A brand new “community porch” in downtown Vancouver’s dense urban core, Smithe and Richards Park is small in size (less than one acre), but it is huge in community impact. In what was formerly a parking lot, the park has been designed by DIALOG to significantly improve the neighbourhood’s livability. It serves the more than 25,000 people who live and work within a five-minute walk of the park. The park includes a community plaza that will host events, an elevated bridge that zig-zags across the park offering multiple vantage points. A Kafka’s cafe offers food and drinks on-site and seating and lighting installations activate the space.
Several park elements feature a zig-zag pattern that inspired the design of the Smithe and Richards Park playground. Three towers appear wrapped loosely in a ribbon that connects the towers both visually and functionally. The towers have multiple points of entry and egress, including two winding slides. The tower cladding is gapped to offer views in all directions. It also ensures transparency for caregiver supervision.
The three towers are intended for older children; on the other side of the elevated bridge, a lower-level junior ribbon climber is intended for younger playground visitors. The ribbon climber has spaces for hide-and-seek underneath the structures and varied lower level climbing options, including ropes and flexform, for small hands and feet.
A dual roller-slide takes advantage of the topographical changes of the site. Rope and log play extend up the hill.