The viaducts are important to retain as a potent urban artifact in the unique morphology of Vancouver, rather than simply erasing them from our collective civic memory. Our concept is rooted in a very bold, yet simple, concept of ‘sleeving' a simple skin of glass enclosure on both sides of the viaducts. As such, this transforms them into a luminous “green snake” building/infrastructure that preserves and rarifies this piece of ‘dead urbanism', while using them as the bones for a new urban intervention comprised of commercial, entertainment, urban agriculture, energy harvesting, and non-auto transportation uses.
Re-Connect: Viaduct Transformation
We believe that the viaducts are important to retain as a potent urban artifact in the unique morphology of the city. Despite the negative associations, it would be more meaningful to transform the viaducts, and take a negative urban element and turning it into a positive opportunity, rather than simply erasing it from our collective civic memory. As such, our base premise is to encase and transform the viaducts into a glassy snake-like building and infrastructure insertion into the existing context that preserves and rarifies this piece of 'dead urbanism', while using it as the bones for a` new future urban intervention.
Our concept is rooted in a very bold, yet simple, notion of 'sleeving' a simple skin of glass curtain-wall on both sides of the viaducts. Like the scaled skin of a snake, these transparent facades give the viaducts a shape, enclosure, and space that rely on the 'bones' of the viaduct for its primary structure. The simple act of transforming the viaducts into a space immediately introduces a new course-scaled horizontal intervention that will resonate in the city fabric, and compete with the large urban landmarks of Rogers Arena and GM Place. It will also provide a venue for a variety of civic, cultural, commercial, and green infrastructure uses. While the City's admirable incremental green strategies (laneway houses, urban agriculture, bike lane networks' etc.) all positively lead towards achieving the City mandate to 'make Vancouver the greenest city in the world', the proposed viaducts transformation offers a powerful civic scaled opportunity to insert a large symbolic green 'marker' across the context of the city. Several principles underlie the conceptualization of the viaduct 'building': firstly, that it will be self-supporting from an energy point of view, secondly, that it will act as a 'green snake' of sustainable infrastructure for solar & wind harvesting, vertical farming, bird habitat, water bio-filtration, and thirdly, that it will provide a transition hub for multi-modal transportation into the city. The glass skin facades will act to homogenize and visually calm the more ad-hoc disposition of programmatic uses within the snake enclosure.
Key to transforming the viaducts is the notion of programming the viaduct enclosure with a high-¬intensity of mixed-uses seeking synergy between them and the existing uses in the area. A series of idiosyncratic opaque organic forms are proposed that will inhabit the viaduct snake enclosures and deck levels. These sculptural programmatic pavilions will be clad in rust patina Corten steel, providing a bold, contrast to the more serene ephemeral and transparent green snakes. These ladder elements will provide two primary functions: first, they will act as vertical and horizontal connectors between the various levels and spaces within the project, and second, they will provide opaque enclosure spaces for the more enclosed programmatic spaces, such as, restaurant kitchens, semi-private spaces, service spaces etc. Part of the economic strategy to make the overall concept viable¬ is to incorporate a significant amount of commercial uses into both the snake and ladder enclosures that would complement the entertainment/sports precinct around the two stadiums, while helping provide the necessary capital to finance such a bold concept. The presence of cafes, bars, nightclubs, restaurants etc. will help to establish the snake & ladders viaducts as an entertainment Street, particularly in the evenings, similar to those existing in many of the greatest cities around the world… perhaps Vancouver could finally shed its "no-fun-city” reputation?...
16 scanned / 10 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel
- Axonometric Drawing