A city-owned piece of land at the corner of 9th Street and 2nd Avenue NW in Sunnyside is slated to house a temporary "container village". The half-acre lot near the Sunnyside LRT station has been vacant for over a year after the old warehouse was demolished and the land is set to be home to an affordable housing development, but that could be years in the making. In the meantime, the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Association and the Bow to Bluff Initiative, plan to apply for a development permit with the city to have the village built this summer.
“It would be nice if this wasn’t an empty, ugly space with chain link fence around it,” said Tamara Lee, Bow to Bluff’s communication chairwoman. “We want to demonstrate to the community, and even citywide, how to create a great public space — even temporarily."
“It’s basically Lego, and people get excited about space and they get very excited about Lego.”
For this to happen, the site would be zoned as a temporary park and then turned over to the community to oversee allowing the community hands-on control over the project, says Ward 7 Ald. Druh Farrell.
This is not the first time container art has been done in Calgary. Nicole Mion, artistic director for Springboard Performance, assisted with last year's container event in East Village's Fluid Festival. "In a village, there are meeting points for conversation, for commerce, for creative ideas, that I think is a really exciting step for Calgary and community.” says Mion.
Jeffrey Spalding, artistic director for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Calgary, said “It’s strange. We’re only talking about a handful of containers parked in a little triangular park in Calgary...But, we only get one chance in life to do stuff, and sometimes it’s the most unexpected things that are the most exciting and exhilarating. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
Shipping containers have become very popular with architects, designers and artisans in the recent years. They have been modified to become multi-storey houses, backyard offices, and more recently, a Starbucks cafe was built in Tukwila, WA, from reclaimed shipping containers and a 12 unit apartment social housing project is underway to be finished in the coming months in Downtown Eastside Vancouver, BC.
Sources: www.calgaryherald.com, www.vancouversun.com, www.cdrecylcer.com