Roundhouse transforms

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Community centre will play host to concerts, public market

Frances Bula

Artist’s rendition of the improved turntable plaza that will transform the area into a performance space.

VANCOUVER – Staff at the Roundhouse Community Centre once looked glumly across the road at the Urban Fare grocery store, where people were merrily drinking coffee and hanging around in the sunshine.

Meanwhile, the large open plaza in front of their centre was a dead zone that no one used except as a garbage receptacle.

That is all destined to change, after the Vancouver park board approved an innovative new plan for what’s called the turntable plaza, which will transform the area into an outdoor performance space that can hold 500-750 people for everything from plays to concerts to public markets. The plaza, which is a historic relic of the old railyards and train-turning table that used to be on the site, will see a crane erected in the middle of it, from which cables will be suspended to support tent material, lights and lanterns.

“This is a big win for the arts community,” said park-board commissioner Spencer Herbert, who credited the community centre’s board for endorsing the unusual solution. “It’s visionary, it’s creative. It’s such a multi-functional design that it will be used heavily. It’s something the downtown needed.”

Herbert said that part or possibly all of the money for the project may come from Vanoc to create a legacy project.

“Hopefully, we will be able to get the whole thing donated so it can truly be an Olympic legacy.”

Margaret Watts, the centre’s supervisor of recreation services, said everyone hopes the new design will turn things around.

“Our biggest hopes for this site is that we will turn it into a welcoming public plaza.”

The design was well received by local residents, who live all around the circular plaza. Watts said any events put on there will aim to minimize noise and light that might bother them.

The design was created by Nick Milkovich Architects and Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg landscape consultants.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008


Comments are closed.