Design for new Robson Street plaza revealed

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Robson Street plaza
Concept looking west from mid-block 800 Robson St. Credit: City of Vancouver

Construction should begin next year on a new plaza on Robson Street between the Art Gallery and the Law Courts.

The City of Vancouver has released the preliminary design concept for the new plaza, which will be constructed on Robson Street between Howe Street and Hornby Street.

The section of road has been closed since the summer, and was also closed during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The latest closure resulted in the permanent rerouting of several downtown Vancouver bus routes.

Robson Street plaza
Robson Street at Howe, before 2016 closure.
Robson Street plaza
Concept looking west toward 800 Robson St from Howe St. Credit: City of Vancouver

The city collected feedback through its Viva Vancouver initiative, and received over 2,000 responses.

Based on the feedback, the following design objectives were developed:

• Be an adaptive and flexible space that appeals to a wide range of users and uses.

• Serve as an important connector to business districts and important civic institutions.

• Be a safe, secured well-maintained and managed space throughout the year.

• Create a dynamic space that attracts people, activities, and gatherings.

• Be welcoming, inviting, and comfortable to all people regardless of age, ability, or demographic.

• Improve the interface between different modes of transportation adjacent to and through the site.

  • Transform the lead in blocks to the site to signal a transition to the public plaza and unify the Robson Street character.

The new plaza will be consistent with architect Arthur Erickson’s original look and feel of the Robson Square precinct, which was completed in 1983.

The surface of the new plaza will be made level with the surrounding pedestrian area, with a new concrete and granite paving treatment.

The block ends at Howe and Hornby will be redefined with a combination of street furniture and landscaping. The project will also tie into the new plaza at the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery, currently under construction.

Bike share and parking, as well permanent and movable seating will be incorporated into the design. Two new accessible public washrooms will also be added nearby.

The city hopes to start construction in Spring 2017, with completion of the entire project by early 2018. The total cost of the project is $6.5 million.

Robson Street plaza
Project scope showing 800 Robson and adjacent blocks. Credit: City of Vancouver
Robson Street plaza
Concept for 800 Robson Plaza. Credit: City of Vancouver

Watch this new video from Vox chronicling Vancouver’s success as a bikeable, walkable urban success story. It features the Robson Street plaza: