Science World Expansion: SWITCH an Outdoor Science Park
If you live near by or drive by Vancouver’s Science World (or Telus World of Science for all you Telus employees out there) you’ve probably noticed the tarp next to the much beloved dome. Underneath that tarp is the construction of SWITCH, Science World’s new outdoor science park and exhibition space. The drafts and proposals for this project have been floating around for years and with significant contributions coming from all levels of government it looks as though the project is finally proceeding.
Science World is a popular destination in Vancouver, during the weekdays it’s packed with Elementary school kids from all over the Lower Mainland and on the weekends it’s even busier with families. Therefore, it was about time they expanded. However, an outdoor science park in Vancouver, with our weather, may not be the most accessible year round. Unless of course they plan to cover it up on those long, cold rainy days.
The proposed outdoor gallery will:
- Introduce visitors to sustainability topics related to six themes: Water, Housing, Energy, Waste, Transportation and Food.
- Provide space for large outdoor exhibits, programs, construction activities and explorative play.
- Provide a secure and safe outdoor space for Science World visitors, campers and school groups.
- Provide an outdoor flexible exhibit space that will be open to the public for special events, programs or exhibits.
In addition, the project will positively impact Creekside Park. As part of the project, Science World will:
- Relocating the Tower of Bauble, Science World’s iconic rolling ball sculpture, to the eastern edge of the new plaza and closer to Quebec Street.
- Creating an informal public plaza that will include a canopy to provide weather protection for the public and Science World visitors.
- Improving the entry to the Science World building from Quebec street.
- Providing and maintaining free interactive science exhibits around our facility and along the edge of the exhibition and gallery space.
- Providing views into our outdoor stage and flexible exhibition space.
- Clarifying and improving the pedestrian and bike traffic around our facility.
- Clarifying and improving the automobile traffic control related to servicing the Science World building—loading and deliveries as well as the arrival and departure of school groups.
- Better integrate with City and Parks Board long-term vision for the site, including a future street car stop and reclamation of temporary decking.
Expansion for Science World is long overdue and overall this plan looks great as it not only expands exhibition space, it also attempts to integrate better with what will become a vibrant extension of the seawall.