Downtown's newest park will have its own hammocks!

Jul 13 2017, 1:31 am

A new park in downtown Vancouver just beyond the border of Yaletown is set to be ready for the public to use in 2019.

On behalf of the Vancouver Park Board, local architectural firm DIALOG has submitted a development application to the City of Vancouver to turn a 0.8-acre vacant lot currently used as a parking lot into a new public park.

The site occupies roughly three-fifths of a city block and is bounded by Smithe Street to the south, Richards Street to the south, a laneway to the east, and a building to the north. According to the latest assessment by BC Assessment, the property has an assessed value of $58.3 million.

But this will not be another ordinary, cookie-cutter green lawn park.

The park was first considered in 2015, and preliminary concepts were first revealed and selected in spring 2016. Now, two years after the design process first began, new renderings and details have been released showing the precise design and concept of the new public space.

An elevated pedestrian walkway with multiple access points will meander across the whole park, becoming one of its most distinctive and interactive features.

Hammocks and interactive installations will be installed or suspended on the underside of this structure, and a cantilevered lookout over Smithe Street will hover high above the sidewalk.

Artistic rendering of the proposed park from Smithe Street, showing the cantilevered lookout of the elevated walkway. (DIALOG / Vancouver Park Board)

“The primary function is as a pedestrian route or journey that bridges over the park spaces and civic plaza, offering a dynamic and varied experience and vantage points to the park activities or events occurring below,” reads the architect’s design rationale in the application.

“This walkway is also designed to provide a number of fun and unique moments to pause and hangout upon the bridge structure, sometimes close to the tree canopies or looking directly over to the climbing structure in the adjacent play area or at the southern terminus of the bridge.”

There will also be so-called ‘skyframes’ – overhead metal frames that align diagonally down the park’s spine – that support nighttime lighting and installations for art pieces and banners.

Artistic rendering of the proposed park from the intersection of Smithe Street and Richards Street. (DIALOG / Vancouver Park Board)

On the Smithe Street end of the park, the design calls for a café pavilion with universal public washrooms within an angular wedge-shaped building with a green roof.

The café will help animate the space and create “eyes” for the park, which will make the public space safer.

Artistic rendering of the civic plaza, overhead walkway, water features, and café. (DIALOG / Vancouver Park Board)

Artistic rendering of the café and elevated walkway. (DIALOG / Vancouver Park Board)

A small civic plaza, suitable as a venue for small events and festivities, with a water feature will front the café.

New trees, shrubs, and perennials will be planted, particularly along the park’s edge with the laneway, effectively providing the park with a green backdrop that blocks ground-level laneway and building views.

Various types of seating, both movable and fixed, are scattered across the park.

The Park Board originally envisioned a summer 2017 completion and opening, but that has since been pushed to sometime in 2019 with construction set to begin in mid-2018. Once complete, it will serve 11,000 residents living within a five-minute walking distance.

Diagram showing the features and landscaping of the new public park. (DIALOG / Vancouver Park Board)

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