Developers of Vancouver projects of at least 100,000 square feet are required to contribute to public art in the city.
They can do this in two ways.
One is for the developer to commission an artwork, a process that takes several steps and some time.
The second and more convenient way is to simply give 80 percent of the project’s public art budget the City of Vancouver.
Westbank Corp. of developer Ian Gillespie is noted for bringing remarkable works of art in its projects.
So it may be hardly suprising that the company chose to be directly involved in a public artwork at its new development in East Vancouver.
In October 2020, city council approved Westbank’s application to rezone 5055 Joyce Street for a 36-storey rental tower with commercial use on the ground floor.
This is going to be the company’s second tower at the Joyce-Collingwood Station area, where it is currently building a 30-storey condo highrise.
The 5055 Joyce Street development comes with a $509,541 public art budget.
“The developer has chosen to pursue the Option A Onsite Artwork to ensure the highest quality and ingenuity of the public artwork,” the company’s consultant Reid Shier Inc. wrote in a report.
The public art consultant noted that the development “presents a unique opportunity for a public artwork that will contribute to and enhance what is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhoods”.
Reid Shier Inc. was referring to Renfrew-Collingwood, which it described as “a multi-ethnic landing spot for many immigrant communities continuing in its historic role as a gateway to the city”.
The development site is on the west side of Joyce Street. It is north of Vanness Avenue and the Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain Station.
A new traffic management layout has resulted in the provision of a new laneway on the south side of the location.
“The proposed new laneway removes vehicular/service traffic from the interface with Vanness Avenue, providing the opportunity for a pedestrian-only plaza – a significant and celebrated benefit to the public and the residents,” Reid Shier Inc. reported.
In addition, the new pedestrian plaza has been identified as an ideal site for the rental project’s public art.
“The pedestrian plaza marks a continuation of the adjacent public plaza across Joyce Street, and provides access and visual connections to the Sky-Train station, the proposed redevelopment of the Translink bus loop, and the BC Parkway,” the consultant’s report stated.
Moreover, “The opportunities this site provides for an artist or artist team are numerous, with optimum visibility at a crossroads where pedestrians, cyclists and riders on public transit intermix.”
“This Site therefore offers a rich potential to create an artwork that will provide a focal point for the many intersecting publics and public use within the development and as part of the greater surrounding neighbourhood,” the report continued.
The new rental tower is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2024.