Each competition entry had to choose a location for their conceptual installation. The students were encouraged to choose a location that would have the greatest impact. They were asked to think about how it contributes to sense of place, if it draws new people to the area or if there is something about the area that is relevant to the concept.
I believe this would be an ideal space for a piece of public art because of its interaction with the water and the high volume of visitors the site receives. The piece would interact with the 10’ change in tide everyday, providing a different experience to viewers each time it is visited. The Seawall is visited by locals and tourists alike, widening the amount and type of viewer. I also like the enclosure that is created between the support of Lion’s Gate Bridge and the curve of the Seawall. Imagine swooping through this section on a bike, having the art revealed to you as you turn the corner, observing the piece from different angles as you go along the Seawall and then disappearing from view as you move on. Finally, lots of people stop here to take photos of the bridge. It is already a very visually interesting space. Adding a piece of public art to this private and beautiful location would make it even more iconic.
A transect running north-south through Vancouver cuts through two sites of note:
The first site is on the northeast side of Stanley Park, where many paths come together. The Vancouver Aquarium is up the hill past Lumberman’s Arch, and a water park borders the edge. Seawall cyclists dismount and walk their bikes further down the path. Children, parents, tourists and dogs play on the driftwood sandy beach. The intertidal nature of the site, and the concrete ramp that provides access to the water symbolize a turning point from the walled to the porous edge.
The second site is a sandy outcrop on Sunset Beach, chosen because it is a patch of land that is always unoccupied whenever I visit. Through various seasons it is penned in by thorny scrub brush, marked by three small rounded boulders Shoring up the tiny cliff are rip rap rocks that create a hook-like landform when viewed from the air, meeting up with the sand, gravel and shell beach below. A 360-degree view exists that provides a remarkably heterogeneous urban fabric, between the city core and Stanley Park. Amenities nearby are a humble beach café, and a lifeguard’s tower. This is both a transitional space and a home place, situated in the high-density west end of Vancouver. There is a deliberate connection to the water made by humans, and this site is chosen to highlight the urban human’s interface with water.
Kitsilano (Kits) Beach offers an ideal stage for beginning a discussion about storm surges, sea level rise and the risks associated with climate change. The area is a major recreational corridor, heavily trafficked by walkers, cyclists, runners throughout the year. In the summer, this beach becomes a major destination for locals and tourists. An iconic landmark, celebrating Vancouver’s beautiful coastline hosting hundreds of people on a busy day.
Kits Beach, along with other coastal areas within the Vancouver area, is susceptible to sea level change, unusually high tides and storm surges. According to flood risk analysis models, most of the beach itself could be underwater with as much as a 2m sea level rise. A 1.2m rise is predicted for 2100 (Melillo et. al 2014). A storm surge on December 17th, 2012 broke several seawall structures and flooded many coastal areas around the Greater Vancouver area and the North Shore. Kits Beach was also affected by this storm. Without careful attention to our actions, Kits Beach a cultural icon, is at risk of being lost due to sea level rise.
I am interested in reviving the memories of past storm and flood events on this site revealing the urgency to take action on the issue of climate change and our changing world. As a highly popular site also with a context affected by rising sea levels and the coastal effects of climate change, Kits Beach will be the ideal location to install the intervention, inviting public interaction, observation and inquiry about the future of our coastal areas.
Sources: Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program.
My design will involve more of a system exploration for a temporal and moveable installation. Three initial sites have been chosen and will be flushed out to express how the concept will change and be adapted for each respective location. The sites are George Wainborn Park, Library Square (the plaza in front of the main library), and the intersection of Granville and Georgia streets. All three sites have been chosen with a similar rationale:
- Large potential for aerial exposure from neighboring commercial and residential sky scrapers
- Situation in a dense urban context where users are likely to be unconsciously ignorant of and/or out of touch with the environmental systems that are supporting their lifestyles
- All three sites are already social, cultural, and transport nodes with a constant flow of foot traffic
Creekside Park lies at the end of False Creek, where Science World is located. As a popular destination in a central location, it receives a lot of foot and cycling traffic, is visible from vehicles, and is close to a skytrain station. As a place of learning, Science World also attracts great numbers of people curious about the world and natural systems.
The ground on which people stand here used to be open water. False Creek Flats directly to the east was mudflats, the recipient of several of Vancouver’s lost streams. All of these pieces of the water system have been buried under the urban fabric of the city, but the water remains, hidden just under the surface.
Creekside Park is the location of one of Vancouver’s stormwater outfalls, just south of Science World. It brings much of the water into False Creek that would have been conveyed by streams long ago, but in the form of urban runoff contaminated by pollutants washed from the streets when it rains.
The installation in Creekside Park will bring attention to the hidden water systems below people’s feet, as well as inviting people to question how we handle water in our cities. How can we rethink and revalue the water we so readily flush down the (storm) drain?
St. George St. between Kingsway and Great Northern Way
The St. George Rainway is a community initiative that aims to celebrate a historical stream that once ran in Mt. Pleasant. Community members want to use stormwater runoff from adjacent properties and roads to create a series of interconnected swales and rainwater gardens that would also add beauty and amenity to the street. Our project will interject itself along various points of the proposed rainway in order to raise interest in the St. George initiative and to educate passers-by about water scarcity and water excess in Vancouver.