Le Tour de Urban Vancouver
A small peloton of local urbanists gathered on August 15, 2014 at the Southeast False Creek Energy Centre to inaugurate Urbanarium's programming (the FCEC's LED panels atop the five exhaust "fingers" express energy consumption in real time). The tour enjoyed visiting, and hearing back stories for, contemporary urban design and architectural achievements including the Olympic Village ("The Birds" were the second public art proposal), the Wing Sang Building and East (a thoughtful, yet contemporary, contextual composition for Chinatown), 33 West Pender (the various colours expressed on the balconies reference Vancouver's "Silk Road"), Woodwards (the "W" tower terminates the Cordova Street axis), Blood Alley and fronting sites (thoughtful "surgical density" in an established context), the new Convention Centre (the city's Ralph Segal insisted on a public waterfront), The Presidio (Richard Henriquez's gesture to Adolf Loo's "Villa Karma" in Montreux, Switzerland), Eugenia Place (the penthouse tree references the height of the original first growth forest and the initial penthouse proposal called for a suburban rancher with lawn and push mower which the tour strongly endorsed!), The Sylvia Hotel Addition (a thoughtful, referential yet contemporary, contribution to a special setting) and concluding with ideas about a new Aquatic Centre replacing the existing in situ, and to be complemented by a new "companion" Maritime Museum on the Vanier Park waterfront as a "creek gateway" connected by a water level pedestrians/cyclists linkage (replacing the old Kits Trestle) while ultimately managing rising seas and protecting the False Creek Basin and Flats). The evening concluded over refreshments reflecting on the achievements observed. A repeat tour will take place during Vancouver Design Week (details on the VDW website) with more tours planned including Mt. Pleasant/Kitsilano residential achievements in townhouse scale zoning, Vancouver's "Housing Transect", and neighourhood scaled complete community achievements including The Arbutus Lands. A good time was had by all!