Smithe & Richards Park Groundbreaking Scheduled for January 2020

Smithe & Richards Park Groundbreaking Scheduled for January 2020

After many years of planning and some unexpected delays, DIALOG’s highly-anticipated Smithe & Richards urban park in downtown Vancouver will be breaking ground in January 2020.

This amazing civic asset 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.

This 0.8 acre park has been in the works for several years. DIALOG was initially selected to design the park in 2015 and the original concept was approved in 2016. Design and budget revisions delayed the project start-up, but it will be going ahead in the new year. The final hurdle for the project to clear is the Parks Board and City of Vancouver approval of the preferred contractor; votes on that contract are scheduled to take place next week (December 9 and 10, respectively). Construction for the park is scheduled to start in January 2020, and is expected to take approximately one year.

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.

The Smithe & Richards park is the product of a lot of hard work by DIALOGers who were passionate about creating a unique and vibrant space, and the City of Vancouver has provided amazing support and encouragement along the way.

Tiina Mack, Manager of Park Development for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, summarized DIALOG’s contributions to the project: “As the demographics of our city transition into the 21st century, our parks are expected to serve an ever-changing suite of needs. DIALOG has been able to synthesize this milieu of expectations into a design that will serve the city for the coming decades.”

Stay tuned to DIALOG’s social media channels for more updates about this exciting project.

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