• Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
  • 0 hectares
  • 1 acres
  • Smith Bros. & Wilson
DIALOG Services
  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Planning & Urban Design
  • Structural Engineering
Download as a PDF

DIALOG has been working with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation for several years to design this unique and highly innovative park, setting a new direction for park design in the city. It has emerged out of a fulsome dialogue between stakeholder groups, municipal government, and the designers that involved numerous engagement and needs assessment exercises. The end product is a dynamic concept that will serve downtown residents and visitors. This new park will bring green space to the city centre, as well as provide a place for people to gather, engage in social activities, enjoy an on-site café, and take in their surroundings from the pedestrian bridge.

…parks are expected to serve an ever-changing suite of needs. DIALOG has been able [come up with] a design that will serve the city for the coming decades.
Tiina Mack, Manager of Park Development, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
smithe richards park drawing v3

It started with a sketch

An elevated walkway In the original design, an elevated walkway clearly defined the nature of the project, as did the sky frames and terraced spaces for a variety of user groups.
smithe richards aerial location v2

The design story 01

In the heart of downtown

The new park, which was a parking lot for over a decade, will be located in Vancouver’s downtown core. The area was once home to small shops but is now surrounded by condos and office towers.

smithe richards engagement1 v2

The design story 02

Defining the park

Engaging the community was the first step to creating the new park. The team had to determine diverse residents’ and stakeholders’ wants and needs for this important community place.

smithe richards engagement drawing v3

The design story 03

Pop-up engagement

The project team hosted several participation events over the life of the process, including a “pop-up park” to capture the input from passersby, and an interactive sandbox to capture the input from children. The end result was three different design concepts for the new park.

smithe richards panel engagement v10

The design story 04

Taking stock of resources

A part of the planning process was looking at what facilities were already in place, including the proximity of other downtown parks.

smithe richards model1 v2

The design story 05

Early concept model

This early model of the park illustrates some of the abstract concepts that came into play, including a path running from one end to the other.

smithe richards axo v5

The design story 06

Making the slope work

The site slopes more than 15’ from the north to south end, posing some interesting challenges for the design team. They addressed the slope with three flat terraced spaces.

smithe richards section v5

The design story 07

Three sets of users

An upper terrace for socializing, a middle one as a childrens’ play area and a lower civic plaza all work together to make the new park a perfect urban gathering place.

smithe richards study2 v3

The design story 08

Walking above it all

The elevated walkway is designed to carry people above the new park from one end of the site to the other, and provide a unique perspective over the park and on the downtown streetscape.

smithe richards park drawing v2

The design story 09

Sky frames for artwork

The sky frames march diagonally down the spine of the park. They allow for the framing of art pieces, banners, or lighting installations and provide a sense of ritual and celebration.

smithe richards model2 v8

The design story 10

Stacking the layers

This model shows the different layers that make up the new park, along with their relationship to one another within the confines of the park boundaries. It also shows the evolution of the park from blank canvas to finished concept.