2/3/09

Anticipation of Pavilions Future



Today VANOC and Four Host First Nations (FHFN - Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh) unveiled plans for the temporary Aboriginal Pavilion to be built in downtown for Vancouver 2010 Olympics and set to open in one year. Newswire article description:
Centered on a 65-foot high inflated multi-media sphere, the pavilion will use the latest technology to showcase the diversity of Aboriginal art, business, culture and sport from across Canada. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal visitors will enjoy this experience in the relaxed, informal setting of the Pavilion.

[] Located on the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in downtown Vancouver, within easy walking distance of BC Place and GM Place, the 8,000 square-foot 2010 Aboriginal Pavilion will be right in the heart of Olympic activity, with Vancouver's Celebration Site located immediately across Cambie Street.

This $3.5 million structure designed by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden contains both high-tech - the bubble - and traditional architecture - a Coast Salish longhouse that wraps around the bubble ( the Queen Elisabeth restaurant is appended to the complex as well as a reception hall). Although the Longhouse portion will outlive the games moving to a permanent home elsewhere, the sphere won't be so lucky.

Yet it is the sphere that is so intriguing and remarkable. After Adele Weder recently labeled Vancouver Olympic architecture "uncool" (source), the sphere might not be exactly a turning point, but finally it's something that looks at all close to being iconic, something that might come to symbolize Vancouver 2010 as far as architecture goes. It has the visual audacity that one would expect to associate with such an event - the Expos and such; seems that this little project has delivered more visual "oomph" than any other Olympic Venues have done so far. And judging from the earlier schemes, which - although inoffensive and, later, nice - were not very memorable, it has developed in the right direction:

earlier scheme:


later scheme:


There is something wonderfully optimistic ( and, yet, monumental ) about such a perfect shape. (Aside: the black ring is unsettling - it creates a resemblance to a salt lamp or something like it: Damian Inwood wrote in the Province that the pavilion "looks like a giant snow-globe, with the FHFN logo on it").

And, finally, I cannot think of that many better location markers to create a gathering place - something the organizers, FHFN, intended - than a big ball. "Meet me by the bubble," might be something many will say/text in due time.

All that said, it is still a little odd.

FHFN link

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's quite appropriate to put this HBBH thing in a rubric of "Architecture Wanted" as it certainly seems missing from this combo of hackney and hullabaloo.