The week before Labour Day weekend was the annual Introduction Workshop for all incoming Architecture and Landscape Architecture students. It was 6 days long and, similar to the optional drawing workshop the week before, it was a lot of fun.
Both of the workshops were held in SALA’s downtown studio on Carrall Street at West Pender. This is in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown East side, the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver. The area is noted for its high incidence of poverty, drug use, sex trade, crime, as well as a history of community activism and the highest incidence of HIV in the western world. It was once the main shopping district in the city but has experienced significant urban decay in the past decades. More recently though, many of the buildings are being renewed and many new businesses are operating in the community, this gentrification has created some tension between the community and developers.
For all of these reasons, the downtown east side is one of the most interesting areas of the city and a great starting point for exploring Vancouver. The purpose of the workshop was to transect the city and analyze it using a single lens. Our goal was to create a narrative and present it in a creative way; most of the groups made a video.
To supplement the agenda of exploring the city we had daily field trips, which included visiting the Seymour Mountain water reservoir, a tomato green-house, and an historic walking tour of the Kitsilano.
The week was intense and we were challenged to push our ideas on how to execute a creative analysis to new levels. The assignment facilitated exploring the city and served as a great icebreaker between the entire entering class. It was also beneficial to be able to work with the Landscape Architecture Students and Faculty because from here on in I don’t think there is much intermingling.
Seymour Water Reservoir
Downtown East Side Vancouver