Bad gambling at BC place

March 28, 2010

The Province apparently desperate to find new sources of revenue to fund a non urgent and rather oddly timed BC place roof replacement by a questionable retractable roof, is going to allow Parangon to do more gambling around, but here let’s examine it in terms of urban contribution


A casino generating activity mostly in the evening is probably not a good addition able to bring some life to a sport precinct rather dull most of the time, except on evening event. Probably, a more general use like a shopping mall, and office could have been better, even if the Hotel component of the proposed complex could help a bit.


let’s have an eyes at the proposal with whatever the public is allowed to see (i.e. not too much!)

This rendering suggests a rather blind and boxy podium, where sit 2 buildings atop, without real connection with the Podium, and even less with the streets. The complex/street interaction seems not well thought: See how the lack of pedestrian activity on the streets is revealing the mind of the designer (rendering from Parangon gaming)


The rendering suggests an improbable viewpoint under the Cambie Bridge (rendering from Parangon gaming). the building are separated of the street by a podium which is designed like to host a parkade

Unfortunately, The renderings available so far don’t present any realistic views one could experiment from the street. Furthermore the renderings suggest that the piece of land surrounded by Cambie St , Smithe St, and Expo Bld, as undevelopped. One can reasonably assumes it will be not the case, but the design with its “grand entrance” is not considering this probable outcome.

In the renderings, the traffic circle inclusion seems pretty odd and useless. In fact, it can have a function, since Smithe St extension could be not bidirectional on all its length, due to some complex traffic pattern at the Expo Bld and Smithe intersection ignored by the artist renderings In this context, it allows a U turn for the casino patrons.

By the way, it seems obvious to the designer that the casino patrons will arrive by car: In a reminiscence of the 60s era architecture design, the artist renderings affirm the supremacy of the “chauffeured car access” over the pedestrian whose will yield passage to the cars accessing the casino. The design also prevents access to the G gate of the BC place, or rather force the BC place patrons to be exposed to the gambling activities.

The parking access seems to be designed to be done through Pacific boulevard, where the renderings don’t reflect the current traffic pattern. That should be a matter of concerns, since, not only this is source of conflict with the busy traffic on the Pacific boulevard, but it is also an impediment to the pedestrian traffic which can be pretty heavy on event days.

Below could be a raison d’être for the traffic circle, as a distributor of the traffic toward casino car park and stadium , as well as a future development on the other side of the street, following in that the idea developed on NorthTown street in North York, ON. Its location should be chosen such it can also provide a seamless access to the stadium.
Note that the traffic circle, can allow an access to a “chauffeured car” zone, without disturbing the pedestrian traffic. At the end, one should consider the opportunity to tear down the Cambie bridge off-ramp onto pacific boulevard, to replace it by a less impacting one connecting more or less directly to the traffic circle, then acting as a traffic calming measure

an idea on how to capitalize on the traffic circle where the off ramp on Pacific boulevard could be teared down (Satellite picture from Google)

Overall the disappointing renderings are not “urban” enough and seem to pay little consideration to the context of the area and its streets.

Hopefully, it is only a very preliminary work. Unfortunately, on this matter, the Province seems to advance with little if any public input, and with no sense of responsibility when come to its contribution to the public realm.


One Response to “Bad gambling at BC place”

  1. That is one ugly podium. Like you say, it looks like an above-ground parking structure from the 60s – though presumably in this case it houses the main gambling hall and parking is underground (find it hard to believe anyone would build an above-ground parking structure on the downtown peninsular these days.)

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