• Smithe and Richards three playground towers in downtown Vancouver Smithe and Richards three playground towers in downtown Vancouver Smithe and Richards three playground towers in downtown Vancouver
  • Smithe and Richards playground ribbon climber for junior play Smithe and Richards playground ribbon climber for junior play Smithe and Richards playground ribbon climber for junior play
  • Playground tower at bottom of hill slope with post and rope play in downtown Vancouver Playground tower at bottom of hill slope with post and rope play in downtown Vancouver Playground tower at bottom of hill slope with post and rope play in downtown Vancouver
  • Accoya cladding and wire mesh on playground towers with giant rope bridge Accoya cladding and wire mesh on playground towers with giant rope bridge Accoya cladding and wire mesh on playground towers with giant rope bridge
  • Tower trio at Vancouver playground Smithe and Richards Tower trio at Vancouver playground Smithe and Richards Tower trio at Vancouver playground Smithe and Richards
  • Boy moves through interior ropes inside timber tower at Smithe and Richards in Vancouver Boy moves through interior ropes inside timber tower at Smithe and Richards in Vancouver Boy moves through interior ropes inside timber tower at Smithe and Richards in Vancouver
  • Father and son look down through net in Vancouver timber playground tower Father and son look down through net in Vancouver timber playground tower Father and son look down through net in Vancouver timber playground tower
  • View of playground towers with climbing and tube slide with roller slide on hill View of playground towers with climbing and tube slide with roller slide on hill View of playground towers with climbing and tube slide with roller slide on hill
  • Smithe and Richards playground towers and tube slide in Vancouver Smithe and Richards playground towers and tube slide in Vancouver Smithe and Richards playground towers and tube slide in Vancouver
  • Vancouver father and son emerge from stainless steel tube slide at Smithe and Richards playground Vancouver father and son emerge from stainless steel tube slide at Smithe and Richards playground Vancouver father and son emerge from stainless steel tube slide at Smithe and Richards playground
  • British Columbia ribbon climber with two boys on ropes and flexform sling seats British Columbia ribbon climber with two boys on ropes and flexform sling seats British Columbia ribbon climber with two boys on ropes and flexform sling seats
  • Boy hides under accessible playground in Vancouver ribbon climber sculpture hide and seek Boy hides under accessible playground in Vancouver ribbon climber sculpture hide and seek Boy hides under accessible playground in Vancouver ribbon climber sculpture hide and seek
  • Girl and her mom cross giant rope bridge between timber tower at inclusive playground at Smithe and Richards Girl and her mom cross giant rope bridge between timber tower at inclusive playground at Smithe and Richards Girl and her mom cross giant rope bridge between timber tower at inclusive playground at Smithe and Richards
  • Boy crosses net bridge in playground towers at Smithe and Richards Boy crosses net bridge in playground towers at Smithe and Richards Boy crosses net bridge in playground towers at Smithe and Richards
  • Grandmother and grandchild slide down roller slide at Vancouver playground at Smithe and Richards Grandmother and grandchild slide down roller slide at Vancouver playground at Smithe and Richards Grandmother and grandchild slide down roller slide at Vancouver playground at Smithe and Richards
  • Smithe and Richards playground at night in Vancouver with park lighting Smithe and Richards playground at night in Vancouver with park lighting Smithe and Richards playground at night in Vancouver with park lighting
  • custom bespoke playground site plan layout sketch wood timber towers nets bridges slides smith and richards park custom bespoke playground site plan layout sketch wood timber towers nets bridges slides smith and richards park custom bespoke playground site plan layout sketch wood timber towers nets bridges slides smith and richards park
  • custom wood playground conceptual sketch design vancouver canada architecture abstract climbing slides smithe and richards park custom wood playground conceptual sketch design vancouver canada architecture abstract climbing slides smithe and richards park custom wood playground conceptual sketch design vancouver canada architecture abstract climbing slides smithe and richards park

Smithe and Richards Park Playground (rainbow park)

Client: City of Vancouver
Collaboration: DIALOG
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Completion Date: Fall 2021
Open Date: Spring 2022

A brand new “community porch” in downtown Vancouver’s dense urban core at Smithe and Richards 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.

In June 2022, the park was gifted a new name by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

From the City of Vancouver:

“….the new park at Smithe and Richards, on the unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, has become the first Vancouver park to be gifted a name in both the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh languages.

sθәqәlxenәm ts’exwts’áxwi7, meaning ‘rainbow’, was chosen by the Nations because the land where the park now sits was once forested with large trees and had many sources of water, including a marsh where the sun and mist would form rainbows. The name also reflects the bridging of the diverse people and communities the park brings together, and is a nod to the vibrant LGBTQIA2S+ history of the area.”