Presentation 3 McGarva

SFU City Conversation: Future of Our Downtown Waterfront Hub
June 4, 2015

Waterfront Precinct: Visions of Vancouver’s Waterfront Hub
Graham McGarva, Principal, VIA Architecture

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2007-2009: People Tower

This is not about the stadium but about aspirations for urban life at the water's edge. We call this the People Tower, because who can say no to the people?

The stadium was not about 30,000 people coming to 30 soccer and football games, but about being an exciting hot spot that resonates in the daily pulse of the city. Simply put, it was a park amphitheatre with a ring of food and beverage outlets around a 24/7 seawall, with office, hotel, and assembly spaces with an unbeatable vibe.

Starting from the assertion that soccer is a village, which is how the Whitecaps operate as an inclusive community, think of it like Seattle's Pike Place Market wrapping around David Lam Park with all kinds of seating, sunbathing and activities stages, surrounded by the seawall, and the magnificent view of the water and the mountains.

So the People Tower itself, which is on the rail yards, was a complement - a vertical mix of inter-connected functions gathering together the density of the rail yards in a singular form of critical mass unlike anything yet seen in Vancouver.

Getting into the hub planning framework process of this time period, we absorbed the ambitious vision of a massively expanded transit hub as you have seen presented, and the City's aspiration to bring Granville Street through to the water, on our neighbour's land. And the hope that someone would find the value to pay for all of this.

Being very aware of how our land and building locations were being claimed for the transit hub, our working assumption was that building height would be allowed to compensate for this.

The work on the infrastructure for the stadium sensitized us to ‘the devil's in the details,’ phasing and interconnectivity.

The work set the stage for our current version of a range of public environments up and down, side to side, connected in layers. But first, the Central Waterfront Hub Framework plan.

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