Architect Rick Balfour comes up with more audacious ideas before breakfast than most of us have in a year. (He led the “Outside the Box” workshop at the Affordability by Design conference, results here.)
 And another:
Jericho Forum
Says Rick:

Looking at the land form on Jericho,-could we need a classical amphitheatre like Epidavras in Greece; big enough for 15 000 people, overlooking the beach, bay and mountains.
Forget rain, we can deal with that later, but the urban form and the invitation to meet and on the stuffy west side. I think we need it.  Even first nations might say, good idea, count the area in our contribution.
– we must add a west coast touch related to the Talking Stick
Like the Greeks, I think there are some natural forms on that hill to make it work. It can be used for all the festivals already in vogue and a whole lot more.  When not in use, like in Greece, the children play in it, old folks have tea parties.
 We do not have enough things to leave as ruins.
And for those that say we could build another 200 condos … we need more civic spaces in the city.
Jericho site 
I also know why these classical spaces are frowned upon and not built in our society, but that is another chapter.


  1. “Forget rain, we can deal with that later…” ?
    Bravo to Balfour for an idea that will help stretch people’s ideas of what Jericho can be, but having studied Greek theatres in some detail, I have to point out that there’s a reason they were invented in the Mediterranean rather than in Vancouverlike climates such as Ireland.
    Of course, ancient Greek theatre was also a religious event. Vancouver might assemble some mid-sized cults around heroic planners and architects, but I doubt any one of them would be enough to pack Epidaurus on a Saturday night.
    Again, bravo for the way this idea opens our thinking, but given the climate, perhaps we should study Druidic and Celtic architecture rather than Greek. Stonehenge, at least, had those horizontal stones that offer a spot to get out of the rain …
    Vancouver needs better public space, but its spaces need to make sense all year, not just in that frenzied ten-week holiday called summer.

  2. If memory serves me correctly, the music manager Bruce Allen, possibly in conjunction with his client Bryan Adams, was looking to develop a music venue like the shown amphitheatre in the Vancouver area.
    He had talked about this several times on his now-defunct CFOX “Sound Off” program. I believe his search for a workable site took him south to Richmond or Surrey, but still to no avail. He eventually gave up, I think.
    For what it’s worth, that Balfour idea for Jericho is gorgeous. That site would be absolutely perfect, but we all know that it could never happen in sleepy West Point Grey.
    I do think this kind of venue would have a hope in Squamish – which has equally compelling geography and viewscapes, plus a soon-to-be four-lane-highway to get concert goers to and from the city.
    The Gorge in George, Washington is a good example of how outdoor amphitheatres can be complemented by wonderful natural surroundings.

  3. I have to comment on the statement that Vancouver’s weather is similar to Ireland, having lived there for a year, I can fill you in: Vancouver gets about 1900 hours of sunshine a year, Dublin gets a whopping 1400..that’s 500 hours less than Vancouver! They also have no sunny/dry season. Zero. Zilch. Picture a bleak, rainy April here…that is their summer weather. Trust me, as much as you hear about dreary, depressing weather here, it is nothing compared to the British Isles. We at least get a reprieve.
    And having said that, I think a forum like that would be sweet, and would be totally useable from May-October. Why not?

  4. Don’t even THINK about ripping up that park to put in that monstrosity. Isn’t the downtown “I’m not really a cheap knockoff off the Colisseum” library enough for you? If you like things Roman or Greek, go to Europe. Wild spaces–and this park is hardly wild, but it’ll do–are an important component of a biologically healthy city. I like the idea of an ampitheatre, but lets put it where it belongs, downtown: how about where BC Place now stands? or that glass embarrassment left over from Expo, the condemned pavilion on False Creek?

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