A unique urban park will be built on the rooftop of Oakridge Centre as part of the ambitious redevelopment of the shopping centre into a larger flagship regional destination.
The Vancouver Park Board has launched a public consultation phase for the design concept of the nine-acre park that will replace the existing rooftop parking area over the mall.
The park is one of the public amenity requirements under City Council’s 2014 approved rezoning of the 28.5-acre shopping centre in exchange for the site’s added retail, office, and residential density. The zoning allows for a floor area increase to up to 4.6 million sq. ft.
The project is being redeveloped by local developer Westbank and real estate investment company QuadREAL, which acquired the mall from longtime owner Ivanhoe Cambridge earlier in the year. Under the new ownership, the overall project has been redesigned, with towers with sweeping designs to create a stronger architectural statement.
There have been some changes to the redevelopment’s amenity concepts in the latest iteration of the design.
This includes relocating the 70,000-sq-ft Civic Centre – with a new public library, daycare, seniors centre, and community centre, and 290 affordable homes – from the southwest corner to the northwest corner, as it is a more prominent and accessible area.
As well, the roof for the park has been lowered, and the park’s levels will be closer to the street. There will also be three varying park levels instead of one single-level park as previously proposed.
The ‘Oakridge Park’ will be surrounded by the Civic Centre, office and residential towers, townhouses, and restaurants with patios.
At least six major entrances into the park space will be created from the street level, the SkyTrain station entrance plaza, and the indoor shopping mall level. Visitors will be able to access and move between the three park levels by stairs, walkways, escalators, and elevators.
Six zones – each with varying concepts intended for different usages – are envisioned for the park, and all of the zones are connected by a grand staircase and looping walking path that doubles as a running track. There is a 1/4 mile (400 metre) loop and a 1/2 mile (800 metre) loop.
Construction will be funded by the developer, and the park will be operated by the Park Board when complete.
Here are the proposed design concept options:
The Civic Centre Park for the northwest corner zone of the Oakridge Park would be immediately adjacent to the Civic Centre, allowing programming to “spill outside and animate the local park”. This zone is at street level.
Civic Centre Park: Concept 1
This area is designed for the need of local residents and could include a children’s play area with a major ‘splash pad’, youth activity and gathering space, and activity spaces.
The giant steps double as a amphitheatre and feature a slide between levels.
Civic Centre Park: Concept 2
There would be a large open lawn for a variety of uses and programming, including a programmable pavilion area and structure, activity spaces around the edges of the Civic Centre, and the giant steps doubling as informal seating.
The Upper Green is on the park’s third level on the rooftop, beyond the giant steps. It would be a large open lawn space and function as a flexible area for informal sports, games, picnics, sunbathing, and group activities such as tai chi, yoga, and fitness bootcamps.
This space is edged by a running and walking loop and includes spaces for outdoor fitness and games.
There will also be a dog off-leash area, an event space, and a covered pavilion for concerts, performances, and activities.
Located on the second level of the rooftop, the Commons would act as a hub of activity adjacent to restaurants with patios.
A secondary park pavilion will provide a covered space for events and daily use.
The Commons: Concept 1
One idea for this space includes an open lawn for a variety of informal uses like yoga, sunbathing, picnicking, frisbee, and beach volleyball. There could be dedicated spaces for games such as bocce and table tennis.
Additionally, the concept envisions concerts and performances on the lawn, next to the park pavilion, and outdoor fitness stations.
The Commons: Concept 2
Similar to the first concept above, this alternate concept carries the addition of a children’s play area with a water play feature and spray park.
This zone would “encourage nature in the heart of the City” by incorporating community gardens, orchards, and a meadow to support habitat for birds and other pollinators.
A heavily treed area would create a lush urban forest. It would serve to showcase Pacific Northwest native plants, with pathways and seating throughout the area for quiet contemplation.
The Woodland is located on the third level on the southern end of the site, where there is another major access point to the park’s upper levels – with a grand staircase.
The Pocket Park will be off the rooftop site, across the new street on the ground level at the southwest corner of the mall.
Designed for residents in the surrounding neighbourhoods, it consists of a children’s play area and a variety of seats for individuals and groups.
Two open houses on the proposed park design concepts will be held on Wednesday, December 6 (5 to 8 pm) and Saturday, December 9 (11 am to 2 pm) at the Oakridge Centre Auditorium at Oakridge Centre.