What is Tangential Vancouverism—

Tangential Vancouverism: Projects for Vancouver’s Urbanism explores the potential for new “urban extensions” to be tenably designed as vibrant constituents of city life in Vancouver.


What is this about?

Characterized by the proliferation of slender residential towers atop street-friendly bases, Vancouver is not only lauded for being the “City of Glass” but also for having introduced a new approach to the development of cities, aptly named “Vancouverism”. A city, however, is much more than a collection of buildings or the rules by which it builds. The density and diversity of experiences, and our relationships to them, is what makes a great city.

With this in mind, Tangential Vancouverism aims to re-frame current conversations about the city by foregrounding the importance of people’s interaction in Vancouver’s urban environment. Through proposing evolutions to the very definition of Vancouverism, this project hopes to propel Vancouver beyond its status quo image, as the city of glass, and toward a city that cultivates a growing collection of meaningful experiences.

How will this happen?

Five emerging Vancouver-based design practices will develop new ideas for enriching Vancouver’s urbanism across topics of mobility, communication, food, event and education, while considering the political, social, and economic shifts required for each idea to take root. Additionally, three urban thinkers are developing responses to Tangential Vancouverism’s brief through a series of essays and images that offer another stream of exploration.

This project is prefaced on broadening current discourse on urban life in Vancouver by providing a venue for design research for the practices, and by opening the discussion to the public. The new works developed for this project will be publicly shared through an exhibition opening March 2012, a speaker series, and a website documenting each idea’s development.

What’s next?

While “tangential” often implies the peripheral or extraneous, Tangential Vancouverism hopes to re-calibrate these assumptions by starting conversations to translate what has once been considered tangential in the city into its new source for vitality.

Project timeline

November 2011 – February 2012: Teams engage in design research with online documentation and project team meetings

Exhibition opening
March 2, 2012 – 8pm

Participant talks
March 24, 2012 – 2pm

Publication launch
April – tba

March 2 — April 29, 2012
221a Artist Run Centre
221a E. Georgia St.
Vancouver, BC
Tuesday—Sunday, 12-5pm



Alex Buss
Alexandra Kenyon


Professional advisor

Ian Ross McDonald



UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
The Parking Spot
City of Vancouver



StructureCraft Builders
On Set Glass
Cygnus Group

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