Vancouver, BC, Canada
(formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza)
The City of Vancouver wanted to renew this prominent civic space and transform it into Vancouver’s most compelling public square, as well as perform maintenance in areas surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery. Project objectives included creating a space that was inviting and safe, having the flexibility and resiliency to accommodate overlapping activities, everyday casual uses, ceremonial events. It was also important to define smaller spaces required to create comfort and refuge for everyday use by individuals and small groups, and to improve the natural pass-through space connecting major destinations in downtown Vancouver.
A number of strategies were used to achieve these objectives from removal of existing impediments, leveling off of the plaza with a unified hardscape, and strategically locating a pavilion, lighting, seating, and vegetation to create a variety of opportunities within the space, whether it be a place to meet friends, to eat lunch, for contemplation, a casual business meeting, civic dialogue, cultural exhibitions, celebration, or protest.
The pavilion evolved out of the program requirement to provide a bus shelter. It was treated as an opportunity to form the east side of the plaza to balance and define the area as a unified urban space. It also served to mitigate the scale and looming presence of the dark tower across the street, facing the plaza.
This highly visible project involved a heavy consultation component including community presentations and public engagement, coordination of a large design and consultant team, and the need to arrive at a delicate balance of diverse and often competing interests (City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Art Gallery, Downtown Business Association, and various special events coordinators).
Design Team: Nick Milkovich Architects Inc., Hapa Collaborative, Matthew Soules Architecture
Size: 46,000 sq ft