from all angles, clearer and people can watch from all angles without a non-transparent wall to block their sight. 

  • This shelter is made to block rain and all weather that falls from the sky.  It does not hold back wind though.  This street musician shelter also uses solar panels to power the lights.  This is another renewable energy source besides the green roof.  I have also chosen to use many geometric shapes that are stretched (as seen with the chairs) to incorporate the style of Moriyama and Teshima. 

  • It uses duller colours to blend in with a park setting and like a gazebo, it is very open.  I tried to make the whole structure a stage, unlike the other two designs which had a covered area in the back half and the front half was the stage to perform in.  This design is more spacious and uses steel rods to support the metal ceiling.  A large pole is also used in the back. 

  • The Sjölander da Cruz Architects created many open structures as well and that is where I got the idea of creating an open staged street musician shelter. 

  • In the future, I plan to change the shape of the roof so that it is not so plain and more interesting.  Instead of using the same colours, I would use darker greys as well as yellows and greens to bring out the structure more.  I would also made use of the space in the back a bit more because the seats seems to be off the ground since the pole is attached, and not exactly a part of the flooring.

Final Design & Prototype

To get a physical visual of my design, I created a prototype made of cardboard, cardstock, bristol board, white glue and hot glue.  The measurement conversions from my original design to the prototype was

1' —> 1."  The construction of the prototype allowed me to get a glimpse of the structure's weaknesses such as where extra support is needed in the frame to hold up the heavy roof.  

  • Goal: Hybrid of Design #1 & Design #2

  • The roof covers the 15’ x 15’ area and reflects on both Moriyama and Teshima’s style of architecture as well as the the Sjölander da Cruz Architects. 

  • Shapes & Materials Used: Unique Geometrical shapes were used and were made of metal and wood to help with sound projection. 

  • Purpose: Provides coverage for the street musicians and is made to withstand wind, snow and rain.  In the winter, the inside will stay dry as well. 

  • Design Aspect #1: Made to fit into a park setting so it is not very noticeable but still is because it does not use bright colours, and instead delivers that message through the shapes used. 

  • Future Considerations: The possibility of integrating solar panels into the roof to help power the lights remains open.  

Final Product

After months of research, designing and experimenting, the competition required for all contestants to present their ideas on a maximum of 3 11"x17" boards.  Below, is my final submission!

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