Posted by: Mitra Mansour on March 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Hallucinating in Public: Creating Environments That Are Beautiful and Disruptive, the second workshop in the Upcycled Urbanism March series,  got off to a mysterious start. Bill Pechet of  SALA and Ian Lowrie of  Spacing Vancouver gave a packed room of urban design enthusiasts an introduction to design process: a matter of creating poetry with an "immaculate corpse." They combined images of playful, practical and interactive urban realm installations with fun fur because, of course, it's  fun!


Students of Bill's studios at SALA are no strangers to this nouveau-surreal approach to public place making. Those just being exposed to the approach were intrigued by and drawn into the design-making process. By playing with “hallucinatory” systems as a catalyst for more creative civic engagement and participatory place making, participants used design thinking to create potentially richer public realm projects.


They brought together the various poetic elements in conceptual drawings and scale models (constructed from modular blocks created by SALA students). Some projects explored possible public spaces which incorporated interactive permeable walls. Others provided communal sheltered spaces with moving bookshelves for an outdoor library. Others played with lighting, while others used sculptures as multi-faceted sensory vignettes to help people better connect with one another.


Images by: MOV Volunteer Linnea Zulch

Bill Pechet of SALA and Ian Lowrie of Spacing Vancouver

Participants start to layer their hallucinations onto the site.


Collaborative modular forms start to take shape rooted in previous Immaculate Corpse layering process

A week later, Block Talk: Creating Spaces That Connect People ( the third Upcycled Urbanism  workshop) brought together local design enthusiasts with town planning students from the University of Dortmund in Germany.


The sold-out workshop was  co-lead by Mari Fujita, a professor at UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Jonathan Bleakley and Zanny Venner from Vancouver Public Space Network.


The central challenge? Use a  public feast as a driver for communication and connection between friends and strangers. The concept was inspired in part by the leader’s own innovative projects. In 2005,  Fujita’s Space Agency project (2005) invited designers to reclaim Vancouver’s little-used alleyways. The winner saw giant balloons lodged in a rarely-used Gastown alley. In the summer of 2012, Vancouver Public Space Network’s Lunch Meet initiative used a half-block  long dining table to draw strangers to share their lunches together.


Workshop participants were guided to think about innovative models of public furniture and collaborative community activities using blocks designed by students in SALA’s Material Culture Studio.


The workshop produced some tremendous ideas. There were prototypes of multi-generational spaces promoting play and performance. There were clustered spaces for napping and “romantic meetings.” Teams used the modular blocks to prototype  flexible and multi-use street furniture at seated and standing scales,  as well as interactive forms which could shift to create solid or permeable structures to allow for human connection through sight and sound. The German students, amused that Vancouverites are not permitted to drink alcohol in public, proposed interesting ‘bar’ tables, sparking  conversation around policiy and cultural differences that shape public drinking.

Mar. 17 images by Kellan Higgens.


Zanny Venner of VPSN, Mari Fujita of SALA, Jonathan Bleakley of VPSN


Ready, set, charrette!


New innovative modular forms emerge to create public feast spaces

All Mar. 17: Kellan Higgins -

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Participate in the LAST Upcycled Urbanism Workshop:

Surprise and Juxtaposition in the Public Realm

with SALA, Spacing, and Maker Faire


Design forms and images seem to reappear through life--whether in architecture, nature, or even in the food we eat. How can forms from seemingly disparate realms provide inspiration for imaginative public space interventions that draw people together, hold them, and perhaps even change them?


No need to have a design background, just bring your creative and curious mind!


Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between MOV, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine. With generous support from Mansonville Plastics and Vancouver Foundation.


Location: Museum of Vancouver

Date: Sunday, March 24

Cost: By general admission | MOV members and project partners free


Twitter: #upcycledurbanism


[What is Upcycled Urbanism? Learn more here.]


Posted by: Mitra Mansour on February 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

The Upcycled Urbanism project makes use of recycled expanded polystyrene donated from Mansonville Plastics. We really value the use (and re-use) of recycled and reclaimed materials in public space installations.

As such, we've really been loving 2 recent public art projects.

The first being a collaborative effort between Monash University, Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Grimshaw Architects and Places Victoria, called the Sealight Pavilion. This site-specific installation on the Australian Docklands uses reclaimed timber to pose an alternative urbanism use in scale and experience for the area. We also really love how partners in this project involved the Monash University Architecture students to help them design this new space.

Our second favourite is the Heartwalk project in Times Square, NY, installed just in time for Valentine's Day. Heartwalk is by Situ Studio (link: and was the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, a contest organized by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space challenging designers and architects to come up with a love-inspired installation for Duffy Square. This project stood out as a contest winner because it proposed the use of reclaimed boardwalk boards from the Rockaways in New York and Atlantic City in New Jersey which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and not only celebrates romantic love, but the power of love to heal and overcome hard times. 

Upcycled Urbanism is a partnership between MOV, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire Vancouver, and Spacing Magazine.

With generous support from the Vancouver Foundation and Mansonville Plastics.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]


Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

What do you get when you gather some of Vancouver's most talented designers in one room at Museum of Vancouver for the first Upcycled Urbanists meeting? Exploration, play, great questions, even greater conversations, and some amazing ideation. We can't wait to see what our Upcycled Urbanists have planned for our Design Sunday Workshop Charettes!

Workshops start on March 3, so make sure you RSVP and get over here to start building!

Below: Upcycled Urbanism Project Partners from SALA, VPSN, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 28, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Congratulations to Eric, Jessika, Lindsay, and Minnie on having their modular unit designs chosen as the four finalists to be used by our Partners at SALA, Vancouver Public Space Network, Maker Faire, and Spacing Vancouver to help create a collaborative public realm installation!

The above images are work by UBC School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture Students (Left to Right) - Lindsay Duthie, Eric Lajoie,  Jessika Kliewer, Minnie Chan.

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

Posted by: Mitra Mansour on January 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

We popped in to help crit the very inventive modular unit designs the students in Bill Pechet's Studio have been creating for Upcycled Urbanism. We were really inspired by all the fabulous designs the students created and very excited to sit on a panel with Marlon Blackwell!

Work by UBC School of Landscape Architecture and Architecture Material Cultures Studio Students - Mahmoud Bakayoko, Minnie Chan, Lindsay Duthie, Jessika Kliewer, Margarita Krivolutskaya, Eric Lajoie, Mallory Stuckel, Shiloh Sukkau, Avery Titchkosky, Lorinc Vass

Photo Credit: Shiloh Sukkau, UBC SALA Student

[What is Upcycled Urbanism?]

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