This is a shot I took a couple of days ago, of the construction of the
Skytrain downtown sub-section beneath Granville street. You might notice
what appears to be one of the tunnel-boring machines still in the left
tunnel, along with three cute little construction workers-- including
one in the other tunnel and one hiding in the forklift:
This image is from my window overlooking English Bay. Might anyone know
what those things are? Ventilation fans? The tug seems to be headed in
the direction where there is a small forest of construction-cranes--
possibly for the upcoming Olympics:
Ken, if you're reading this, did you catch the lunar eclipse about 2
weeks ago? I did, and later, in the wee hours of the morning, decided to
take a quick capture of the full moonset:
Cool. What's the wider orthogonal section in front? A passing layby?
I think someone's sunk your battleship :.. (
I took in a presentation by your head of urban design last year, talking
about various issues. One that really caught my attention was what they were
requiring for pedestrian-friendly streetfronts- overhangs of certain
dimensions, retail door spacings, signage etc. in the downtown. If you're
dragging the camera around anyway and you remember this, can you bang off
some shots of this recent work? (Don't have to be as pretty as the last
I, for my part, will try to do the same on our now-forming railway lands
streetscapes near the dome, after the snow melts a bit. The guy responsible
for it has left, and those remaining in the department are privately
admitting that thay've dropped the ball pretty badly when it comes to the
pedestrian context there.
Our guys look to New York and Chicago massing issues, and done OK with it,
but you'd have to add Vancouver now too. There's still lots of railway lands
left to go (about half) so it's not too late to get it right for
pedestrians. In the mean time we can take bets on how long before there is a
public charette on what to do about the ground plane in the first
half....it's pretty bad.
Speaking of massing, have you ever been to
http://skyscraperpage.com ? If not, check out the cities pages...
Though not as 'technical' as what I saw, here's a couple of links:
...and section 4.3 of this:
http://vancouver.ca/dtp/ has a bunch of links...
Warning, first three are pretty heavy pdfs.
What are shadow studies, and vis-a-vis state-of-the-art and scale?
I might have mentioned this on here before, but why is it that a lot of
"inward-looking-use" architecture seems to be situated right on the
waterfronts-- areas that would otherwise be put to better advantage for
For examples, in Halifax and Vancouver (Sydney's Opera House?), they
have their casino and trade/convention centre, respectively, right on
There just seems to be a kind of counter-intuitiveness and/or
inward-looking way, as to how a lot of urban waterfronts are
(BTW, in Vancouver, they have 2 Stadiums and a mall/cinema along with
many residential highrises and assorted retail outlets, in a narrow
Not really. Not everyone is at the stadium or opera house. The
majority of people look past it as they view the water, and that's
every hour of every day, not just when an event is taking place.
People on the water don't think the water is the most interesting view
- it's the shoreline.
You guys are myopic. :)~
Ok, but they're blocking the view and with an inward-looking event no less.
Here in Vancouver, when you look out over the water, depending on which
way you're looking, you can also see the mountains, the opposite
shoreline, and/or far off into the distance. You also can get far more
of the sky and sun, including its rises and sets.
I guess part of my point is that the main cafe/pedestrian strips where
you can hang out and "enjoy" the view are in the middle of the city
that, without the above views, make it feel like any other city, with
cars and another building and Starbucks across from the ones you're at--
yet more of that inward-looking feel.
Of course the shoreline is also viewable from across the water on the
opposite shoreline and there's interesting activity on the water, too.
Oh, well, why didn't you say so? That's no problem, just list all of
the activities/buildings that require no tradeoffs, are equally
enjoyable from indoors and out, appeal to all people at all times, are
spectacularly viewable from all angles, and we'll be happy to build
them for you...for free.
That's indeed what they have out here along the water, too-- glass condo
towers-- and many of them. It's quite dense in some areas.
However, in some places, they seem to be set more back from the water.
Ideally, I was thinking of some sort of progressive heightening of
buildings from short at the water's edge to gradually higher the further
Well, air rights go up, and water rights go out and own, not in, so
you're creating what? - air-water-shore-view rights? Maybe you should
just take some time out from the photography and sketch out where it's
okay for people to build. Start with a small city until you find your
feet. It'd save a lot of time. :)~
The city of Vancouver has already incorporated something along these lines
into thier urban design guideline. They have even protected view corridors
to a couple of bumps in the mountains known as the 'two lions'. WW is not
breaking new ground or being silly, but his musings are quite preliminary
compared to those of people in the business. The trick is to balance many
competing imperatives, after you've appreciated them all....and even that
you'll probably get some of it wrong. Take solace in the fact that it's
What does this mean?
> Maybe you should just take some time out from the photography and
> sketch out where it's okay for people to build.
I'd say build "wherever", just keep it incrementally shorter and sweeter
towards the water I suppose. :)
If I ever get the time and desire, maybe I could look into some kind of
I think this has to do with land use history and the scale of redevelopment
planning, not some lack of vision per se. Urban waterfronts were too
valuable to be preserved for 'views'. These areas are usually reclaimed from
derelict former commercial areas in these port cities. The lands are often
reclaimed or toxic. There's often infrastructure like railways or highways
adjacent, etc. forming barriers to access. There's also often a long period
of transition, when some of the former uses persist legally on adjacent
lands limiting the commercial viability of some types of redevelopment. You
have to take a long view and be patient, or put in power a totalitarian
strongman with a new interest in urban destruc...er...I mean ...design. I've
got someone in mind ; )
You mean that rust-coloured I-beam "bridge"? Unsure, but I'll take a
guess that it's supporting electrical, communication and/or water mains.
I was an innocent civilian who happened to be in the wrong place at the
I'll try to include that when I attempt this:
One of my ideas for an alt.arch thread is to post a "directed
photographic study" of some favorite downtown retail shops' interiors--
perhaps with a view toward some inspiration for and application to other
I look forward to it.
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall some interesting pics from
you regarding a silvery gallery or museum or something that jutted over
I think so and will try to find the time to return.
You mean the whole "square" pit that the construction workers, blue
portable toilets, scaffolding and materials occupy?
If so, I'm unsure. Probably a few reasons. I think there's an
underground mall in the area too.
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