On the south-east corner of Vancouver’s false creek the largest ‘Green’ housing development is currently under way. This includes the 2010 Olympic village. During the construction of the Olympic village hundreds of sheets of wheat board were used to protect the appliances and fixtures in the kitchen while construction on the units was completed.
When Folke Kobberling and Martin Kaltwasser, of Köbberling & Kaltwasser, were commissioned to complete a public installation in this area they decided to use this leftover material in order to create a situation of “exchange and cooperation.”
“On this interim land, which lays fallow for the time being, the artists created a 6 x 7 x 14m artwork that invites the participation of new neighbours to liberate the discarded, share excess, and contribute to the building of new forms and meanings.”
The School of Architecture at UBC and the Emily Carr University of Art & Design were invited to participate on the building team to complete the installation, a giant bulldozer, in the time frame of nine weeks.
My first day on site was already half way through the building process and the project didn’t seem anywhere close to its midpoint. The framing was done and one corner was more or less completed but it did not look like bulldozer. Martin showed me the toy model they were working from, which made me very intimidated by the amount of work ahead. As I started working I saw how incredibly efficient the team was. The Emily Carr students who were participating with the project as part of an industrial design course were really innovative with getting in getting the assembly to work. Also, Folke and Martin’s process of using the material as a modular unit made the project progress very smoothly.
Seeing the project come together was wild but one of the most interesting parts about K+K’s design was how it would decompose. The bulldozer was filled with earth so that it would completely break down with the help of rain. Watching the form of a bulldozer break down and go back to the earth is such a bizarre spectacle, I think it is a perfect installation for this new ‘Green’ community in Vancouver.