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Visible cities: a Gallery of Urban Design in downtown Vancouver Chan, Walton Fan 1996

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VISIBLE CITIES: A GALLERY OF URBAN DESIGN IN DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER by WALTON FAN C H A N B.A.Sc, The University of Waterloo, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Architecture We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A January 1996 © Walton Fan Chan, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT In my Directed Studies I looked at how architecture can make the experience of time more immediate. This can be done by the use of light that marks the passage of time and the variability of the outside world; the unfolding of and movement throught a building's spaces; the juxtaposition of permanent and changing elements; and in the choice of materials and how they wear over time. To explore these ideas, I choose as my project a Gallery of Urban Design for Vancouver. The Gallery would give students and professionals as well as the interested public the chance to learn about the complexity and richness of cities. The site is a vacant 100' x 120' lot on the SW corner of Robson and Homer, across Robson St. from the new Public Library. This area is consolidating as an arts and entertainment district, and a smaller-scale cultural venue would complement larger institutions like the Library, Ford Theatre, BC Place, etc. The site is at a strategic corner of this district, with strong connections to the rest of downtown. Right now, this district is an odd mix of empty lots and large object buildings that dominate most or all of a city block, most of which turn their backs on the sidewalk. The result is a barren and uninviting streetscape. What's missing is a finer grain to knit together these large monuments, the kind of grain seen in nearby Yaletown and on Robson St. The site of the Gallery, across from the Library, has the chance to extend Robson St.'s rhythm, and also to enclose and define Library Square. The Gallery itself is the heart of the project. There are four gallery spaces devoted to different themes: the City's Origins, the City Rises, the City in Crisis, and the City Renewed. In each there is a permanent exhibit on Vancouver around which changing exhibits about other cities are organised. The areas for permanent exhibits are marked by a change in the flooring, from polished concrete to wood. For visitors, the gallery spaces, each a variation on the same palette of materials and light, unfold piece by piece as they move through them, always with glimpses ahead of what's to come and views back to where they've been. The dimension of time is involved in understanding this sequence, and emphasised in the in-between spaces that thicken the transitions. The simple materials serve as a reference for the changing qualities of light that are used to mark a centre and to draw the visitor forward, to imply stability and movement, in a rhythm of light and dark that ends with the dramatic light and city views of the last gallery. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Acknowledgements Sheet 1 Site Plan Homer St. Elevation Parking/Basement Level Street Level Plan Sheet 2 Third Level - Library Second Level - Galleries Fifth Level - Boardroom Fourth Level - Offices Sheet 3 Robson Elevation Longitudinal Section 1 View from Robson and Homer Longitudinal Section 2 Sheet 4 Homer Elevation Transverse Section 1 View along Homer St. Tranverse Section 2 Sheet 5 Perspective: View down Robson St. Perspective: Gallery Entrance Perspective: Reception & Central Stairs Axonometric: Street Level Perspective: Central Staircase Perspective: Central Staircase - Detail Sheet 6 Perspective: Gallery 1 Perspective: Gallery 2 Perspective: Gallery 3 Perspective: View into Gallery 4 Axonometric: Gallery Level Isometric: Gallery 2 - Wall Display & Lighting Sheet 7 Perspective: Gallery 4 Perspective: View up to Library Perspective: Research Library iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my thesis committee - Bud Wood (Chair), Ray Cole, and Bing Thorn - for their guidance and support; to Nancy Vo and Michael Lo for their help in preparing my presentation; and to the studio thesis crew - Jacques, Sue, Sam, Jim, Karyn, and Ian - for being there and getting me through the late nights. iv 13A311H3M3SVB I DNIMUVd NVld 13A31133U16 mm BLTLTBH m m TlPSl I W T W I IJTDTn in ED 1 r ' o i m i i d mn II K ; h i m mi 111 T r ^ n r a r m i n D " 1 3 1,B I i T f i n o n D L E 1 3 IL-lVnl S^lQd Hi 2 3 0 nooucuvoa - IIAJI M U J S33tldO-13A31HlUnOJ 3 4 5 6 7 


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