From liv­ing room to more room

Tues­day, August 29, 2017 Fur­ban­i­ture de­signed to get us to re­think ur­ban spa­ces Cal­gary

StarMetro Calgary - - YOUR ESSENTIAL DAILY NEWS - Aaron Chatha Metro | Cal­gary

Big­ger than fur­ni­ture, but smaller than ar­chi­tec­ture, fur­ban­i­ture will be set­ting up on Cal­gary streets next month, chal­leng­ing how peo­ple in­ter­act with their en­vi­ron­ment.

Built by stu­dents at the Univer­sity of Cal­gary’s Fac­ulty of En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign, th­ese in­stal­la­tions will spend a week­end near city hall dur­ing the Walk21 con­fer­ence, which is all about re­think­ing walk­a­ble and live­able com­mu­ni­ties.

The idea be­hind this project is, if fur­ni­ture can make some­one re­think how they re­act and in­ter­act with a room, can fur­ban­i­ture help peo­ple re­think how they in­ter­act with a street?

“This is the kind of in­stal­la­tion that gets peo­ple think­ing about the city as not just a fun place, but a place that can be re­con­fig­ured, reimag­ined or re-in­hab­itied in new ways,” ex­plained Joshua Taron, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Fac­ulty of En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign. “We’re not here dic­tat­ing dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties. We just want to put things out as a kind of prompt and see what hap­pens.”

The in­stal­la­tions them­selves are built on the con­cept of a folded out box, and then filled out and grown from there. Made from light­weight ma­te­ri­als, they can be placed in dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions and even stacked up to 16 feet high. It’s meant to be a very min­i­mal­ist de­sign.

The street it­self will ac­tu­ally be closed down while the project is on 1 Street SW be­tween 12 and 13 Av­enues. Busi­nesses are al­ready work­ing on ways to ex­pand out­doors us­ing the fur­ban­i­ture. This is part of the Walk21 con­fer­ence’s goal to find ways to make cities more pedes­trian friendly.

“Cal­gary is at a piv­otal point in its de­vel­op­ment, where it’s look­ing at mov­ing from a pri­mar­ily car-based city to one that is more tra­di­tional, where walking and other trans­porta­tion meth­ods like public tran­sit and cy­cling are coming to the fore,” said Walk21 steer­ing com­mit­tee cochair, John Brown.

Af­ter the con­fer­ence, the fur­ban­i­ture will move to the Telus Spark cen­tre, where vis­i­tors can re­ar­range it into their own con­fig­u­ra­tions. Th­ese con­fig­u­ra­tions then may be used when the project moves out­doors again, pop­ping up in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions through­out the city over the next three years.

Walk21 takes place from Sept. 19 to 22.

as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Fac­ulty of En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign, with fur­ban­i­ture that’s un­der con­struc­tion.


Joshua Taron,

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