The Smithe & Richards urban park in downtown Vancouver will break ground in January 2020.
The 0.8 acre urban park was designed by Dialog’s planning, landscape architecture, structural engineering, and mechanical engineering teams after extensive public engagement and consultation sessions with area residents. The end result of that community-focused process was a unique, multi-faceted, and artistic oasis in an urban environment.
The sloping site, which is currently being used as a parking lot, is located near Vancouver’s downtown business district and is bordered by high-rise towers.
It will feature three terraced activity spaces and play areas of varying sizes for visitors to enjoy. Stretching over top of the park from the north end to the south is an elevated, zigzagging pedestrian bridge that will allow people to stroll the length of the park and enjoy a different vantage point of the neighbourhood.
The south end of the bridge is cantilevered out over Smithe St., providing an elevated view of this part of the downtown core. Multiple access points will allow people to get on or off the bridge wherever they choose.
There are plans to place hammocks and interactive installations on the underside of the bridge to animate the space. Several large metal sky frames will also be installed over top of the bridge to help illuminate the park at night, and provide options for hanging various art installations.
A café will be located at ground level at the south end of the park, adjacent to the end of the bridge, and will open out into a community plaza area designed for larger public gatherings. The entire park will be filled with extensive plantings with native species; existing mature trees on site will be retained where possible.
Dialog was initially selected to design the park in 2015 and the original concept was approved in 2016. Construction for the park is expected to take approximately one year. Smith Bros. & Wilson (BC) was awarded the contract in December 2019.