The permanent closure of the 800-block Robson and its redesign (close to the original vision of architect Arthur Erickson) must be getting close to opening. It’s taken a surprisingly long time, likely because of structural and upgrading issues.
There are bleacher/steps on both sides (suitable for protests and performances of several sizes). Then the view opens up. Horizontal blocks frame a narrow 700-block Robson (likely to be partly pedestrianized in the future?) Towers rise on either side.
Same elements, slightly different scales, combining to create an harmonious composition with a colour pallet and stonework consistent with the Square.
One obvious question: there’s no separated or distinguishable bike lane. Is it assumed those cycling through the square will use common sense and etiquette to yield, that they should dismount when the block is crowded, or divert around the square using the Hornby Bikeway?
To get an idea of the original vision for the Square as a whole, download this undated piece (probably mid-80s) by Ann Rosenberg – “A Walk Through Robson Square” – and read about what a different, more innocent time it was:
The complex was designed, however, in the hope that people would come most often to the Square because of the recreation it provides, walk, to talk, to read a book, catch a snooze, get a tan, have a snack. It is a place to enjoy. It is also a place in which to learn. In addition to the programmes the VAG offers, there are art and business displays, conferences, films and dramatic productions booked into the Media Centre. A visitor may also wish to view trials in the Law Courts … the Law Courts.
As originally planned, this glass-roofed foyer was to have been publicly accessible twenty-four hours a day as part of a pedestrian way that concluded at the Nelson Street boundary of the Square.