The City of Vancouver’s VIVA cultural program has announced that ‘Porch Parade’ is the winning design for this summer’s temporary pedestrian plaza at the 800 block of Robson Street – between Howe and Hornby streets.
‘Porch Parade’ features a mid-street vibrantly coloured “party wall” as the most visually defining aspect of the entire functional art piece. Porches straddle the wall to create a “spatially complex yet simply constructed neighbourhood.”
The design is created by Chicago-based architectural firm Design With, marking the first time the annual Robson Redux space has been created by international designers and architects.
“The porch is the architectural element that connects people and buildings to the city,” writes the designers. “It is where you cool off on a hot summer day. It is where you greet neighbours passing by.”
“This project presents an ad hoc arrangement of typical domestic front porches, complete with appropriate accoutrements in a parade along Robson Street.”
The winning team, made up of architects Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer, will receive a $5,000 cash prize and up to $40,000 to cover the costs of materials, fabrication, construction, insurance, installation and de-installation.
They will spend the next few months building their design so that they can install the art piece in time for Canada Day.
‘Porch Parade’ will remain in the street throughout the summer until Labour Day, when it is scheduled to be disassembled. Some of the structures and items on the porches, which will be purchased from local yard sales, will be donated to organizations upon the end of this year’s Robson Redux program. For instance, the porches will be donated to the Vancouver chapter of Habitat for Humanity to be used as porches for real homes.
“In this way, the project is made from pieces that make up the local community and putting them on display in new and unfamiliar ways before they are reinserted into the community,” adds the designers.
There were some complaints about last year’s ‘Urban Reef’ winning design, with critics commenting that the wooden benches lacked street presence (scale) and was far too safe creatively.
A total of 81 submissions were submitted and reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of local architects and designers. Along with selected the winner, the judges chose “Robson Reclaimed” and “Greenest Block” as this year’s honourable mentions.
The public also had an opportunity to rate the designs online to choose a winner for the “People’s Choice Award,” which went to ‘#ICU’ designed by local recent graduates of the University of British Columbia.