Urban Reef Public Space Installation Encourages Outdoor Lifestyle

Urban Reef Public Space Installation Encourages Outdoor Lifestyle
Arts & Culture

City of Vancouver closes streets so people can relax over the summer

Ross Brooks
  • 6 august 2014

VIVA Vancouver is a program run by the city of Vancouver that encourage people to spend more time outside in urban environments. One aspect involves closing off the 800-block of Robson Street in downtown Vancouver for four months to create a pedestrian plaza. The icing on the cake is a public seating installation designed to encourage interaction – which this year goes by the title “Urban Reef.”

Urban Reef is made from a series of different sections that morph together to form one dynamic form. Its unique shape sparks peoples’ curiosity and invites them to sit, relax, and play. In the same way that life is attracted to a coral reef, the seats serve as a breeding ground for social interaction and enjoyment.


The Urban Reef team, which consists of Kaz Bremner, Jeremiah Deutscher, Michael Siy, and Kenneth Navarra, fended off 77 other designs from around the world in order to win the design-build competition. Opened over the Canada Day long weekend, the installation will be in place until September 1st.

“What we wanted to do was introduce something that would be beautiful and sculptural but also help all those activities happen a little better,” Bremner told “So we’ve got places to sit and eat, we’ve got places to wait for a food truck, we’ve got places, almost amphitheatre-like, to enjoy a performance, places to sit, enjoy sun and people watch. So trying to just create a reef-like armature, something we’d put in, and life would happen around it.”


To help pay for the materials, fabrication, and construction of the Urban Reef, the local team of architects, designers and carpenters were awarded $40,000. The VIVA initiative is now in its fourth year, and seems like an excellent way to get people interacting with urban environments and spending more time outdoors.


VIVA Vancouver

Images by Latreille Delage Photography


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