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  #241  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 5:35 AM
BigWilly BigWilly is offline
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On a positive note, it does look somewhat better than it used to.

On the negative ...imho, very underwhelming, even with the renos if i was walking robson i still dont think i'd want to walk down or hangout ice level unless i actually wanted to go skating. Unless its not in the pics, there doesnt seem to be any retail, eateries or coffee shops down there ..when there's no ice it will look exactly like it does in the pics with nobody there.
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  #242  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 5:49 AM
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To me I've always liked Robson square the way it is, although it's certainly not living up to it's potential, it's nice to be able to get away from it all some days while still being right in the middle of it all.
Calgary has a very similar park I have no idea what it's called, but everytime I'm there I head into it and it's amazing how you feel like you've escaped it all.
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  #243  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 5:50 AM
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How about this for an idea, turn Robson Street at Robson Square into a pedestrian only zone. Get rid of the road overpass and replace it with two pedestrian overpasses (5-metres wide) where the sidewalks are on both the opposite sides of the street.
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  #244  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 6:47 AM
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Robson square is dumb. This was a big waste of time. It looks better than before but the design is the same and it was a bad design to begin with. Why waste time and money building a public square in the heart of the city and then isolating it by building it underground. There is no reason for anyone to go down there; nothing happens there and even if it did no one would see it. I am surprised its not a hang out for drug dealers.
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  #245  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 6:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyjoeda View Post
Robson square is dumb. This was a big waste of time. It looks better than before but the design is the same and it was a bad design to begin with. Why waste time and money building a public square in the heart of the city and then isolating it by building it underground. There is no reason for anyone to go down there; nothing happens there and even if it did no one would see it. I am surprised its not a hang out for drug dealers.
They probably didn't know it was there.

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  #246  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 4:59 PM
LotusLand LotusLand is offline
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^ zing!
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  #247  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 6:30 PM
trofirhen trofirhen is offline
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Arrow how about a touch of Montreal ??

Wouldn't it be great if there were a direct connection (as an underground tunnel) from Robon Square to City Centre Station? Downtown Vancouver would be on its way to becoming interconnected, rather like the Underground City in Montreal, (which hass a great above-ground city, too) !! It would bring more life to the square, and make accessing it in rainy weather an easier prospect for the student, Robson Square employees, and everyone else.
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  #248  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 6:36 PM
trofirhen trofirhen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlousa View Post
To me I've always liked Robson square the way it is, although it's certainly not living up to it's potential, it's nice to be able to get away from it all some days while still being right in the middle of it all.
Calgary has a very similar park I have no idea what it's called, but everytime I'm there I head into it and it's amazing how you feel like you've escaped it all.
I rather agree with you on this point. As you say, you can feel "away from it all" amid the trees and fountains while being smack dab downtown!

For your interest, I believe Erickson designed part of it underground as,
at that time, the propsed subway line south (which turned out to be the
Canada Line) was supposed to have passed through there, which is really the "centre" of the centre of downtown.

(I posted a note about this just above.)
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  #249  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 6:47 PM
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i agree with crazyjoeda

this is a complete waste of public space. it will never be used to its potential because its too separated from pedestrian traffic. thousands of locals and tourists will walk past and not even know this space exists. and even if they do know where it is, there is nothing for them to do/see down there... ie. no coffee, no proper square

also, to me, this looks like a glorified entrance/foyer to UBC than anything else
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  #250  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 7:54 PM
johnjimbc johnjimbc is offline
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While I agree with the thought that the underground level is lacking and looks like it should have been a connection to something (as was intended, apparently), I find it a stretch to dismiss the whole, huge public area as a "waste of space." Maybe the lower level needs something, but it's just one part of a multi-layered public space.

When the fountains are running, it is quite a remarkable setting. The thing is no one has seen that now for nearly 3 years now. I think people are forgetting the full sense of the setting when the fountains create the effect of a downtown cascading river.

That will be back soon, thankfully, and I wouldn't want them to touch that element of the space.

Ideally, I think it would be great if some type of restaurant / cafe with outdoor seating could be incorporated into part of the below ground level area. Just something to bring life to that section, which again is just one piece of the entire complex.

Last edited by johnjimbc; Sep 16, 2009 at 10:56 PM.
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  #251  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 8:15 PM
trofirhen trofirhen is offline
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Originally Posted by johnjimbc View Post
While I agree with the thought that the underground level is lacking and looks like it should have been a connection to something (as was intended, apparently), I find it a stretch to dismiss the whole, huge public area as a "waste of space." Maybe the lower level needs eomthing, but it's just one part of a multi-layered public space.

When the fountains are running, it is quite a remarkable setting. The thing is no one has seen that now for nearly 3 years now. I think people are forgetting the full sense of the setting when the fountains create the effect of a downtown cascading river.

That will be back soon, thankfully, and I wouldn't want them to touch that element of the space.

Ideally, I think it would be great if some type of restaurant / cafe with outdoor seating could be incorporated into part of the below ground level area. Just something to bring life to that section, which again is just one piece of the entire complex.
It used to have several restaurants with outdoor seating in the lower level. I don't know if it still does, but it was nice when they were there.
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  #252  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2009, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trofirhen View Post
It used to have several restaurants with outdoor seating in the lower level. I don't know if it still does, but it was nice when they were there.
Yeah, one in particular that comes to mind:

Quote:
Mozart Konditorei and Restaurant, 800 Robson; (604) 688-6869. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea in a European coffee house setting.
http://articles.latimes.com/1986-08-...ood-restaurant

They also had an original location on the exterior of the originally configured Oakridge Mall. Quality stuff - Too bad that they are long gone.
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  #253  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2009, 12:13 AM
trofirhen trofirhen is offline
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Arrow give Robson Squre a chance .........

I agree with most others that Robson Square is over-rated, and is not the kind of place it was originally intended to be.

It has a rather "dead" feeling to it, exacerbated by the underground portion, which most people seem to dislike, and it offers little in the way of charm or interest, except for the presence of the downtown UBC campus (which is limited in scale) and the occasional protest on the back steps of the VAG.

However, if any of you are old enough to remember, or have seen pictures, please, first off, remember what was there BEFORE Robson square was built: a vast, ugly parking lot, billboards, and low-grade, trashy commercial buildings. Ugliness, blandness, and emptiness in all its splendour.

When Robson Square opened in 1979, Vancouver was a different city than today; smaller, less sophisticated (it still isn't, but has made strides) and less spectacular architecturally.

Robson Square, at that time, was a WOW. It gave this provincial, bland city a sleek-looking, modernistic centre three blocks long. At that time, it was like nothing the city had ever known.
In addition, it had outdoor cafés on the lower level, and all this in itself, plus the waterfalls and landscaping, was a draw that kept it attractive and relatively flourishing (especially considering that one third of it is The BC Law Courts).

The underground aspect was largely due to the fact that a vague future idea of a southbound rapid transit line would one day be built, and Robson Square, as the "heart" of the city, would serve as part of the main entrance. Of course this is now not the case, but that was a large part of the original concept.

People are now ganging up on Robson Square, and perhaps understandably so. It has largely failed to live up to its potential as a gathering place . . . . but why?

First, if there were a direct connection to Vancouver City Centre Station, people who lived or worked in the West End, or adjacent area would pass through the square.

With people back, there would be a market.
A market for what?

Well, retail, for starters, restaurants (as before) for another, plus perhaps a cineplex - maybe a small one with only five cinemas, but one that ran high-quality, big box-office films that would attract people.

If the Georgia Street side of the VAG was given the design and lighting it needs, people would go there . . . and NO, NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF ROBSON SQUARE. They'd continue around to the other side to see what was offered, and vice versa. The VAG building would become a focal point, and energy would flow around it.

If the VAG is going to move, let us please make sure the current heritage building is made into something like an institute of higher learning, a specialised art museum, or anything that is out-of the-ordinary; highbrow, appealing, useful, and that will be a draw. This will have a "ripple effect" that will enliven the entire complex, right from Georgia Street, into the current VAG building itself, and flow like waves of energy back around to Robson square, where commuters and students are taking in a film, or stopping for lunch, or having a cappucino, or listening to a chamber quartet.

The Howe Street side of Robson Square is a high, brooding overhang of concrete that lends no charm to Howe Street, and is reminiscent of a bomb shelter.

But it needn't be.

From the overhang on top, one could suspend colourful "windsocks," flags, banners, even windchimes - big ones - built to city scale that would send musical notes echoing through Howe Street's austerity.

Robson Square still has great trees, and a fabulous downtown "waterfall" as someone pointed out. It is also centrally located, and has all the potential in the world, if the will is there to really DO SOMETHING for it. Connecting it to the Canada line directly would be a good place to start. This would bring in people, and where there are people, there are needs to fill, and where there are needs to fill, things happen.

Robson Square isn't a dark, concrete failure. The failure lies with us, for not sufficiently using our imaginations and harnessing the potential that this versatile and very multi-purpose, distinctive, and unique place has the possibility to offer.
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  #254  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2009, 3:26 AM
johnjimbc johnjimbc is offline
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Excellent post! I do think Robson Square retains a lot of potential.
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  #255  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 5:12 AM
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^Agreed. Great post. For Robson Square to be a success, it needs to link up somehow to Pacific Centre, and more importantly, to the Canada Line. Considering that it is located one block from the line, it is shocking that it is not connected at the underground level.

Let's be honest here. Who really wants to go underground, unless you are emerging from public transit. Heck, it's one of the reasons I know the bottom floor of the Bay so well. Robson Square would be a wonderful extension of public space for people leaving transit.
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  #256  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 5:45 AM
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I spent a very pleasant half hour or so today at Robson Square sitting on the steps at the south end of the new skating rink area. There was a ballroom dance class being held on the rink surface with at least a hundred dancers learning the Samba. The view above that was the art gallery and Hotel Vancouver and blue skies and sunshine. The new domes looked great and seemed to be letting in a nice filtered level of light.

Then I noticed something that has been mentioned on here a few times. The hedge! At least 6 or 7 feet high and obscuring the Robson St. pedestrians' view of everything down below. When I went up to Robson St. to have a look at them, sure enough there were a couple of people at the hedges trying to pry them apart so they could see what the heck was going on down there with all the music and everything.

Shall we organize a little night time hedge trimming party?
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  #257  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 6:04 AM
Millennium2002 Millennium2002 is offline
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actually... would it help if they bored or created some sort of Pacific Centre entrance at Robson Square?
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  #258  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 9:02 AM
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I saw the salsa event there earlier today as well, and took lots of pics! I also saw there was some fancy black tie event being held down there Saturday night. The whole area was lit up blue and I noticed a number of people trying to look through the hedges at what was going on down there then as well.

Anywho, my pics from earlier today:



















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  #259  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 9:52 AM
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Great pics! That last one perfectly illustrates what I saw. And I think I saw you taking it.
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  #260  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2009, 2:53 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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That's cool that they still have dancing downtown there.

That's how I initially discovered the rink there years ago. I remember hearing music and then saying to myself: "Self... you didn't realize that this space was used for anything, did you?"
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