Design Charrette

Friday, June 10, 2016

Credits: 3.0 Structured

Charrette participation is for Festival delegates only, but everyone is welcome to watch.

Join us! Be one of 300 contributors, 9 am - 12 pm, while we create informed concepts for six connected sites during an outdoor design charrette facilitated by Dr. David Witty, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Vancouver Island University.

This activity is an intensive design intervention process aimed at ideation and stimulation of connection consideration. It is collaboration between the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association (DNBIA) and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Festival of Architecture 2016.

The DNBIA intends to use the charrette outcome to inform its downtown redevelopment planning.

Preparation Tour

Credits: 1.5 Unstructured

This walking tour will give delegates the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their charrette sites and environments and to start generating ideas before participating in the charrette on Friday morning. Register for the location you would like to provide ideas for, and get outside to explore it during this walking tour. (Each tour may view up to three sites, within close walking proximity.)

Design Principles: apply to all six sites :

  1. Create and promote dynamic, attractive and welcoming places and spaces;
  2. Facilitate connection and interaction within the downtown and between sites, where possible;
  3. Ensure spaces are animated and engaging;
  4. Promote a comfortable and memorable experience;
  5. Reflect the unique character of the West Coast.

Development Programmes


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Site 1: A&B Sound site and parking lot to north

  • Connect to Wallace Street;
  • Connect to Commercial Street and Diana Krall Plaza;
  • Provide short-term and long-term solutions for A&B building: in the short-term how can A&B building be more engaging;
  • Provide horizontal and vertical integration along, through and adjacent to the site;
  • Provide mixed-use development that supports people, places and spaces.


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Site 2: Waterfront

  • Re-examine Front Street and consider as a two-lane roadway;
  • Promote connexion between Waterfront, Diana Krall Plaza, and Commercial Street;
  • Support expansion of the farmers’ market into the site;
  • Support Wharf Street as a key pedestrian link;
  • Promote access and use of bicycles;
  • The waterfront should promote direct access to the sea and provide resting places.


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Site 3: China Steps

  • Provide pedestrian scale lighting;
  • Pedestrianize the entire site;
  • Redevelop adjacent sites;
  • Create a place for reflection and engagement;
  • Eclectic is OK;
  • Create a cohesive identity;
  • Define edges and gateways;
  • Provide outdoor patio space and reinforce the plaza;
  • Explore redevelopment opportunities for the adjacent building recently destroyed by fire.


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Site 4: Diana Krall Plaza

  • Requires a significant (iconic?) intervention;
  • Create a space that is memorable and, for all ages, represents the core of the city;
  • Explore the air space opportunities;
  • Rework adjacent uses to stimulate as a people place all day and through the night;
  • Consider venue/access for food trucks;
  • Maintain/provide an event space;
  • Create a meeting/gathering space/place.


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Site 5: Hotel Site

  • Focus on Gordon Street as a design attribute linking China Steps with Waterfront, Diana Krall Plaza and Port Place;
  • Explore how a hotel could engage within the area and with the Conference Centre;
  • Museum Way and Gordon Street become a key public realm;
  • Explore and identify key concepts that promote a pedestrian-scale, publicly engaged streetscape for hotel site and Port Theatre site.


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Site 6: Alley Site

  • Create a safe night environment by animating the site through engaging lighting;
  • Promote as connection and destination (activity node), including art installations and archive materials that celebrate historical uses;
  • Redevelop and reorganise the parking space opposite the pub entrance into an outdoor pub space;
  • Promote alley as a link that connects Skinner Street uses with Commercial Street.