August 10, 2018

Ackery’s Alley — A Vancouver Transformation

What was once a dark and dingy downtown Vancouver working space is now a bright and fun one.  It’s become much more welcoming to people, and a great addition to the repurposed spaces popping up all over the city.

Ackery’s Alley includes an interactive public art installation (“Field”) by Alex Beim of Tangible Interaction. (See photos).

Many thanks to the DVBIA (see photo of “Downtown Charles” Gauthier and crew), who had a pivotal role in the project.  Check out their thorough and detailed guide on how to do it, called “More Awesome Now“.

Over 11,000 individuals provided ideas on how they wanted downtown Vancouver to evolve. Key themes emerged from the report, including a great emphasis on public space and in particular, underutilized laneways. The report found that people wanted downtown Vancouver to be home to a connected series of activated laneways that are welcoming spaces with lots of hidden gems to discover, including galleries, restaurants, and “art walls” where graffti and visual storytelling are welcomed.

From there, the DVBIA partnered with HCMA Architecture + Design and More Awesome Now was born. More Awesome Now is a pilot group and program that takes existing, underutilized laneways and reshapes them into engaging public spaces that are accessible by everyone and contribute to the
livelihood of the city.


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  1. I had a chance to preview FIELD and Ackery’s Alley on Wednesday evening. It is an incredible mix of sound, light, kinetics, space, and human interaction.

    This is a transformative public art installation that will become an icon of our City. I am especially looking forward to interacting with it on a rainy winter night when the light reflects of the wet asphalt and the music echos in the misty night.

  2. I love the impulse here but if you visit the alley off Granville St between Pender and Cordova that previously got this treatment it’s just a slightly more colorful version of any other alley with no real life and no one using it. What I felt was missing in that project was something that brought people into the alley on a regular basis: coffee shops, restaurants, stores etc. The first step on these projects should be to work with the city re zoning and the property owners who want to develop new space.

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