Many Paths to a Common Goal: A Park Inspired by Terry Fox
In Collaboration with Ken Lum
Terry Fox was a great unifying spirit for all Canadians, touching each individual Canadian in a profoundly personal way. For me, Terry Fox was a contemporary and the entire story of his Marathon of Hope resides vividly in me. His story remains alive in me because he made me so keenly aware of myself and my place in the world at an important time in my life. My wife is younger than me and remembers him in ways differently from me, yet his story inhabits in her for similar reasons.
I have visited his Marathon of Hope starting point in St. John’s and spoke to the Mayor of that city about the events preceding and up to the beginning of the intended cross-country run. On display in St. John’s City Hall is a collection of photographs and letters of Fox at the start of his run. They are shocking to see. The weather looked very cold—judging by the many others in the picture donning heavy coats—but there he was wearing only shorts and a T-shirt. He was also so very young.
How does one pay homage to someone whose greatness is transcendent? For the Legacy Art Project Toronto…Inspired by Terry Fox, and in collaboration with space2place Landscape Architects, I thought about a landscape of gentleness, variation and peaceful respite. Many Paths to a Common Goal is the title of my proposal. The title suggests an idea of many ways to experience the park within its modest expanse; to welcome a diverse range of perspectives within a collective space.
The Park includes a large, semi-enclosed Entrance Plaza and community gathering area adjacent to Queens Quay and the Martin Goodman Trail. From here an ascending, spiral pathway brings visitors up a prominent, grassed Mound to a Belvedere Lookout towards the city and overlooking the plaza below. The plaza is defined by a Feature Wall including an image and quote of Terry Fox. The quote that I have chosen to be engraved in the feature wall is as follows:
I guess that one of the most important things I’ve learned is that nothing is ever completely bad. Even cancer. It has made me a better person. It has given me courage and a sense of purpose I never had before. But you don’t have to do like I did […] wait until you lose a leg or get some awful disease, before you take the time to find out what kind of stuff you’re really made of. You can start now. Anybody can.
The quote is profoundly moving. It is also a remarkable call to action for people to live life as fully as possible.
Within the park, seating and gathering is afforded by the gentle slope of the grass mound and an extended, multi- tiered bench at the North West end of the plaza. An additional bench is included on top of the mound with views towards Lake Ontario.
The park’s circulation celebrates the journey of Terry Fox. Included is a map of Terry’s intended route from St John’s to Vancouver. The map takes the form of an irregular line traversing the park from the north end, adjacent to Queens Quay, and extending to the lakefront. Concrete rings engraved in the paving depict Fox’s starting point at St. Johns near the park entrance, his end point near Thunder Bay at the edge of the plaza’s Feature Wall where it intersects with a Sculptural Wall, and his intended completion point on the West Coast of Canada, marked flush on the Waterfront Trail.
The park is designed to improve connectivity to its surrounding context. The site can be entered from Queen’s Quay and the Martin Goodman Trail, the Waterfront Trail, or pathways connecting to the Spadina Quay Wetlands and Toronto Music Garden.
In its totality, the park should be experienced as a place of gentleness where visitors may accrete into self-reflection about one’s place in a better world. This is an idea that Terry Fox lived and died by.
Jeff alongside Eleanor Arkin and Haley Roeser of frida&frank and Andrew Pask, planner and director of VPSN started off last November’s edition of the SFU City Conversations with brief presentations on what opportunities design and public engagement can offer for a better use of public spaces in our rainy city.
Jeff led a walking tour through Surrey Bend Regional Park for students enrolled in UBC's 2018 summer course Urban Landscape Architecture. He described how the transformation of the originally scarred site occurred while considering its larger context using long views and physical connections. Students were curious to hear how landforms define and create spaces. They learned that the park is designed to accommodate regular flooding while capturing most of the year's runoff in swales and wetlands, which also reinforce the site’s character.
Jeff will be speaking at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center during the Greenery & Landscaping Conference May 29-31, 2018.
The Potential of Places | Abstract
Our relationship with the natural world and built environments is changing. As our landscapes are transforming due to increased development and a changing climate it is more important than ever for public landscapes to foster a unique place-specific identity with a high quality of public life for residents. In response, the role of the Landscape Architect is increasing in complexity as the interweaving of environmental and cultural issues require solutions that are both visionary and sustainable.
Space2place, a landscape architecture studio based in Vancouver, takes an integrated approach to help organizations transform forgotten sites into ecologically sustainable and experientially rich places. As landscape architects and urban designers they bring together the practical and the imaginative to realize projects that enhance meaningful connections between people and their environments. In his lecture Jeff Cutler will share his process illustrated with relevant projects from Western Canada.
The Strategy was adopted by the City of Vancouver to help create safe and engaging park spaces for people with and without dogs.
As in many other major North American cities, the number of people and dogs in Vancouver is growing. With population growth and people living in smaller spaces, it’s now more important than ever to balance different uses of parks and public spaces.
The CSLA Awards of Excellence honour distinctive design, ground-breaking research, sustainable landscape management and much more.
Sarah Primeau will be on a panel of Emerging Leaders at the upcoming Landscape Architecture Summit in Philadelphia June 10-11. Sarah will be one of 70 established and emerging leaders presenting their "Declarations" and engage in a lively debate about realizing landscape architecture's potential and effecting real world change.
The summit is organized by the Landscape Architecture Foundation and convenes a diverse group of preeminent thinkers and influencers from around the world to set the course for landscape architecture to make its vital contribution in the 21st century.
The Summit marks 50 years since Ian McHarg and other leading landscape architects composed LAF’s seminal Declaration of Concern, which decried the burgeoning environmental crisis and heralded landscape architecture as critical to help solve it. Building on this legacy, this one-time historic gathering will culminate in a redrafting of the original 1966 Declaration of Concern and a landmark publication of the ideas presented.
Our latest park is opening this weekend with a grand opening event in the park from noon-4pm on Saturday April 16.
Surrey Bend Regional Park is one of the largest, most ecologically- significant areas within the Lower Mainland. The 348-hectare site is situated on an undiked section of the Fraser River floodplain, and thus has a great diversity of wetland ecosystem types. Space2place was engaged to build on earlier planning studies with a detailed design that will allow the public to sensitively access the site for environmental education programs, wildlife viewing, and other forms of passive recreation. The design response, limited to previously-developed parts of the site, plays with the site’s topography to create new views in and out of the park, and to create new wetland habitat.
The park is designed to accommodate and celebrate regular flooding, with primary trails and key park infrastructure (park pavilions, pit toilets) set above the level of frequent inundation. During most of the year runoff is captured in new swales and wetlands, which also reinforce the site’s character. Site planting will expand the riparian forest, incorporate native meadow planting, and provide low-maintenance lawn areas for group gatherings.
Three pavilions have been designed to provide sheltered spaces for picnicking, group gatherings, and formal interpretive programs. Natural play elements and interpretive elements are also integrated to engage visitors in unique ways and provide visual landmarks through the site.
More information about the park. http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2016/04/surrey-bend-regional-park/
We are excited to announce that Kinsmen Park has won a National Urban Design Medal. This is the second National Urban Design Award won by space2place following the certificate of Merit received for the Garden City Play Environment in 2012.
The National Urban Design Awards were established to recognize that urban design and architectural excellence play an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.
The awards are presented jointly by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects in cooperation with Canadian municipalities, to promote public and private awareness of Urban Design.
Complete list of recipients: https://raic.org/awards/national-urban-design-awards---2016-recipients
As Saskatoon’s oldest park, Kinsmen Park has been one of the city’s most prominent and well-loved places. From its origins over a century ago, this 31 acre site has been a key gathering place in the city - bringing families together to play, socialize, and connect with nature. The recent improvements to the park, including a new Ferris wheel, miniature train, restored carousel and a generous play environment have reinvigorated the park’s appeal and its legacy as an iconic destination within Saskatoon.
We would like to acknowledge all of the people and organizations that contributed to the success of this project.
Client: the City of Saskatoon
Project Sponsors: Potash Corporation, Canpotex, CN
Consultants: Oxbow Architecture, Public Architecture and Communication, Local Practice Architects, Associated Engineering, Catterall and Wright, PWA engineering, LIS irrgation
We are pleased to announce that the Surrey City Hall playscape was recognized with an honourable mention by the 2016 CSLA award Jury.
The Surrey City Hall playscape has been carefully design to layer a diversity of play opportunities that allow children to experience risks and test their boundaries. The result is a dynamic place that provides open-ended play experiences that encourage imagination and creative play while meeting the emotional, cognitive and physical needs of children.
Jeff Cutler will be lecturing at the Springs Preserve on October 8 as part of a lecture series for the University of Las Vegas. Jeff's talk is titled serious play and will speak about the qualities of great places for play and the value of risky play.
Jeff Cutler was interviewed by Adrienne Matei for an article on playgrounds for the August 2015 issue of Kinfolk Magazine.
Oppenheimer Park is featured as one of seven projects from across Canada as part of the Architecture in Context series. The in-context series is described on their website as follows:
"Over a year the In-Context travelled across Canada collection stories of real people and places, to report on the impact of recent architecture projects at the foreground of this great evolution of Canadian cities."
The video and accompanying article were developed during the summer of 2014 when the park was home to a protest held within the park throughout the summer. They do a great job of capturing the context and social conditions of this park.
Oppenheimer Park is featured in the May 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine. The article was written by Adam Ardvinson and is focused on how the design of the park is in response to the unique social conditions of the park. Oppenheimer Park is one of Vancouver's oldest public places and is situated within one of the most underprivileged neighbourhoods in Western Canada. The article was written a few years following the completion of the park. Adam visited with us and interviewed many of the people that are involved with daily activities within the park.
An article featuring Surrey Bend Regional Park was published in the March 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine. The project is currently under construction and will be open to the public in the Spring of 2016.
Jeff Cutler will represent British Columbia on the jury for the 2015 CSLA awards. The adjudication will occur in early February in Winnipeg.
Space2place is the first runner up and won $10,000 in the SFU Rise competition. The competition seeks ideas to deal with Sea Level rise within the Vancouver context.
Our submission Perforated Edge demonstrates a model of flood-adapted urban development that uses multiple strategies (e.g. elevated grades, flood gate, new water channels, wetlands) to safely bring water into the city for ecological enhancements, recreational opportunities, and waterfront development.
Rapid sea level rise is presenting a serious challenge to the future of our coastal cities. Conventional flood protection infrastructure, such as dykes, create a disconnect between our communities and their waterfronts. This results in lost opportunities to experience the water, lost recreational spaces, and lost intertidal ecosystems. At the same time, many coastal cities are wanting to revitalize their urban waterfronts but are challenged to find ways of safely connecting people to the water.
This project seeks to show how Richmond, as a representative coastal city, can adapt to sea level rise while reconnecting the city and landscape to the water. This proposal demonstrates a model of flood-adapted urban development that uses elevated grades, a flood gate, and new water channels to safely integrate water with the urban fabric while protecting against floods and sea level rise.
At the heart of this proposal is a 13 hectare tidal channel park that brings the Fraser River into the heart of Richmond’s City Centre, reconnecting people with the water along 3 kilometers of new riverfront property. The tidal channel park also allows landward wetland migration, supports juvenile salmon rearing, and filters urban stormwater runoff.
The above video is part of a series of videos interviewing Vancouver Designers about their work. An article on Vancouver is Awesome accompanied this video http://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2014/09/11/vancouver-design-week-is-almost-here Also look for our work in an upcoming exhibit at the Vancouver Museum as part of Vancouver Design Week.
Mike Teed will receive be awarded the inaugural CSLA emerging practioner award at the 2014 CSLA conference in Ottawa.
The Emerging Professional Award demonstrates the CSLA’s commitment towards landscape architects in the early stages of their careers. The Award is intended for emerging professionals who: have demonstrated professional excellence in the field of practice, positively impact their vocations and communities, have shown leadership in the profession, and demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for the profession of landscape architecture.
Mike has been with space2place since 2006 and has worked on many of our most significant projects and he is a key member of our team. Congratulations Mike!