An earlier post on Price Tags shows Jim Deva Plaza, a well-loved public space.

Well, here’s one that is neither well-loved nor well-used. It’s near Cambie & Broadway, just north of the lovely City Square.

It seems to be a well-constructed, well-intended part of the nearby condo-townhouse development, but along with little use, it seems to get little upkeep either.  Maybe the two are related.

To be fair, there’s a small community garden on the east side, and a daycare on the south.  Local intelligence (my dentist) tells me that people occasionally use it as a shortcut from Cambie & Broadway (Canada Line station) to the City Square complex, and kids from the daycare sometimes run around on it. Also, the public space that’s north of City Square doesn’t get much use either.

Read more »

“It was a coving Boomburb lacking ekistic viewsheds, but that terminating vista created by the setback on Sally’s abutter is going to help her PLVI.”

Architects, or anyone who lives with (or suffers through interminable patio discussions with) an architect in this day and age, has probably heard that a thousand times. But not everyone is hip to the latest lingo.

In the age of soaring land values, housing affordability issues and the politics of real estate, no doubt a few new words have entered your vocabulary. They populate your social media stream, masked as urban agitprop, but what do they mean? They sit there, marinating, waiting for you to Google them.

Relax — ArchDaily recently published 50 Planning Terms & Concepts All Architects Should Know to cut to the chase.

And if you’re a numtot, you might consider starting a similar list to curate.

Read more »

From CNN:

Looking at Buildings Can Actually Give People Headaches

Over tens of thousands of years, the human brain evolved to effectively process scenes from the natural world. But the urban jungle poses a greater challenge for the brain, because of the repetitive patterns it contains.

Mathematician Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier showed that we can think of scenes as being made up of striped patterns, of different sizes, orientations and positions, all added together. These patterns are called Fourier components.

In nature, as a general rule, components with low spatial frequency (large stripes) have a high contrast and components with high frequency (small stripes) have a lower contrast. We can call this simple relationship between spatial frequency and contrast a “rule of nature.” Put simply, scenes from nature have stripes that tend to cancel each other out, so that when added together no stripes appear in the image.

But this is not the case with scenes from the urban environment. Urban scenes break the rule of nature: they tend to feature regular, repetitive patterns, due to the common use of design features such as windows, staircases and railings. Regular patterns of this kind are rarely found in nature.

Because the repetitive patterns of urban architecture break the rule of nature, it is more difficult for the human brain to process them efficiently. And because urban landscapes are not as easy to process, they are less comfortable to look at.

Full article here.

Read more »

There are some surprises in the City of Vancouver’s Northeast False Creek rezoning plans for 750-772 Pacific Boulevard (the Plaza of Nations site, or Sub-area B), and the 777 Pacific Boulevard site (1 Robson Street, or Sub-area 10c) — previously covered by Price Tags —which appear to favour the developer, not the public.

The BC Pavilion Corporation — or PavCo, the public developer and a BC Crown Corporation under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture — is exceeding the recommended square footage for the sites laid out in the guidelines by nearly twenty per cent.

The plan insists on a “gateway” of three over-height towers, well above the established heights for the site of 300 feet. Instead of three 30 storey buildings, the plan is asking for two tall towers of 42 storeys and a “smaller” tower of 40 storeys.

Read more »

Here’s Concord’s latest under construction: The Arc, as seen from under the Cambie Bridge.

In a mega-project going back to the late 1980s, Concord Pacific is at last getting more adventuresome in its architecture.

I wonder if it’s the impact of residential design in cities like Singapore or even Dubai, where design is used more provocatively than our culture typically thinks appropriate (and why, I think, our colour palette is so constrained, running all the way from ‘cloudy day’ to ‘seafoam’).

Read more »

The beginning of the end for the Empire Landmark Hotel on Robson Street in Vancouver. Demolition has started.

It’s hard to tell whether the automated drilling machines are operating and how much noise they will generate. Given the need to contain the debris and to limit the noise, if this method of demolition works well, it may be the preferred way a lot of mid-century towers will be removed from cityscapes.

Read more »

On the same day we published responses from City of Vancouver mayor and council candidates to our question “What would you have done to close the gap between the City & Kettle-Boffo?“, the Kettle-Boffo project team posted an update on their website Setting the Record Straight to address some of the speculation, conflicting stories and general fallout from their scuttled development application.

We welcome commentary from candidates who have not yet responded; Price Tags will continue to survey City of Vancouver candidates on a variety of topics and issues throughout the summer.

Here are a few more responses we received to our question.

Read more »