status: 2011 Academic project
designer: Stéfan Levasseur
mentor: Erick Villagomez
City Growth explores the potential for urban agriculture to advance the cultivation of Vancouver’s identity and to reconnect the community of Marpole to the Fraser River waterfront with an interactive interpretive centre and market facility. As a gateway to the city, City Growth will showcase Vancouver’s role as a leader in sustainability. The project’s location directly below international flight paths and adjacent to a main bridge entering the city provides a rare opportunity to view the site from an aerial perspective, creating a visual record of the transformation.
The site is presently dominated by light industry and surface parking. Its conversion to agricultural land is hindered by contaminants from previous industrial use thus requiring intensive bio-remediation. Mobile greenhouses will contain the contaminated ecosystems and provide lab facilities to explore new methods of bio-remediation and allowing the public to witness the gradual transformation of the site.
To intensify a connection to the waterfront, the facility blurs the shore line with an integrated ramp descending through cattail-seeded steps. Two market platforms cascade along this ramp, separated from the building by a descending cattail ‘creek’. As through a patch of cattails, light filters into the interior spaces through a skin composed of alternating solids and glazed voids. Visual connection is maintained with the outdoor market platforms through openable wall panels.