Redevelopment of Lansdowne Park

Lansdowne Park
Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PSF) design was recommended for Lansdowne Park after a winning the design competition held back in 2010 beating out Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, SWA, West 8  and Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates. Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg have continued on with the design process over the last two years have been working as part of the team of other design professionals and City of Ottawa to integrate the new park design with other elements of the project. The ‘new Lansdowne’ project includes – a large new park(Lansdowne Park), a re-designed stadium and Civic Centre, and a village of boutique shops and stores, services and residences – into a single plan.

Continue reading Redevelopment of Lansdowne Park

SUSTAIN: Vancouver – Sustainability key to growth of future cities

On April 9 the one day conference SUSTAIN: Vancouver was held at Vancouver Art Gallery

SUSTAIN: Vancouver explores this corner of the world as a model for a larger dialogue about how to shape our experience of the urban and consider meaningful ways of living together for the years to come. From farming to architecture, to new technology, to grassroots activism, this day of conversations looks at how creative and critical practices share varied understandings of the contemporary reality and anticipate different paradigms for the future.’

Speakers included academics and design professionals from North America. The conference was reported by the Chinese New Agency – Xinhua which gave some interesting excerpts from the conference including Kelty Miyoshi McKinnon, Principal of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS)

“I think there needs to be a larger sustainable strategy in place for looking at kinds of cultural infrastructures, historical infrastructures of the city and how you can incorporate that into new development. I think it is possible to achieve density and maintain those crucial historical elements of the city,”

The Xinhua article gives a good overview but I hope that more appears in the media and on video sites.

Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg design recommended for Lansdowne Park

Design B - Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, a Vancouver based firm has been recommended by the jury. The Design was displayed as Design B by the City of Ottawa to the jury who deliberated on the design over the weekend. The City has not officially announced the winning proposal however I expected something to be announced soon.

For more information go to the [SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen – It’s Design B. Jury selects less flashy urban park proposal]

Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the
Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags

Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • SWA Group
  • West 8
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates

What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of  storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.

The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.

The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.

Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.

International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.

I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.

Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.

Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.

IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

Underpass Park unveiled


A derelict area beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands is going to be transformed into the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first in Toronto.

Located within the West Don Lands – home to the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes’ Village – Underpass Park will cover a total of 1.05 hectares (2.5 acres) under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.

Designed by renowned landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg in association with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park embodies design excellence and is the epitome of innovative urban park design.  The design creates a socially-engaging park for community members of all ages and abilities by incorporating public art, recreational space, playful climbing structures and play areas, flexible community space, community gardens, and public gathering places.


[IMAGE SOURCE: Waterfront Toronto]

New Park in Downtown Toronto


GPM_2544 Click for Enlargement Image

A new park that has yet to be named runs north from Fort York Boulevard and sits about halfway between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst streets. “The …8-acre park is the result of five years of planning and construction and was built at a cost of about $8 million,” says Terry Hui, president and CEO of Concord Adex Inc., creator of Concord CityPlace.

Participating in the sneak preview of the new park were Mayor David Miller, Councillor Adam Vaughan, Douglas Coupland, the Vancouver writer and artist, whose vision inspired the design of the park and Darrell Fox, brother of Terry Fox, for whom the park’s running/jogging track is named.

Concord CityPlace will hold a competition to choose the best name for the new park, says Mr. Hui. The judging panel will include a range of household names from the arts, music, the stage and television.

The central theme of the new park, as envisioned by Mr. Coupland, is a celebration of Canada and especially of Toronto’s two centuries of history. It seems to seamlessly connect the roots of Toronto as represented by nearby Fort York and the shoreline where then Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe founded the city with the inspiring towers of the central business core to the east.

Corporate art consultant Karen Mills was responsible for suggesting and selecting the public art and for the overall coordination of the project and Vancouver landscape architect Greg Smallenberg of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg handled the physical landscape design.

SOURCE: Concord CityPlace

IMAGES CREDIT: George Pimentel

Buchanan Courtyard under renovations

The University of British Columbia(UBC) is developing the final plans for Buchanan Courtyard which is to be implemented through the Public Realm Plan ($26 million initiative to rejuvenate open spaces over 15 years). $1.5 million is earmarked for the project with a further $1 million hoped to be raised for the project.

The project is expected to take 2 years with the west courtyard finished in June 2010 and east courtyard in 2011. The project was inspired by landscape architecture and architecture students at UBC and plans were developed during a consultation process with staff, students in a series of workshops with Co-Design group and landscape architects space2place.

The final stages of the project have been contracted to Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS).

Information SOURCE: The Ubyssey

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