In September 2016, Alberta Parks engaged students in a recent design contest. The Imagining Harmony Park contest gave post-secondary students a chance to influence upgrades to Strathcona Science Provincial Park. The contest was open to students enrolled in any post-secondary institution and was not limited to traditional design programs like architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.
We asked that students design the park’s day use area to reflect a culturally inclusive environment for the use and enjoyment of all visitors, including new Canadians. We were delighted with the proposed concepts! See below for a full breakdown of this exciting project.
Concept plans will be used by Alberta Parks during the planning process. Some or all of the concepts may be used for rehabilitation of the Strathcona Science Provincial Park, as budgets allow. The design contest is a key part of making the park more accessible and inclusive.
Twelve short-listed applicants met the requirements of the committee. Each of these design context winners was awarded $875.
(Left to right) Dan Chartrand, Evan Tanasiu, Michaela Case, Sara Mokhtari
The existing, familiar structure of Strathcona Science Park was maintained, but small changes were made to provide new interest and a fresh outlook. The amphitheatre is an area where people can congregate. A viewing area at the top of the hill will attract people to hike to the top to see the views of the river valley, Rundle Park and the city skyline.
The design functions for people of all abilities, with park features for people of all ages. There are areas for sitting and relaxation, as well as spaces for running, playing and movement.
One of the most unique aspects of the concept is the amphitheatre, which would be constructed along the main path. The amphitheatre would be multi-purpose. In spring and summer, it can act as a gathering area for families, hold groups who attend lectures or discussions, and provide a platform for program delivery. In winter, the amphitheatre can be flooded with water and a small gate opened, turning the amphitheatre into a skating rink with two additional rinks to the side that are all linked together.
Lastly, a large area will be planted with a naturalized shelter belt, which will bring a green element to the local ecosystem.
(Left to Right) Daniel Conlin, Alexander Hugh Fraser, Selina Zheng, Kerri-Lynne Garlinski
The concept creates space that can be appreciated by people regardless of culture or age. The large, covered gathering area is positioned on a central hill on the site to provide an unencumbered view of the river valley and he Edmonton skyline as well as natural beauty found on the site.
The design aims to provide appealing spaces for various group sizes. There are two covered gathering areas and a number of open picnic areas. The largest gathering area is a large, permanent architectural tent at the high point of the site. The high point was chosen for this feature because it provides a beautiful view of the valley and city skyline. This spot will be large enough to seat groups of over 150.
The concept is designed with people of all abilities in mind. For the people who want high intensity, there is a soccer pitch available. For those who wish for a more relaxed experience, they are encouraged to walk around the park’s many trails. The shelter features encourage visitors with less mobility to get out in the park with less effort required.
(Left to Right) Bram van der Heijden, Benjamin Hettinga, Elham Kiani Dehkordi, Lizanne Lanthier
The natural playground can create familiarity in diverse cultures. Boulder climbing, rope walking, log hopping and exploring are intuitive activities for children. Natural play also stimulates social interaction, creative play and cooperative play between children from different cultures in a more expressive rather than prescriptive environment. Another design feature is an interpretive trail, designed to illustrate stories from a diversity of cultures that have immigrated to Edmonton historically and presently, with the use of pictograms by an Aboriginal artist. The stories shared in the interpretive trail will foster a better understanding of different cultures and the struggles they have faced to make a home in Edmonton.
Fundamental to park design and a shared experience is food, as it acts as a gathering activity which spans across all cultures. To facilitate social gathering and experience sharing in our design, we created a space for families and community groups to cook under a covered shelter, which provides opportunities to experience the park throughout the four seasons.
The trails will be constructed of self-binding gravel, a fairly inexpensive and low maintenance material, with minimal slope to ensure wheelchair accessibility. The nature playground will provide a play space for children and teenagers, and can bring out the inner child from adults as well. This park is designed for all to enjoy.