The city street has become the new civic space that currently lacks a catalyst to draw people. Street use is based primarily on the utilitarian need to reach a destination. Presently, podiums in Vancouver are shells that lightly connect to the street on the ground level while failing to acknowledge the street on the upper levels for the most part.
The objective of this proposal is to elevate and revitalize the street 'zone' while blurring the interface between the private building and the public street life, thereby reintegrating the street into the building. By creating a permeable podium, the street life expands into the podium resulting in the formation of a new micro-urbanism. The waterway is the catalyst, which creates a new interest on the street made possible by Vancouver's unique topology and climate. The porous podium, along with the waterway, activates the street life and promotes it to new heights.
The separation of living/working space from the ground plane in pursuit of achieving a higher density in the urban core of Vancouver is a consequence of "Vertical Sprawl." The ground plane loses its significance and life force. Sprawl has encouraged the reclusion and isolation of individuals within their households/workplaces.
Cities experimented with plazas to combat this loss of physical contact with others. This European model of civic spaces doesn't transfer well in North American due to attitude differences. In short, streets have adopted the roles of church squares and public plazas, but their significance is diminishing because of sprawl.
(From competitor's text)
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- Presentation Panel