Downtown Vancouver’s newest activated pedestrian-friendly laneway is finally complete for full public enjoyment.
The laneway, located just east of Granville Street behind the Orpheum Theatre, between Robson Street and Smithe Street, had its grand public unveiling on Thursday evening.
“This development will help continue to change the way people in Vancouver see public space,” said Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) president and CEO Charles Gauthier in a statement.
“Why can’t a lane be used for garbage collection in the early hours of the morning, commuters on their way to work, morning deliveries and dancing, selfies and socializing in the afternoon and into the night?”
Dubbed ‘Ackery’s Alley‘, the space has red velvet pain, artful signage, gold panelling, and reflective materials.
But the most unique element is FIELD, which is a permanent, interactive art installation on the ceiling of the Orpheum Theatre’s footbridge over the laneway. The public art piece is designed by Tangible Interaction founder Alex Beim and local composer Adam Lastiwka, and it senses a person’s presence and their movements and responds by creating a light soundscape.
This project, a part of ‘More Awesome Now,’ is a continuing collaboration and partnership between the DVBIA and other stakeholders such as HMCA Architecture + Design and the City of Vancouver.
“The More Awesome Now partnership is both a ‘call to action’ empowering citizens to make their own cities better, and a statement that demands more awesomeness,” said HMCA associate Alexandra Kenyon. “The parties involved are forward-thinking organizations who care deeply about making Vancouver a better place and are willing to put in the legwork to make it happen!”
Ackery’s Alley is the second of three laneway conversion projects. In 2016, the group created Alley-Oop – a laneway south of West Pender Street, between Granville Street and Seymour Street, painted with bright pink and yellow colours. Work will now begin to shift towards activating the laneway south of Robson Street, between Burrard Street and Thurlow Street, which is where Canada’s second Off-White store recently opened.