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Cafe Mosaic UrbPark Competition / Team: Seyi Arole, Kiefer Savage, June Caluza, Hayden Pattullo / Summer 2016

Alberta is home to some of the most unparalleled natural diversity in all of Canada. Our province intersects with a third of Canada’s many terrestrial ecozones: the taiga plains and taiga shield, the boreal plains, the montaine cordillera, and the prairies. Silhouette celebrates the intersection of Alberta’s rich geographic diversity and our cultured urban cityscapes. The form is inspired by Alberta’s transitional landscape from the Rocky Mountains, to the foothills, to the prairies, while the geometric interlocking wood slat pattern intersperses variable views of the urban surroundings. The connection from natural to urban landscape is finalized through the use of repurposed waste materials in a simple assembly that can be easily deconstructed and reused beyond the lifecycle of the installation.

The material palette and sourcing for this project addresses the excess waste developed in Alberta’s commercially-heavy cities. The wood boards for the base are to be repurposed from surplus pallets, which would otherwise be used once by local businesses and then disposed of. The vertical slat boards will be built from locally sourced sustainable lumber, minimizing environmental effects of wood production and transportation. Dirt for the planters is also repurposed for free from local excavation sites in Edmonton. For build and assembly, the boards will first be pre-cut into their respective sizes, then once they reach the site they will be stacked and fastened together vertically and horizontally with screws to ensure strength as well as easy disassembly and reuse. Once the structure’s use has concluded, the screws can be easily removed and each component wood board can be reused.

By utilizing mostly free locally sourced materials, we ensure that the project is both environmentally and economically sustainable, with a final top-end budget estimate of $1900. 

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readily buildable form

Silhouette uses its variable form to integrate multiple usage contexts and functions into a singular assembly. The interlocking system creates outer barriers along the south, west, and east edges to create traffic separation, shading, and some noise-muffling from the busy road. The wooden interlocking slats in the southeast corner extrude outward to create seating, then gradually recede into the structure towards the west end, creating shelf space and a wheelchair-accessible multi-program open space for buskers and other activities.

naturally integrated materiality

Additionally, vertical subtractions in the counter surfaces create cavities in which to line landscape fabric and fill with mulch and dirt for planters, which will be filled with ornamental red three-awn (Aristida purpurascens) grass. Native to prairie landscapes, the red three-awn grass was primarily chosen to emulate the iconic Alberta landscape, however it also offers other benefits such as being resistant to drought and full sun exposure, and being unattractive to grazing by passing pets and other wildlife.

socially activated program

Designed to accomodate buskers, cafe patrons, and a wide variety Whyte Ave users over a period of June to August, Silhouette is designed to adapt to multiple uses. Hangers on the short sides accomodate bike storage for bike commuters, benches and countertops accomodate seated diners and audiences, and the open space fits buskers and their equipment for performances.