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Help make Vancouver less boring, design-wise

March 5th, 2009 · 9 Comments

Okay, all you people who love to trash Vancouver. “It’s not so world class,” you say. Every time I (or anyone else) ever writes a story suggesting there’s anything admirable about Vancouver, the naysayers come out in force to say we’re deluded and that the whole city is just a bad condo marketers’ power point.

This is your chance to make suggestions on how it can be made into that hipper or more jazzy or greater city you’re all longing for. The City of Vancouver and the Architectural Institute are holding a competition for ideas “to shift Vancouver’s face and form.” You can read about it here. Sharpen your mechanical pencils now.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Brent Toderian

    Hi Frances, thanks for posting the link for your readers… We’re hoping for plenty of submissions, from both local and internationaldesigners (and you definately don’t have to be a “pro”, just creative!). Although I’m very interested in how to make Vancouver’s architecture more diverse and perhaps more “adventurous”, this competition is less about being hip, and more about bold, meaningful designs that reflect the city’s significant commitments around climate change, in a way that changes “business as usual” and is replicatable. Hopefully though, they can do all that, while bringing some architectural risk as well.
    Again, thanks.

  • Glissando Remmy

    In theory it seems a good idea, the practice is what kills us..
    Looking at the list of names on that “formshift” pamphlet, jury and organizing committee, I cannot stop smiling thinking that some of them were recently involved in several decision makings that resulted in gruesome designs throughout the city of Vancouver.
    In the past 10 years great ideas were killed in their infancy, or postponed or analyzed to the death (take the Burrard Bridge cycling experiment for example) by Mayor/ Council after Mayor/ Council.
    Why would anybody think now that anything positive will come out of this?
    Urban Design Panel professionals are not always inclined to send their colleagues packing when a bad design comes to their attention and I yet to see a Development Permit Board application turned down for the same reason. And with the crème de la crème of the development industry sitting on the newly minted Mayor’s pet committee I don’t see much change in the air.
    Status quo is too sweet.
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy!

  • CV

    This architectural competition is superb; it’s great to see city hall throwing down the gauntlet to the public in terms of new building designs.

    What I would love to see is the same thing done with street design. This is an area that could vastly improve the quality of the urban environment in Vancouver. Take a walk around London and you might notice the “pedestrian islands” everywhere. Even if a road has a single lane in either direction there will be a raised concrete “island” in the middle of street. It makes the pedestrian experience so much better.

    The sidewalk bulges appearing around Vancouver are good. But there really needs to be a reworking of the pedestrian environment. I propose:

    1) No pedestrian crossing should be longer than the width of 2 lanes of traffic

    2) Sidewalks should be widened in place of car parking in certain places (Davie, Denman, Robson, come to mind). This city could have a fantastic European sidewalk cafe/patio culture.

  • Rosa Shih

    Vancouver needs more conspicuous architecture, rather than the type that blends in. The type that blends in is pleasing to the public eye, but for Vancouver to be really world-class, I feel like there needs to be some controversial architecture.

    In terms of urban design, Vancouver has some great public spaces – both green and urban. I would like to see a more prominent public square downtown, much like the European piazzas with a Vancouver urban twist. I also agree with CV to widen sidewalks along the commercial streets like Robson and Denman.

  • Mechanical pencils, Frances?

    Only CanWest journos use those these days!

  • fbula


    A joke. I don’t think mechanical pencils need to be sharpened either. And I don’t think CanWest journos are using anything these days.

  • Not running for mayor

    I think you’re missing the forest for the trees here, Vancouver is iconic in the fact that the buildings aren’t iconic themselves, it’s the group of them blending one into the other that provides an iconic image not found very often in other cities. So I would argue that our lack of any one building standing out sticks out in itself.

  • Check out some non-Yuks comedy shows.
    For instance the Press Box…

    It’s easy to say “Do it yourself” but the fact is the police and bars have to stop checking IDs and closing off streets presuming guilt of presumably innocent people.
    Allow non-R Rated Arcades.
    Take it easy on Skaters.
    Be Business Friendly and low on tax grabs making sure people have more expendible income.
    Lets not waste money on a failed Olympics and if this disappears it’s likely at the orders of CTV Global her employer now who has an interest in the parasitic games.
    Right now they are stealing from everyone paying any taxes with new money so that some old money pricks get to watch their centurians battle.
    Who says it isn’t the old fashioned Olympiad, it even includes double louge marriage.

    World Class is like cool, if you try to hard, it just not going to happen.

    Homelessness, they should just have an emergency endowment for private competitive industry rentals for those with trouble affording non-SRO housing and end government land lording.

    Demand the Health Acts and Mental Health Acts be ammended to enforce not restrict the hypocratic oath, now it is restricted by refusing tests that may be needed to rule in and out things.
    If the state pays for it, it has to have that law, so Doctors and Nurses aren’t bureaucrats.

    End all Sin Taxes. Even Sales and Luxury taxes. Tax old money based on the generation it has been passed on.

    OT: I can’t believe a french literature type would not take an interest in a Candidate also known as the Voltairian.

    Robertson, Sullivan, Harper, Campbell and all are showing the Philosohical Dictionary definition of Government in action.

    Anyway, I think what is also important is that polaks are not killed when they come to this city.

    Oh and what fool puts Jim Green in charge of development after the successful criticism of 2005?


    Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco-Assisi Buday
    “Car 87 forces it’s drugs on you and forces you to go places based on arbitrary political reasons. And I think that should be acknowledged.” — Gölök Z Buday, 2008 Mayoral Campaign Quoted in, East Vancouver Enquirer, etc…..

  • Oh Design, we need heritage buildings put an end to, make the location historical not the shitty building.

    Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco-Assisi Buday
    “As you have the power, sir, to do some service to letters, I implore
    you not to clip the wings of our writers so closely, nor turn into barndoor fowls those who, allowed a start, might become eagles; reasonable liberty permits the mind to soar–slavery makes it creep.” — Voltaire [A Letter To A First Commissioner]