B.Arch. Students Win The Bench Design Competition in Canada
"The only legitimacy of the street is as public space. Without it, there is no city." This quote from 20th-century architectural historian Spiro Kostof opened the specs for "The Bench" design competition by STUFFgroup (Studio for Transformative Urban Forms and Fields). Architecture students Laura-India Garinois (B.Arch. '17), Lucía Márquez (B.Arch. '17), and Liam Martin (B.Arch. '17) won the competition with Over + Under, their design of a public-use seating area on a city street in Winnipeg, Canada.
The challenge was to design and install a temporary "seasonal-seating-space" along a row of retail establishments, "transforming the street as a public space through an infrastructure intervention, creating a public seating that can engage and transform the dynamics on the street, triggering and sustaining temporary (short) social and cultural transactions," according to the competition brief. The site is a sidewalk on Corydon Street in front of a frozen yogurt store and a coffee shop, which are sponsors of the competition along with Open City Design, and Mayers Construction.
The design brief posed the questions, "How can we imagine the street beyond its function as a 'route'? How can we enact new dynamics and life on to the street?" Garinois, Márquez, and Martin answered with their winning design for a functional seating area constructed of wood, steel, acrylic, and fabric.
Construction of Over + Under began in August and will be available for public use through the fall of 2016. Organizers hope to donate the bench to a public park or school at the end of the season.
By Patti Witten