In the summer, the downtown area of Vancouver is crowded with people from a wide variety of backgrounds who move at different paces through the streets, some on weekly errands, others exploring for the first time. Yet there are few places to pause for a moment to have a break from shopping or enjoy a sandwich during the lunch hour. PICNURBIA addresses this shortage of ‘place’ by creating an inland zone for people to gather, relax and picnic in the heart of downtown.
At PICNURBIA, the summer act of picnicking is heightened by an über–picnic-blanket. This undulating landscape provides spaces for people to hang out and play in sloping formations, providing a new experience for urban picnicking. PICNURBIA offers space for people to come together, relax and watch. Inserted into the urban downtown area, a community where people already live, work and visit, the site is intended to become an easily inhabited summer zone where people can gather to enjoy the long summer days. PICNURBIA is designed to offer an ‘on-the-block’ amenity where people can drop by on purpose or discover in passing as they walk or bike home.
PICNURBIA is a 28 m long and 4 m wide wave comprised of an undulating wooden structure covered with yellow artificial lawn. 9 large umbrellas create shadowed spaces for people to rest while 5 tables offer opportunities for picnics and events.
PICNURBIA is located in Robson Square on Robson St. just west of Howe St., south of the Vancouver Art Gallery and north of the British Columbia Provincial Law Courts. To act as a successful summer node within the downtown core, PICNURBIA is planned to be easily accessible to large numbers of people, while not disrupting local residents. Placing PICNURBIA on Robson St. is advantageous because of its high volume of pedestrian traffic. Additionally, the minimal store frontage along this particular block of Robson means that potential disruptions to both residents and local shop will be kept to a minimum.
PICNURBIA is planned to be open from the beginning of August through Labour Day Weekend. This temporary installation will be taken down September 6th, 2011. During this time span it will be available to the public at all times.
The concept, design, and planning have been carried out by the Loose Affiliates, a group of young, local designers. We are unsolicited artists and designers with architecture degrees working in the urban realm. We tackle issues that are otherwise overlooked. We create briefs where none are written, discover sites where none exist, invent clients when none are present, and unearth financing when none is available. To ensure quality and safety of design, we are working in close cooperation with the VIVA Vancouver Program of the City of Vancouver.